June 5, 2016

Hal Brown’s Blog for June, 2016


Hal Brown’s June blog
My photo blog is here.

For a start this morning check out this Salon article and then read what I had to say about Trump’s spouting conspiracy theories.


The conspiracy candidate: Donald Trump continues to support Alex Jones insane smears of Obama 


Donald Trump continues to support Alex Jones' twisted conspiracies — and the GOP seems perfectly OK with that 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hillary’s terrorism creds: you got them, use them.

Comments on Daily Kos

With pundits and pollsters asking whether in view of the Orlando attacks voters will be asking themselves which candidate will most effectively handle terrorism, it’s good to remind us that only one has a track record of actually doing something to fight terrorism.

However, Hillary is, after all a woman and we know how Donald Trump feels about women. Heather “Digby” Parton wonders whether her being a woman could work against her:  
And secondly, a woman was likely running for president for the first time and despite everyone’s assumption that she is some kind of bloodthirsty Boudica (the Celtic war queen who slaughtered a Roman army), the fact is that there were some good reasons to worry  that Americans would turn to the traditional party and the traditional (male) candidate if national security came front and center. It was entirely predictable that the Republicans  would play “the man card” if they could  find an opening.  Salon
While we don’t know what else she did as Secretary of State addressing terrorism (likely a lot), we do know that she was closely involved with the attack that took out Osama binLaden.

The photo of Obama, Biden, and Clinton in the situation room with top members of the national security team is known worldwide.

I instead I enlarged Hillary to make a point:
  • She is the only one in the room sitting with stacks of information in front of her and on her lap, including the photo that had to be blurred out because it was top secret.
I expect that the powerful photo will be used in Hillary’s campaign ads. I think it would be effective to start with the full photo and zoom to this close-up of Hillary.

My advice to her on her anti-terrorism credentials: “Hill, you got them, use them.”





Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Breaking News:

Russian government hackers penetrated Democratic National Committee’s database and stole research on Donald Trump, according to a report published by the Washington Post.
DNC officials and security experts say the hackers were able to read all e-mail and chats in the DNC system.
Some of the hackers had been in the DNC system for a year, the Washington Post reports. They were expelled from the computer system this past weekend.
Russian spies also targeted the computers of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and several GOP political action committees. Further details of those attacks were not immediately available.

The NRA is doing a Trump, counter-punching with wild, stupid claims. Whether or not banning assault-rifles will absolutely prevent such shootings is irrelevent. If such a ban prevents one in the future since there's no sensible reason NOT to ban them, they should be banned. They are a dangerous "toy" for anyone not in the military or law enforcement.

Now then, to talk about dangerous, here's what's more dangerous that keeping the sale of these killing machines legal. It is promulgating the politically expedient idea that the Obama adminstration isn't doing enough to stop ISIS inspired terrorism. This does nothing but inspire fear and unwarranted anger at our government.Homeland Security along with its international partners is doing all that is feasible to prevent such terror acts. To say otherwise is denying what we know about the apparatus that has grown exponentially since 9-11. 

You better belive those who know how many attacks have been prevented, and how many investigations are currently active, would LIKE to share this information. But anyone with a fully functioning brain SHOULD understand this.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Breaking News: Trump just delivered a speech read off a teleprompter so obviously written by someone else that it is pathetic. Nothing new except doubling down on immigration policy. He also lied saying Mateen was born in Afghanistan. Below: Quote without comment:
Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow Radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays.

Trump is now proving one of two things, which are really mutually exclusive. This is getting a lot of media attention:

Donald Trump Suggests Obama May Be Sympathetic To Islamic Terrorism

“[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said.

I’m writing this now and getting it posted while everything is fresh. I know I should write a  really well-researched diary on this. I keep hoping an expert with real bona fides — i.e. having published books and academic papers on psychiatric diagnosis — will do the work for me. I’m just a clinical social worker psychotherapist who was a mental health center director. I’ve made some tough diagnoses that other therapists missed but compared to Trump they were easy. This wouldn’t be like writing my typical diary which is a morning 1-2 hour exercise since it is just opinion. It would be more like work! I’d actually have to do a lot of research.
It won’t matter to Trump when we learn, as I think we will, that Omar Mateen was motivated primarily or exclusively by homophobia. He will keep insisting that he was a radical Islamist and that his murder spree was ISIS terrorism. His supporters of course will believe him. The hell with evidence! Not only is this the most horrible mass shooting in the United States, but it is many times over the worst LGBT hate crime ever. To ignore that for political purposes is a punch in the face to all LGBT people. 
If Trump is just stoking the fears of anti-Obama conspiracy theorists (and not mentally ill) then he has stooped possibly to his lowest low since his birther claims. If he actually believes this, we have to add yet another psychiatric diagnosis to those which he has demonstrated symptoms of. So add another diagnosis to narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, and impulse control disorder. I’ve highlighted the symptoms of paranoid personality disorder that apply to Trump.
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily insulted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.[1]
They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their reduced capacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience.[2][verification needed]People with PPD may have a tendency to bear grudges, suspiciousness, tendency to interpret others' actions as hostile, persistent tendency to self-reference, or a tenacious sense of personal right.[3] Patients with this disorder can also have significant comorbidity with other personality disorders. Wikipedia
Most of my therapist friends and acquaintances have chosen to work with patients who are highly motivated to get better, and for whom there is a high chance of success. Even those who treat the chronically mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or with substance abuse problems (and part of my program had a unit where we did that) we know that with smart, compassionate treatment the lives of these people can be drastically improved. 
The bane of therapists are patients or clients who have personality disorders. It is the exception rather than the rule that they come into therapy on their own. This is because most people with personality disorders lack insight into themselves. They don’t generally think they have a problem.  They tend to come in because their spouse has issued an ultimatum or they are court ordered. 
Trump would be a nightmare client. I assume there would be a psychotherapist somewhere who would agree to treat him for enough money. I’m not rich, and it would be nice to buy that Tesla, but no amount of money would induce me to treat him.

Sunday, June 12, 2016
Does Trump have no shame?




And you thought there was division among Democrats? "Romney loyalists’ divisions over Trump spill out into the open at Utah summit"
 Mitt Romney warned that a Donald Trump presidency could normalize racism, misogyny and bigotry in the national conscience. Businesswoman Meg Whitman compared the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to Adolf Hitler. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked, uncomfortably, how he could explain his endorsement of Trump to a young child…..
This comparison for Hitler by a Republican isn’t even an example of Godwin’s Law (that any  long message board thread on politics eventually ends with a reference to Hitler).
Then came Trump’s boosters, awkwardly imploring about 300 business executives and GOP establishment donors and strategists gathered here for Romney’s annual ideas festival to unite for the fall campaign. In a stroke of defiance, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Trump and the GOP would win in November “with or without you,” according to attendees.
When I see the reasonable and forthright former RNC chair Michael Steele on MSNBC, where he appears almost every night on one or another of their talk shows I think of the contrast between him and Reince Priebus. I wonder whether Steele feels any sympathy for him, considering Priebus could always keep his dignity, quit, and start working on a book. Then when the dust of the election settles no doubt he’d land a gig on one of the cable TV shows.
“I love what this country is built upon, and its values — and seeing this is breaking my heart,” Romney told summit attendees, according to the Associated Press.
When’s the last time a politician talked about having his heart broken by another candidate in the same party?
Trump punched back at Romney at his Saturday rally in Tampa, calling him “poor, sad, Mitt Romney” and a “stone-cold loser.”
Trump’s insult is actually true in every respect: compared to Trump he may be poor (although with cash on hand if Maverick’s owner and bona fide billionaire Mark Cuban is to be believed Romney has more than Trump), Romney admits to being sad, and whatever stone-cold means, he did loose the election.

