April 11, 2016

The Hal Brown Blog for April, 2016







Saturday, April 30, 2016


Survey: What Reporters Really Think About Campaign 2016

Politico surveyed over 80 campaign reporters about their thoughts and feelings about the election based on their experiences covering it. Their answers are revealing. I decided to post what I thought was the most interesting graphic on the right. 

It is also noteworthy that from their unique point of view, 86% think Hillary Clinton will be the next president. This is despite their impression about her personality, often considered whatever is the opposite of warm and fuzzy, that she is least liked by her staff. This suggests that with people she frequently interacts with she isn’t effectively practicing conveying the down-home, if false, persona that she’s been criticized for lacking. 

This is the worn out  and unproven notion that some people want to vote for someone they’d enjoy have a beer with.  Perhaps some do. I don’t. 

As for the