Here’s a great comparison — pro-Trump forces are compared to Stalin, ant-Trump to FDR, and Hillary to Hitler!
Scaramucci (a New York financier who was one of Romney’s top funders in 2012)
 and other Romney associates supportive of Trump, including Ron Kaufman, a longtime RNC member from Massachusetts, have pleaded with Romney to tone down his opposition in the interest of party unity…...
“If Joseph Stalin and Franklin Roosevelt could get together to defeat Adolf Hitler, we can end the schism in our party,” Scaramucci said. “We’ve got to change the rhetoric and the nonsense that’s going on in the party right now. We have to unify this party.”
What do you mean “we” Scaramucci? He wants to believe that  Trump himself can change his rhetoric, and then that people will believe that the tiger has changed its spots.
“They would like to see a unified party, but if I hear anything consistently, it’s country before party,” said Spencer Zwick, a Romney confidant and his former national finance chairman, who helps run the E2 summit.
If they believe it’s country before party, this means that Republicans should say this  means voting for Hillary.
“He couldn’t have done a worse job in his first month” since securing enough delegates to claim the nomination, Simmons (former fund-raiser for and friend of Trump) said of Trump. “I think he missed a golden opportunity to pivot. There’s a lot of people who really want it to work, but they’re not going to say, ‘Trump at any cost.’ ”
All of my Democrat friends and I are hoping Trump can’t resist going off teleprompter script and create, for the gullible, the illusion that he’s really pivoted. I’m a member of the “let Trump be Trump” school. I think Hillary and her surrogates, and eventually her VP selection, should keep “encouraging” Trump to go Tweet-crazy and make unhinged insults at his rallies. They need to maintain some dignity and obviously not get into the gutter with him, but when you have both Hillary and Elizabeth Tweeting to Trump “delete this account” you know they have already recognized that this is a new era where good manner in political persuasion has been redefined.

As Trump digs himself deeper and deeper into the volatile lunatic hole, it will make it more and more difficult for Republicans who care about the ultimate survival of the party to continue to support him.

Afterthought on article below:

I’m of two minds about this. Part of me says use anything you can to keep Trump from getting elected. The other says that the nuclear football and launch button are metaphorical exaggerations of the kind Republicans often use against Democrats and we shouldn’t step down to their level. Trump would have to have truly gone mad to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on impulse. We could only hope that if he was psychotic steps would have been taken to remove him from office either by impeachment or because he was judged as medically unable to function. I don’t know how the later would be accomplished but certainly doctors would have to weigh in on the decision. Then it would be his VP who’d tae over and who knows who that would be.


Saturday, June, 11, 2016

Bedtime reading:


What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button?  Politico
This is a Politico Magazine piece by an expert familiar with how U.S. presidents would actually launch a nuclear strike. It’s written by Bruce Blair. 
Bruce G. Blair (born 1947)[1] is a nuclear security expert and a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Joining the program in May 2013, he focuses on technical and policy steps on the path toward the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, specifically on deep bilateral nuclear arms reductions, multilateral arms negotiations and de-alerting of nuclear arsenals.[2] He is co-founder of Global Zero, an international non-partisan group consisting of 300 world leaders, over 150 student chapters and millions of supporters worldwide dedicated to achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons.[3]
Blair is an expert on U.S. and Russian security policies, specializing in nuclear forces and command and control systems.[4] He has frequently testified before Congress[5][6][7][8][9] In 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, a small group of experts that provides the Department of State with independent insight and advice on all aspects of international security, disarmament and arms control.[10] He has also taught security studies as a visiting professor at Yale and Princeton universities. In 1999, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship Prize for his research, work and leadership on de-alerting nuclear forces.[11] In 2008, he was selected as a finalist for the Skoll Social Entrepreneur Award.
Blair's expertise has helped make nuclear and global affairs issues accessible to the public in various media outlets. He was an executive producer of Countdown to Zero,[12] a documentary film on nuclear weapons.[13] He also created and was the executive producer of the PBS weekly television series Superpower: Global Affairs Television (2002–2004), and was the executive producer for Azimuth Media and its weekly PBS television series, Foreign Exchange, which was first hosted by Fareed Zakaria (2005–2007) and subsequently by Daljit Dhaliwal (2008–2009).
This article reads like a Tom Clancy thriller for all the technical detail. Do you want to know how much unrestrained power a president has to launch, for example? There are numerous nuclear warheads aimed at Iran’s 40 WMD sites, 14 leadership locations, and six war-supporting-industry aim points, just read this article. Indeed, the president does have the power to turn the Iranian desert to glass on a whim.
Should I mention that if Putin rubs Trump the wrong way, there are almost 1,000 targets in Russia.
It might be reassuring to know that the United States could turn North Korea to rubble; but to you want that power to rest in the mind that operates the finger of Donald Trump?
I thought I’d share this for those of you having trouble sleeping. But be warned, if you are upset easily it could be the stuff of nightmares. That’s if you can fall asleep after reading it.
Here’s just an excerpt:
If he gave the command, his executing commanders would have no legal or procedural grounds to defy it no matter how inappropriate it might seem. As long as the president can establish his or her true identity by his or her personal presence in the Pentagon’s nuclear war room or its alternates (places like Site R at Fort Richie near Camp David), or by phone or other means of communications linking him or her to these war rooms using a special identification card (colloquially known as “the biscuit” containing “the nuclear codes”) in his or her possession (or, alternatively, kept inside the “nuclear briefcase” carried by his or her military aide who shadows the president everywhere he or she works, travels and plays), a presidential nuclear decision is lawful (putting international humanitarian law aside). It must be obeyed as long as it is constitutional—i.e., the president as commander in chief believes he or she is acting to protect and defend the nation against an actual or imminent attack.
But within these broad constraints there is no wiggle room for evasion or defiance of the president’s orders. That’s true even if the national security adviser, the secretary of defense (who along with the president makes up the “national command authority”) and other top appointees and advisers disagree with the president’s decision. It does not matter whether the United States has already come under attack by nuclear or non-nuclear weapons. It does not even matter if the commander in chief simply orders the use of nuclear weapons on an ordinary day for reasons unknown to all but him or her. Under the president’s open-ended mandate to decide when the national interest is threatened, ordering up a nuclear strike is his or her prerogative, and obeying the order is incumbent upon the military servants of civilian authority.
Short of a “palace coup” where military and civilian leaders at the very top decide Trump has gone stark raving mad and is about to unleash our nuclear arsenal, and that his decision is unlawful, they have to obey it. But that decision might have to be made in 10-20 minutes.
As thrilling and detailed as a Tom Clancey novel, only real. Don’t read if you have insomnia.

Comments
------------------------------------------ Trump promotes trickle-down racism, new anti-Trump meme thanks to Mitt Romney
Over 140 articles today on Google News.

Trump has repeatedly rejected the notion that he is playing to racial fears in his campaign. “I am the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered,” he told The Washington Post on Thursday.
I’d never heard this phrase “trickle-down racism” before yesterday. Whether it has been used before or not, good-on Mitt, it is one of the best and most accurate attacks at Trump anyone, especially any Republican, has leveled at the divisive racist candidate. (below from The Washington Post)
The furor over Trump’s assaults on the impartiality of a Latino judge had just begun to subside when he lobbed two tweets Friday morning responding to Warren, who had lambasted him as a “thin-skinned, racist bully” in a speech the previous evening.
“Pocahontas is at it again!” Trump wrote in one. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth.”
“No, seriously — Delete your account,” Warren tweeted back. One of the senator’s supporters secured Pocahontas.com and redirected it to Warren’s campaign site.




Trump-insults-warren-again-00_-_1.jpg
Joy Reed and her guests are discussing the Pocahontas this morning. They replayed him saying this again, pointing out the crowd reaction of Indian whoops, and noted that the boy in the background is making Indian war-crys. Way to influence our youth! So much for a “Trump pivot.”

The “Pocahontas” line spurred chatter at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s ideas summit Friday in Park City, Utah, where some attendees said they were aghast at Trump’s many race-based lines of attack. Romney told CNN on Friday that he was worried Trump’s language could lead to “trickle-down racism” in the country. 
Of course, even though it has been pointed out that the use of Pocahontas is an offensive term if used to describe female Native Americans, Trump in his usual manner flails out with what he proudly likes to brag is a counter-punch. Message to Trump, you’re no Muhammad Ali. Hell, he’s no Ingmar Johanson what least had some knockouts.

Hours later, Trump reiterated the swipe. “I’m doing such a disservice to Pocahontas, it’s not fair,” he said sarcastically during a rally in Richmond.“Mr. Trump’s comments reinforce broad stereotypes of Native Americans as Indian chiefs, mascots and princesses, rather than contemporary people who are contributing to society,” she said, adding: “He’s not using the term in any way to be honorific. He using it to mock her.”
His racial attacks again Indians aren’t new:

Trump has been accused of peddling Native American stereotypes in the past. In 1993, he created an uproar at a House subcommittee hearing by testifying that “organized crime is rampant” in Indian casinos around the nation. At the time, the developer was fighting the expansion of gambling on tribal lands, a direct threat to his casino empire.
Ditching a seven-page statement he planned to deliver as too “politically correct,” Trump claimed that he could keep mobsters out of casinos but that Native Americans would not be able to.
“That an Indian chief is going to tell Joe Killer to please get off his reservation is almost unbelievable to me,” he said, prompting objections from lawmakers and indignant scoffs from the audience.
Trump also questioned the legitimacy of the Mashantucket Pequots, who operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
“They don’t look like Indians to me,” he said. “And they don’t look like Indians to Indians.”
In 2000, he secretly financed newspaper ads in Upstate New York warning that a casino sought by the St. Regis Mohawk nation would attract criminals and drug users.
Republicans are talking about Trump needing to pivot, to become Trump 2.0, to look like a serious candidate, to think before you speak, to get on script, and on and on. Do they really think they can make this bespeckled orange beast can change his spots?
Monday, June 13, 2016
Trump is now proving one of two things, which are really mutually exclusive. This is getting a lot of media attention:

Donald Trump Suggests Obama May Be Sympathetic To Islamic Terrorism

“[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said.

If Trump is just stoking the fears of anti-Obama conspiracy theorists then he has stooped possibly to his lowest low since his birther claims. If he actually believes this, we have to add yet another psychiatric diagnosis to those which he has demonstrated symptoms of. So add to narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, and impulse control disorder. I’ve highlighted the symptoms that apply to Trump.
Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and a pervasive, long-standing suspiciousness and generalized mistrust of others. Individuals with this personality disorder may be hypersensitive, easily insulted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions that may validate their fears or biases. Paranoid individuals are eager observers. They think they are in danger and look for signs and threats of that danger, potentially not appreciating other evidence.[1]
They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their reduced capacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience.[2][verification needed]People with PPD may have a tendency to bear grudges, suspiciousness, tendency to interpret others' actions as hostile, persistent tendency to self-reference, or a tenacious sense of personal right.[3] Patients with this disorder can also have significant comorbidity with other personality disorders. Wikipedia

Sunday, June 12, 2016
Does Trump have no shame?




And you thought there was division among Democrats? "Romney loyalists’ divisions over Trump spill out into the open at Utah summit"
 Mitt Romney warned that a Donald Trump presidency could normalize racism, misogyny and bigotry in the national conscience. Businesswoman Meg Whitman compared the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to Adolf Hitler. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked, uncomfortably, how he could explain his endorsement of Trump to a young child…..
This comparison for Hitler by a Republican isn’t even an example of Godwin’s Law (that any  long message board thread on politics eventually ends with a reference to Hitler).
Then came Trump’s boosters, awkwardly imploring about 300 business executives and GOP establishment donors and strategists gathered here for Romney’s annual ideas festival to unite for the fall campaign. In a stroke of defiance, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Trump and the GOP would win in November “with or without you,” according to attendees.
When I see the reasonable and forthright former RNC chair Michael Steele on MSNBC, where he appears almost every night on one or another of their talk shows I think of the contrast between him and Reince Priebus. I wonder whether Steele feels any sympathy for him, considering Priebus could always keep his dignity, quit, and start working on a book. Then when the dust of the election settles no doubt he’d land a gig on one of the cable TV shows.
“I love what this country is built upon, and its values — and seeing this is breaking my heart,” Romney told summit attendees, according to the Associated Press.
When’s the last time a politician talked about having his heart broken by another candidate in the same party?
Trump punched back at Romney at his Saturday rally in Tampa, calling him “poor, sad, Mitt Romney” and a “stone-cold loser.”
Trump’s insult is actually true in every respect: compared to Trump he may be poor (although with cash on hand if Maverick’s owner and bona fide billionaire Mark Cuban is to be believed Romney has more than Trump), Romney admits to being sad, and whatever stone-cold means, he did loose the election.

Here’s a great comparison — pro-Trump forces are compared to Stalin, ant-Trump to FDR, and Hillary to Hitler!
Scaramucci (a New York financier who was one of Romney’s top funders in 2012)
 and other Romney associates supportive of Trump, including Ron Kaufman, a longtime RNC member from Massachusetts, have pleaded with Romney to tone down his opposition in the interest of party unity…...
“If Joseph Stalin and Franklin Roosevelt could get together to defeat Adolf Hitler, we can end the schism in our party,” Scaramucci said. “We’ve got to change the rhetoric and the nonsense that’s going on in the party right now. We have to unify this party.”
What do you mean “we” Scaramucci? He wants to believe that  Trump himself can change his rhetoric, and then that people will believe that the tiger has changed its spots.
“They would like to see a unified party, but if I hear anything consistently, it’s country before party,” said Spencer Zwick, a Romney confidant and his former national finance chairman, who helps run the E2 summit.
If they believe it’s country before party, this means that Republicans should say this  means voting for Hillary.
“He couldn’t have done a worse job in his first month” since securing enough delegates to claim the nomination, Simmons (former fund-raiser for and friend of Trump) said of Trump. “I think he missed a golden opportunity to pivot. There’s a lot of people who really want it to work, but they’re not going to say, ‘Trump at any cost.’ ”
All of my Democrat friends and I are hoping Trump can’t resist going off teleprompter script and create, for the gullible, the illusion that he’s really pivoted. I’m a member of the “let Trump be Trump” school. I think Hillary and her surrogates, and eventually her VP selection, should keep “encouraging” Trump to go Tweet-crazy and make unhinged insults at his rallies. They need to maintain some dignity and obviously not get into the gutter with him, but when you have both Hillary and Elizabeth Tweeting to Trump “delete this account” you know they have already recognized that this is a new era where good manner in political persuasion has been redefined.

As Trump digs himself deeper and deeper into the volatile lunatic hole, it will make it more and more difficult for Republicans who care about the ultimate survival of the party to continue to support him.

Afterthought on article below:

I’m of two minds about this. Part of me says use anything you can to keep Trump from getting elected. The other says that the nuclear football and launch button are metaphorical exaggerations of the kind Republicans often use against Democrats and we shouldn’t step down to their level. Trump would have to have truly gone mad to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on impulse. We could only hope that if he was psychotic steps would have been taken to remove him from office either by impeachment or because he was judged as medically unable to function. I don’t know how the later would be accomplished but certainly doctors would have to weigh in on the decision. Then it would be his VP who’d tae over and who knows who that would be.


Saturday, June, 11, 2016

Bedtime reading:


What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button?  Politico
This is a Politico Magazine piece by an expert familiar with how U.S. presidents would actually launch a nuclear strike. It’s written by Bruce Blair. 
Bruce G. Blair (born 1947)[1] is a nuclear security expert and a research scholar at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Joining the program in May 2013, he focuses on technical and policy steps on the path toward the verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons, specifically on deep bilateral nuclear arms reductions, multilateral arms negotiations and de-alerting of nuclear arsenals.[2] He is co-founder of Global Zero, an international non-partisan group consisting of 300 world leaders, over 150 student chapters and millions of supporters worldwide dedicated to achieving the elimination of nuclear weapons.[3]
Blair is an expert on U.S. and Russian security policies, specializing in nuclear forces and command and control systems.[4] He has frequently testified before Congress[5][6][7][8][9] In 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board, a small group of experts that provides the Department of State with independent insight and advice on all aspects of international security, disarmament and arms control.[10] He has also taught security studies as a visiting professor at Yale and Princeton universities. In 1999, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship Prize for his research, work and leadership on de-alerting nuclear forces.[11] In 2008, he was selected as a finalist for the Skoll Social Entrepreneur Award.
Blair's expertise has helped make nuclear and global affairs issues accessible to the public in various media outlets. He was an executive producer of Countdown to Zero,[12] a documentary film on nuclear weapons.[13] He also created and was the executive producer of the PBS weekly television series Superpower: Global Affairs Television (2002–2004), and was the executive producer for Azimuth Media and its weekly PBS television series, Foreign Exchange, which was first hosted by Fareed Zakaria (2005–2007) and subsequently by Daljit Dhaliwal (2008–2009).
This article reads like a Tom Clancy thriller for all the technical detail. Do you want to know how much unrestrained power a president has to launch, for example? There are numerous nuclear warheads aimed at Iran’s 40 WMD sites, 14 leadership locations, and six war-supporting-industry aim points, just read this article. Indeed, the president does have the power to turn the Iranian desert to glass on a whim.
Should I mention that if Putin rubs Trump the wrong way, there are almost 1,000 targets in Russia.
It might be reassuring to know that the United States could turn North Korea to rubble; but to you want that power to rest in the mind that operates the finger of Donald Trump?
I thought I’d share this for those of you having trouble sleeping. But be warned, if you are upset easily it could be the stuff of nightmares. That’s if you can fall asleep after reading it.
Here’s just an excerpt:
If he gave the command, his executing commanders would have no legal or procedural grounds to defy it no matter how inappropriate it might seem. As long as the president can establish his or her true identity by his or her personal presence in the Pentagon’s nuclear war room or its alternates (places like Site R at Fort Richie near Camp David), or by phone or other means of communications linking him or her to these war rooms using a special identification card (colloquially known as “the biscuit” containing “the nuclear codes”) in his or her possession (or, alternatively, kept inside the “nuclear briefcase” carried by his or her military aide who shadows the president everywhere he or she works, travels and plays), a presidential nuclear decision is lawful (putting international humanitarian law aside). It must be obeyed as long as it is constitutional—i.e., the president as commander in chief believes he or she is acting to protect and defend the nation against an actual or imminent attack.
But within these broad constraints there is no wiggle room for evasion or defiance of the president’s orders. That’s true even if the national security adviser, the secretary of defense (who along with the president makes up the “national command authority”) and other top appointees and advisers disagree with the president’s decision. It does not matter whether the United States has already come under attack by nuclear or non-nuclear weapons. It does not even matter if the commander in chief simply orders the use of nuclear weapons on an ordinary day for reasons unknown to all but him or her. Under the president’s open-ended mandate to decide when the national interest is threatened, ordering up a nuclear strike is his or her prerogative, and obeying the order is incumbent upon the military servants of civilian authority.
Short of a “palace coup” where military and civilian leaders at the very top decide Trump has gone stark raving mad and is about to unleash our nuclear arsenal, and that his decision is unlawful, they have to obey it. But that decision might have to be made in 10-20 minutes.
As thrilling and detailed as a Tom Clancey novel, only real. Don’t read if you have insomnia.

Comments
------------------------------------------ Trump promotes trickle-down racism, new anti-Trump meme thanks to Mitt Romney
Over 140 articles today on Google News.

Trump has repeatedly rejected the notion that he is playing to racial fears in his campaign. “I am the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered,” he told The Washington Post on Thursday.
I’d never heard this phrase “trickle-down racism” before yesterday. Whether it has been used before or not, good-on Mitt, it is one of the best and most accurate attacks at Trump anyone, especially any Republican, has leveled at the divisive racist candidate. (below from The Washington Post)
The furor over Trump’s assaults on the impartiality of a Latino judge had just begun to subside when he lobbed two tweets Friday morning responding to Warren, who had lambasted him as a “thin-skinned, racist bully” in a speech the previous evening.
“Pocahontas is at it again!” Trump wrote in one. “Goofy Elizabeth Warren, one of the least productive U.S. Senators, has a nasty mouth.”
“No, seriously — Delete your account,” Warren tweeted back. One of the senator’s supporters secured Pocahontas.com and redirected it to Warren’s campaign site.



Trump-insults-warren-again-00_-_1.jpg
Joy Reed and her guests are discussing the Pocahontas this morning. They replayed him saying this again, pointing out the crowd reaction of Indian whoops, and noted that the boy in the background is making Indian war-crys. Way to influence our youth! So much for a “Trump pivot.”

The “Pocahontas” line spurred chatter at former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s ideas summit Friday in Park City, Utah, where some attendees said they were aghast at Trump’s many race-based lines of attack. Romney told CNN on Friday that he was worried Trump’s language could lead to “trickle-down racism” in the country. 
Of course, even though it has been pointed out that the use of Pocahontas is an offensive term if used to describe female Native Americans, Trump in his usual manner flails out with what he proudly likes to brag is a counter-punch. Message to Trump, you’re no Muhammad Ali. Hell, he’s no Ingmar Johanson what least had some knockouts.

Hours later, Trump reiterated the swipe. “I’m doing such a disservice to Pocahontas, it’s not fair,” he said sarcastically during a rally in Richmond.“Mr. Trump’s comments reinforce broad stereotypes of Native Americans as Indian chiefs, mascots and princesses, rather than contemporary people who are contributing to society,” she said, adding: “He’s not using the term in any way to be honorific. He using it to mock her.”
His racial attacks again Indians aren’t new:

Trump has been accused of peddling Native American stereotypes in the past. In 1993, he created an uproar at a House subcommittee hearing by testifying that “organized crime is rampant” in Indian casinos around the nation. At the time, the developer was fighting the expansion of gambling on tribal lands, a direct threat to his casino empire.
Ditching a seven-page statement he planned to deliver as too “politically correct,” Trump claimed that he could keep mobsters out of casinos but that Native Americans would not be able to.
“That an Indian chief is going to tell Joe Killer to please get off his reservation is almost unbelievable to me,” he said, prompting objections from lawmakers and indignant scoffs from the audience.
Trump also questioned the legitimacy of the Mashantucket Pequots, who operate the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.
“They don’t look like Indians to me,” he said. “And they don’t look like Indians to Indians.”
In 2000, he secretly financed newspaper ads in Upstate New York warning that a casino sought by the St. Regis Mohawk nation would attract criminals and drug users.
Republicans are talking about Trump needing to pivot, to become Trump 2.0, to look like a serious candidate, to think before you speak, to get on script, and on and on. Do they really think they can make this bespeckled orange beast can change his spots?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Next year will it be President Clinton and Vice President Warren?

Hillary is meeting with Elizabeth as I write this. She just was shown walking into the Clinton home.
I put a poll on Daily Kos, so see what its reader think about whether she should run for VP. By the end of the day I think we may know what the decision is. I vote YES.
43 votes go 50/50 for her to be the VP choice, and this is in the first 10 minute I put this online at Daily Kos.


June 9, 2016
WOW! Are you ready to be president ??
My choice for Vice President.
Rachel asks “are you ready to be president…."
Thinking about her answer..
Wow! Of course Elizabeth Warren demurred when asked tonight on Rachel Maddow if she was interested in running for vice president. However, I watched her very carefully when Rachel Maddow asked the last question in the interview tonight. One of the benefits of a 55 inch high definition TV is that you can actually watch a persons eye movements, and micro expressions.  I’m sure an expert would be able to read a lot more into this. But here’s what I gathered from her when Rachel, noting that former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendal said she wasn’t ready to be president, if she was elected as vice president, whether she believe she was, indeed, ready to be president.

 As Rachel asked the question Warren was listening intently and her eyes moved left to right. He mouth remained immobile. Then when Rachel was done with the question which lasted less than 20 seconds, Warren said one word. Yes. Then a split second late she smiled ever so slightly.

Rachel knew this was real new and replayed the question and answer, so I was able to grab my camera and take these three photos.

How crazy is this election? Why I had to look up a word I never heard in reference to any candidate in my life?

antic |ˈan(t)ikadjective literary grotesque or bizarre.
Support for Trump has been shrinking on Capitol Hill after his string of attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican heritage, which Ryan earlier this week called the “textbook definition” of a racist comment.  
But Ryan said despite Trump’s many flaws, he’s still the best choice to implement the ambitious GOP policy agenda House Republicans are rolling out over the next few weeks.  
“Do I think that these kind of antics are distracting and give us a campaign that we cannot be part of? Yeah,” Ryan said.
from Politico 

For those of you who can’t start off your morning without checking in here…. all three of you…. I slept in and then got sidetracked writing comments on Daily Kos from my Guide to Liberal Websites.
Political junkies can save this since it has many links, some provided by those who made suggestions in their comments. My only thought this morning not even worth writing an essay about is summed up in two sentences. Why does Bernie need any time to withdraw and support Hillary? He’s an adult.

June 8, 2016
Late news:
Chris Hayes interviewed one of my home state senators, Jeff Merkley,
the only senator to endorse Bernie Sanders

Last night the talkers on MSNBC seem wide awake even though I was watching at 11:00 and it was two in the morning their time. Only Chris Mathews was reporting from California. An article had just been published on Politico which each of them read during commercial break and saw fit to make the subject of considerable discussion.

Inside the bitter last days of Bernie’s revolution, with the subtitle "For better or worse Sanders made all the big decisions,” That the last days were “bitter” may be somewhat worth discussing; but what’s the news that the candidate made all the big decisions? Isn’t that true of most candidates?

Rachel, Chris, Michael, and Michelle all agreed that even as they talked about the article, because no sources were identified, everything in it had to be taken with a grain of salt.

I was too tired to get up and actually read the article. I figured that could wait until morning.

The first paragraph isn’t surprising:
There’s no strategist pulling the strings, and no collection of burn-it-all-down aides egging him on. At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders.
The major decisions are described as:


  • calling Clinton unqualified
  • challenging Trump to a debate
  • blaming the political establishment for inciting the chaos and violence in Nevada 
  • going after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz 

It’s no surprise that there are differences between segments of his staff. That could be a good thing. One can imagine what would happen if members of Trump’s staff disagreed with the “off with their heads” monarch. 

But if the following is true, it’s been a well kept secret that only reinforces a suspicion I’ve had about his anger not being an expression of healthy righteous indignation, but rather more an inner rage of built up resentment at not being taken seriously.

Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect -- all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.
The article telling says: "his guiding principle under attack has basically boiled down to a feeling that multiple aides sum up as: 'Screw me? No, screw you.’” Nobody attributes the phrase to Sanders, but the meaning is clear.

It’s instructive to take what Sanders consultant Tad Devine said, not just because his remarks are attributed; but because of his role in convincing Sanders to run.


If they (the Hillary camp) hadn’t started at it by really going hard at him on guns, raising a series of issues against him, that really was what led to him being much, much more aggressive than he otherwise would have been. 
They (Sanders’ staff) would be very smart to understand that the best way to approach Bernie is not to try to push him around. It’s much better if they try to cooperate with him and find common ground. They should be mindful of the fact that the people he’s brought into this process are new to it and they will be very suspicious of any effort to push him around.
Observers critical of Trump and of Hillary have accused each of them as being authoritarian and prickly. Bernie seems to have been immune to this. At least not until now.

After seeing Bernie give his speech last night it became clear to me he has no intention of withdrawing. It was given with his usual gusto and optimism, with no outward hint I could discern that he was effected by the fact that Hillary had wrapped up the nomination without super-delates.

Those of us who think Bernie will resign so Democrats can unite and focus on defeating Trump should think again. Considering what Tad Devine said:

“When they say we’re hurting the Democratic Party. We believe we’re helping it.”
Politico reacts to this with their final word:

That’s because Sanders is a savvier politician than almost anyone’s given him credit for. He likes that he’s been in front of almost a million people since the campaign started. But he knows that as soon as the campaign’s done, the crowds will start thinning, and he’s not going to get on television anymore. He’s certainly not running for president again.
Sanders knows the ride is about to stop—but he’s going to push it as far as he can before it does.
In my last Daily Kos diary I asked a question:  Bernie reveals exit plan. Or does he? I wondered if he’d reconsider his decision to keep campaigning until the convention if he didn’t win “big” in the Tuesday delegate count.  Last night he answered. Today, I put the following poll on:
My guide to liberal websites

More about Daily Kos (where I post most of my longer articles) — and other online liberal publications, with help from Wikipedia:
“Daily Kos was founded by Markos Moulitsas (Kos from the last syllable of his first name, his nickname while in the military) in 2002. About a dozen contributing editors provide content for the site, with three to four new editors being chosen from the Daily Kos community every year.” The so-called Daily Kos community consists of thousands of writers like myself who publish essays, what Kos calls diaries, there.  The diaries go online without any formal approval process. Self-policing enables site administrators to issues warnings or outright ban people submitting inappropriate content.
“As of September 2014, Daily Kos had an average weekday traffic of hundreds of thousands of visits. It is financially sustained by advertising, many from activist causes, media, and political candidates.” 
“In 2009, Time magazine listed Daily Kos in its "Most Overrated Blogs" section. Despite the listing, Time magazine readers named Daily Kos the second best (political) blog.”
The website is designed unlike any of the others in that you have to scroll down the page from article to article. I assume this is done because it forces readers to look at the community posts which extend far down the page in the right sidebar.
The other liberal websites I look at every day
Salon was started in 1997 and has a group of regular writers, some like Heather “Digby” Parton and Amanda Marcotte are  fairly well known. In addition to opinion about politics, it covers arts and entertainment. Recently some some Daily Kos regular readers have been highly critical of the website because they thought some of the articles were biased against — I can’t recall — was it Bernie or Hillary? In truth, some of them are. But it is, after all an opinion website. 
At the risk of being called a shill for Salon (some here suggest I’m a troll for Trump), let me suggest a good read if you’re a Dilbert fan. Amanda Marcotte accuses Dilbert creator Scott Adams with being a secret Trump fanboy in “Dilbert has gone fascist.”

The Huffington Post (founded by the very interesting former conservative who was called “a Republican Spice Girl" in a 1998 New Yorker profile, Arianna Huffington in 2005). HuffPo, as it’s called, combines news aggregation and opinion pieces, and also has some regular presumably salaried writers as well as other paid staff. It also has a live streaming show online and on cable. 
HuffPo has many “name” writers and far many more of the 1,200 plus listed here, unfortunately not alphabetically but by number of stories published, which you’ve never heard of. On the first page, I know of Sam Stein because he’s often a panelist on television. I think I recall seeing Stephen King articles. Any most everyone has hear of Deepak Chopra, MD, who published “American’s shadow: The real secret of Donald Trump” a couple of days ago. Leave it to this new age guru to remind us of what Karl Jung meant by the shadow. “The shadow compounds all the dark impulses—hatred, aggression, sadism, selfishness, jealousy, resentment, sexual transgression—that are hidden out of sight. ”
Huffington Post was acquired in 2011 by AOL for $315 million, and Arianna was kept on as president and editor-in-chief.
​How about them apples, Markos? Do you have a price?

Slate was founded in 2004 by Michael Kinsley, former editor of the liberal New Republic. It covers politics and culture. There are frequent articles by Jamelle Bouie, their chief political correspondent, whose article today “The Process Worked” makes a case that the Democratic primary was’t rigged.

The Daily Beast, covering politics and pop culture, was founded in 2008 by Tina Brown, who everyone reading this probably has heard of. She was formerly a rather controversial editor at Vanity Fair and especially at The New Yorker. Today’s Beast features the rapes at Stanford, Joe Scarborough’s war with Trump, Putin meddling in Britain’s vote, and how Hillary’s next mission is to bury Trump.

Politico, which focuses as the name suggests, on politics. It is unique in several ways. It has a free print edition distributed in Washington DC and New York. It send reporters to cover political events. It is partnered with CBS News and several smaller media outlets. It has on staff a number of established journalists including Mike Allen and Roger Simon. Most importantly, it actually engages in journalism, as their controversial (at least on my diary) reporting about bitterness inside the Bernie Sanders camp and on Bernie as being bitter himself story was an example of. 
Today they have a good article about the 11 states that will determine the 2016 election.

Buzzfeed News is a subsection of the very different Buzzfeed.com . The former is a little scattered, covering everything from politics to science; but it sometimes has some insightful or interesting political writing. I don’t know what to make of the later since it seems to be all over the place.

I also check in to see what Democratic UndergroundVox and Think Progress are covering, but rarely end up reading articles there.

In this new age of Internet punditry it is interesting that previously unknown writers on both the liberal and the conservative websites can end up scoring gigs on television cable news and opinion shows.


June 7, 2016

Hillary’s Night

The New York Daily News decided not to use the planned front page for tomorrow showing Trump and Ryan with the headline “I’m with racist” and used this one instead with HER! in the biggest font that could fit on the page of New York’s high circulation left-leaning tabloid.
This is the front page of the NY Post, which is a right leaning tabloid, now publicly owned but founded by Rupert Murdoch..

From Huffington Post
I think it is premature to say Trump has imploded, although when hopefully it happens, this is without a doubt the appropriate. Implosion is a process in which objects are destroyed by collapsing (or being squeezed in) on themselves. The opposite of explosion, implosion concentrates matter and energy. True implosion usually involves a difference between internal (lower) and external (higher) pressure, or inward and outward forces, that is so large that the structure collapses inward into itself, or into the space it occupied if it is not a completely solid object. Examples of implosion include a submarine being crushed from the outside by the hydrostatic pressure of the surrounding water, and the collapse of a massive star under its own gravitational pressure.
An implosion can fling material outward (for example due to the force of inward falling material rebounding, or peripheral material being ejected as the inner parts collapse), but this is not an essential component of an implosion and not all kinds of implosion will do so. If the object was previously solid, then implosion usually requires it to take on a more dense form - in effect to be more concentrated, compressed, denser, or converted into a new material that is denser than the original. Also, it is helpful to note that due to the processes that cause an implosion, the object reacts from the inside out. (Wikipedia)

The cosmic question Democrats of all stripes are asking today is whether by tonight we’ll know whether Bernie plans to stay in the race until the convention. He may have answered that question at his rally last night in Los Angeles. It may depend on how he decides to define one word.
"If we can win, and win big here in California and in the other states, and in Washington D.C., we are going to go into the Democratic convention with enormous momentum. With your help, I believe, we will come out with the nomination."
The word of course is:

Big


He added a second crucial contingency for staying in the race besides winning big today, super-delates changing their minds. 

He says that the delegates currently saying they will vote for Hillary will change their minds based on believing he is more electable than she is.

In 1984 Gary Hart said the same thing when he ran against Walter Mondale. When the convention came along, Mondale got all of the super-delegates. Of course Mondale lost in a landslide to Ronald Reagan running for his second term.
Still,  he wasn't running against a candidate who was mentally unbalanced, and about whom it could fairly be argued was the the Devil incarnate. Love him or hate what he had done to, or for, the country after three years, he hadn’t turned the landscape into a flaming cauldron of hellfire. Nobody ever called Reagan a narcissistic demagogue. 

I want to believe that if Bernie doesn’t win by a margin that reasonably can be called “big” he will gracefully withdraw and enthusiastically support Hillary. There’s no sense predicting the election results beyond what we all know, i.e., that polls and pundits are agreeing the margins will be close. A “big” win by any definition isn’t likely. We’ll know tonight.

If Bernie doesn’t win big, that leaves only one rational reason for him to continue running. That would mean his taking back what he said about winning big, and pinning his nomination on the votes from super-delegates, the majority of whom have told the A.P. they will vote for Hillary.

If Bernie only squeaks past Hillary today, and especially if he looses, and keeps his “sort of” promise to take the race to the convention, I have to wonder about whether his reasons fall somewhere on  continuum between what he really think is best for the country, and what’s best for Bernie personally. I don’t want to “go there” in my next diary…. it won’t be pretty.

Below: The poll I put on Daily Kos this morning which you can take here. Notice you can also take .
June 6, 2016
I thought I might go a day without Trump…
but this has to be shared: The real reason Trump wants to be president!

This is a must read for political junkies. 
The Hollywood Reporter, Michael Wolff, who penned this article (The Donald Trump Conversation: Politics’ “Dark Heart” Is Having the Best Time of His Life) reveals that the real reason Donald Trump wants to be president is that he apparently wants to be the most famous person in the world.

Here’s evidence from the article (my emphasis):

Earlier in the day, I'd met with Trump at a taping of ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where he was the single guest for the evening (musicians The Weeknd and Belly canceled upon learning of his appearance). "Have you ever seen anything like this?" he asked. He meant this, the Trump phenomenon. Circumventing any chance that I might dampen the sentiment, he quickly answered his own question: "No one ever has."
His son-in-law, New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, married to his daughter Ivanka and also a real estate scion — but clearly a more modest and tempered fellow, a wisp next to his beefsteak father-in-law — offered that they may have reached 100 percent name recognition. In other words, Trump could be the most famous man in the world right now. "I may be," says Trump, almost philosophically, and referencing the many people who have told him they've never seen anything like this "Bill O'Reilly said in his lifetime this is the greatest phenomenon he's ever seen."
That notion is what's at the center of this improbable campaign, its own brilliant success. It's its main subject — the one you can't argue with. You can argue about issues, but you can't argue with success. Hence, to Trump, you're really foolish to argue with the Trump campaign. "I've spent $50 million of my own money to go through the primaries. Other people spent $230 million and they came in last. You know what I'm saying?" And this provides him the reason to talk endlessly and repetitively about the phenomenon of the campaign. That phenomenon is, of course, Trump himself, about whom Trump spends a lot of time talking in the third person.
Trump’s blench causing go-to media surrogate

I’ve always found Katrina Pierson cringe inducing with her pasted on smile and her spouting Lewis Carroll “logic”so convoluted it drives me, like Alice, bonkers. Watching the interview with her on Sunday on MSNBC I was thinking “what a perfect vice presidential partner she would make for Trump” especially when Lawrence O’Donnell confirmed that her ethnicity wasn’t lily white. She said black and white (and in fact her mother is white, her father black). I did a Google search for more information and guess what? Salon trumped Wikipedia on Google! Way to goSalon and MSNBC! 

Pierson insisted that it was a media conspiracy. “No,” she said, “the media has a problem with Donald Trump and race.” She tried to explain away his “My African-American” comment last week, which simply incensed Reid. 
“The media is reporting on what Donald Trump’s saying, and that is why his statements on race come out, because he’s saying them, and the media is reporting on it,” she said.
Lawrence O’Donnell attempted to appeal to Pierson on a human level, but she clearly lacked the humanity required for such an appeal to be effective. 
“I’m just wondering — how would you feel if a member of your family was in that position that that judge is in? [If] a member of your family’s integrity as a judge was called into question on the basis that you’ve laid out here today — which is that the media has labeled Donald Trump a racist?” he asked. “If that judge was related to you, and Donald Trump wanted that judge knocked off of this case, how would you feel about that?”
You heard about it here first department

People wink and make snarky comments about Trump’s small fingers. But could it be that he really has HFG Syndrome? Learn more about this rare genetic disorder here.

 Who Knew? Department
I’ve marveled at how certain left and right wing Internet news and opinion websites started small not too many years ago and grew through advertising to be able to hire salaried staff. Some of these staff were unknown before becomeing online reporters and are now featured correspondents on TV news shows. I didn’t think too much about how much revenue their
ads brought in until I saw this featured article in Politico which is about Buzzfeed, one of their main competitors.
Annals of Fashion: Secret Service Edition
The Wall Street Journal reports a split among Bernie Sanders’ advisors over whether he should stay in the race after the California primary tomorrow.

A split is emerging inside the Bernie Sanders campaign over whether the senator should stand down after Tuesday’s election contests and unite behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, or take the fight all the way to the July party convention and try to pry the nomination from her. 
One camp might be dubbed the Sandersistas, the loyalists who helped guide Mr. Sanders’s political ascent in Vermont and the U.S. Congress and are loath to give up a fight that has far surpassed expectations. Another has ties not only to Mr. Sanders but to the broader interests of a Democratic Party pining to beat back the challenge from Republican Donald Trump and make gains in congressional elections.
Speaking of splits, when I read articles I sometimes split my attention between the text and the photo and  think of things unrelated to the headline.

Plainclothes Secret Service agents don’t have a chance to express individuality in their garb except for their ties, at least when they wear suits.* I discovered that the choice of sunglasses is also left up to the agent.

I noticed what may be a new Secret Service sunglass style if the woman on his left is an agent in his protective detail.


From the title of this retired agent’s book to the choice
of cover art, to her own choice in eyewear Sue Ann Baker
demonstrates the older style of Secret Service aviator eyeglasses

An agent wearing Under Armour glasses.





* I have it on the good authority from a friend whose son was on the protective detail for the Coast Guard commandant that the suits such agents wear are specially tailored to fit over whatever sidearm they are required to carry.

June 5, 2016
Trump: Deceiving us or deluding himself?
The O in Donald
Update: A reader sent me a Handwriting Analysis quick guide. While it would take a psychoanalyst to go beyond the analysis of just the letter “O” in his signature, it alone tells us something interesting. It suggests that when he lies he believes what he is saying. What do you think?
Trump and Washington, George that is….

There needs to be more focus on the appeal Trump has to his supporters. I don’t mean the SINO’s, but rather the people who really believe he’s the best presidential candidate since George Washington — who actually never ran as he was elected president in the first, and second, Electoral College without a dissenting vote. Washington insisted on being called “Mr. President” instead of the more royal sounding titles some wanted to call him. He also made sure that the presidency didn’t copy any of the British or European trappings of royalty. How un-Trumplike he was! He even refused a third term when it was suggested. 
So why are Americans who are steeped in the tradition of presidents not wearing crowns and ermine robes attracted to a man whose ego is almost to big to contain? 
I think it is far more than any one of the reasons posited by the commentariat and by social scientists. Also of them have merit and elements of truth. There’s no one-size-fits-all explanation. Some people mix and match the Trumpian appeal that makes him attractive to them.
 I think the reasons will be studied for years to come, and decades if he’s elected, and a century if the most dire predictions about a Trump presidency come true. If he turns out to be the second coming of George Washington, well, boy will a lot of us liberals have egg on our faces.
While we’re on comparing Washington and Trump (sorry for putting the names in the same sentence) I thought I’d compare their signatures. I wonder what a real handwriting analyst would say. My impression is that Washington’s was typical for his time. Okay, call me biased, but I think Trump shows loose-goosyness (how’s that for a technical term) in addition to a cocksure arrogance.

The Trump signature has pointed upward pointing letter which could be
interpreted as phallic representations, and in the letter “0”, ironically
suggested of self-deception in graphology, what could be said to
be a detumescent penis.
Compare to the signatures on the Declaration of Independence. Notice that all of them a legible.
By way of comparison, here, I hope, is the signature of our next president.
Bernie Sanders’ signature — I don’t know what to make of his first name which seems rushed, like the way my doctor writes his prescriptions. His last name is perfect Palmer Method penmanship. That suggests the same desire as Hillary’s signature to be precise and clear.
\

Chelsea’s secret brother.
Clinton's penchant for the supernatural made news again in March, after Clinton discussed alien life on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Then, in April in an interviewwith The Breakfast Club, she said, “There’s enough stories out there that I don’t think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen making them up.” FiveThirtyEight reports the former secretary of state has pledged to release government files on U.A.P.s, short of any national-security concerns. 
While it might seem highly unusual for a presidential candidate and her campaign chair to openly discuss aliens, it clearly is not outside the realm of possibility. Publicizing her fascination with the unexplained could be a bid, perhaps, to entice a certain subset of swing voters that might otherwise go for Trump. But this is one conspiracy theory that seems to have a far more ordinary (and nerdy) explanation.


today’s reading:

"It ought to be common knowledge that Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency of the United States of America" by Terence Tao


I haven’t thought of anything to write yet because I’ve been busy reading the comments to an article just posted in my blog of the month selection by Terence Tao. He is a renown 40 year old Australian-American mathematician residing in Los Angeles. He has won every major award short of a Nobel in mathematics including the Fields Medal and a MacArthur Award. Tao blogs about mathematics and politics and, from what I can tell, just about anything that intrigues him. More about Terrence Tao.

Tao begins with an example, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

In logic, there is a subtle but important distinction between the concept of mutual knowledge – information that everyone (or almost everyone) knows – and common knowledge, which is not only knowledge that (almost) everyone knows, but something that (almost) everyone knows that everyone else knows (and that everyone knows that everyone else knows that everyone else knows, and so forth).  A classic example arises from Hans Christian Andersens’ fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes: the fact that the emperor in fact has no clothes is mutual knowledge, but not common knowledge, because everyone (save, eventually, for a small child) is refusing to acknowledge the emperor’s nakedness, thus perpetuating the charade that the emperor is actually wearing some incredibly expensive and special clothing that is only visible to a select few.
This is Tao’s Proposition:


The presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, is not even remotely qualified to carry out the duties of the presidency of the United States of America.
He ties this in with “The Emperor’s New Clothes:”

However, even if Proposition 1 is approaching the status of “mutual knowledge”, it does not yet seem to be close to the status of “common knowledge”: one may secretly believe that Trump cannot be considered as a serious candidate for the US presidency, but must continue to entertain this possibility, because they feel that others around them, or in politics or the media, appear to be doing so.  To reconcile these views can require taking on some implausible hypotheses that are not otherwise supported by any evidence, such as the hypothesis that Trump’s displays of policy ignorance, pettiness, and other clearly unpresidential behaviourare merely “for show”, and that behind this facade there is actually a competent and qualified presidential candidate; much like the emperor’s new clothes, this alleged competence is supposedly only visible to a select few.  And so the charade continues. 

This prompted my own comment:
 I want to share with you a story I’ve told some of my friends or when relevant, my psychotherapy patients over the years about real ending of “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” In my version – i.e. what usually happens in real life (think of with many whistle blowers) is that the child (or anyone who sees things clearly about a person in power) shouts out that the emperor has no clothes. Instead of the crowd finally seeing the emperors nakedness and taking up the chant, the emperor has the child arrested and – I should say – sent to Guantanamo to be water boarded.
The other comments are far more salient than mine! Well, except the one that proves that no matter what you write on a blog that has a fairly high number of readers, if there are enough comments somebody will make a more-or-less personal attack. Call it the Troll Law.

[…] of course free to delete this comment and change your blog policy at whim. (Is this still a math research blog? I came here looking for […]

June 4, 2016…
How the police should handle protests

June 3, 2016

How would Thomas Nast handle Donald Trump?

It occurred to me after watching Mark Fiore’s terrific and terrifying cartoon on Kos today that biting satire can be more powerful than intellectual appeals and arguments. Witness the effect that Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin had on delegitimizing her. Mockery is a powerful tool. In the hands of someone like Trump it energizes and incites his supporters. It outrages and nauseates us, but there’s no doubt it is highly effective with his audience. On the other hand, responsible mockery, which I’d prefer to call satire, takes the truth and conveys it in an easily accessible way. Trump, in his contemptuous ridicule, reaches the primitive brain of an audience that isn’t repelled by his narcissism. Conversely, good satire appeals to — dare I say — the more highly evolved intellect.
Satirists, whether cartoonists or writers like those on The Onion or Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker can cut to the bone with a few chosen images or words. Here’s a typical Borowitz piece:
Presidential candidate Donald Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth on Saturday, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war.
“The Cong were after me,” Trump said, visibly stirred by the memory. “And then, just in the nick of time, I got my deferment.”
The former reality-show star said he had never shared his record as a war hero before because “I don’t like to boast.”
All this brings me to Thomas Nast. He is generally considered our first political cartoonist. His drawings of Tammany Hall despot William “Boss” Tweed, mostly for Harpers, made him the only man Tweed is said to have feared. In fact, when Tweet was on the lam from the law, the police found and arrested him in Spain based on Nash’s drawings.
Tweed was a Democrat and Nash was a Republican. He began to depict the Republican Party as a powerful elephant. Eventually it was his drawings that led to this becoming the official mascot of the party.
Look at the cartoons below and think what Nash would be doing to Donald Trump today.


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June 2, 2016

Salon article is hyping Bernie running as Green Party nominee

Salon headlined this screed against Hillary Clinton by floating the idea that Bernie Sanders’ vague response was actually “(slightly)” leaving the door open, as if he’d really consider throwing the election into total chaos.
I hope Bernie clarifies his position on whether he’d accept a Green Party nomination. 
The Salon piece removes the Sanders quote from context. The full quote is in answer to the question by the Live Satellite News reporter asking “if polls shows that you would beat Donald Trump as a Green Party candidate would you run?” Sanders does say “right now, our goal is to win the Democratic nomination” which is the quote in the article below. Omitted is the end of that sentence: “that’s the promise that I made.” Unfortunately he also used the phrase “right now” which can be construed as his leaving the door open, even though he follows that with what could seem like a contradictory statement.  
Parsing that statement one could say that just saying his goal is to win the Democratic Party nomination, however he doesn’t say what he’d do if he loses the Democratic nomination. He could have said that he’d support Hillary Clinton and encourage his own supporters to rally behind her to defeat Donald Trump.
Before a rally in Santa Monica, Senator Bernie Sanders was asked by Live Satellite News about the offer by Jill Stein (see video), the Green Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, for him to run with the Green Party. Sanders response left open the door to running as a Green. He could have easily rejected the offer of a Sanders-Stein ticket, instead he said: Right now, our goal is to win the Democratic nomination.” (my emphasis)

Daily Kos Poll: IF BERNIE SANDERS DOESN’T WIN THE NOMINATION BUT RUNS AS A GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE WHO WOULD YOU VOTE FOR?

Hillary Clinton
69%
63 votes
Bernie Sanders
29%
26 votes
Donald Trump
0%
0 votes
Gary Johnson
2%
2 votes
None of the above
0%
0 votes


June 1, 2016

Urgent notice to Berniephiles on Kos: The light at the end of the tunnel is Trump’s train

Bernie’s most vociferous supporters on Daily Kos and elsewhere  need to see that the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel isn’t Bernie, the little engine that could. It’s a pollution belching perniciously blaring Trump train engine.


I have taken to heart my usage of a term for the most vociferous Bernie supporters who are also anti-Hillary because it is considered an inflammatory pejorative. Instead I will now use the word Berniephile which literally translates to a lover of Bernie the way bibliophile means a lover of books.
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“Why all the anti-Bernie Harshness” was posted about 12 hours ago. Ironically the author, Lone Star Liberal, didn’t think anybody would read it. In four hours he got nearly 700 comments, and counting. This morning when I checked he just broke 1,000 comments. He answered only five of them.
He begins:
I have been reluctant to write this but just can’t help myself: what is the deal with all of this harshness towards Bernie Sanders and, by extension, his supporters?
I understand pulling for Hillary Clinton—fine, terrific—it looks like your candidate will be the nominee. But why spend so much time and energy trashing her opponent?
Kos’ famous edict about March 15 set the tone: Hillary will be the nominee, the site will pivot towards the general election, no opposition to the nominee will be permitted. Since that time, there have been one or two positive comments from Kos about how Sanders should be proud to have made it this far. But there has been an ongoing desire on the part of Kos and other front pagers to take down Senator Sanders, to intentionally misrepresent his statements, to erect straw men that can be summarily dispatched.
And goes on from there and ends with
Now, all I hear is Bernie is an asshole and clap louder for Hillary. If that is what you want the site to be, then fine. Like many, I am reducing my engagement here. I used to check it our four and five times a day—now I come once. Soon, I expect to disengage completely.
If this diary is even read, it will probably generate more anti-Bernie vitriol. The only thing I want everyone to consider is that, if the goal is to ensure that Donald Trump is not elected in the fall, is trashing millions of other Democratic voters really the best way to go? 
Daily Kos has been one of my nine liberal website reads every day for years. However I hadn't read it regularly in any depth until I decided to write diaries here. But my daring foray into becoming a new diarist on Daily Kos was all on March 23rd so I didn’t know about Marcos’ so-called “famous” dictum about moving into the general election and taking on Trump instead of lambasting Hillary.

I was confused when lots of commenters critical of Hillary mentioned being banned. I had no idea why. Now I do.
I didn’t know how hot under the collar Kos commenters could get until I discovered it myself on March 23rd.

That’s when I wrote my most commented on post (a comparatively paltry 736) about why, here in Oregon,  I decided not to vote for Bernie in the primary as I had planned only in order to send Hillary a message about needing to keep addressing income inequality etc. Months earlier I decided she was the most qualified candidate either party ran in modern times.  In deciding to vote for her I figured that 1) she already got the Bernie message and 2) she was going to be up against Trump anyway and needed all the support she could get.

I am, in case my loyal new fans aren’t reading this, I am living in Portland, Oregon, the heart of Bernie country. So as you can guess, I’ve been surrounded by outspoken Berniephiles in the retirement place I live where we have 450 residents, the majority of whom come from the academic, science, arts and humanities world rather than big business. Thus about 80% of us are Democrats.  (Shout-out to Willamette View). I have a difficult time trying to get the Bernie supports, and there are many, to see the true light is the Trump train coming at us in the tunnel.

My message to Berniephiles having trouble letting bygones be bygones is that light coming towards you in the distance isn’t Bernie coming to save the day. It’s not the little engine that could. It’s futile to try to convince you if you still think it is; but I’ll say it anyway. The effulgent light getting closer by the minute is the pollution belching perniciously blaring Trump engine.


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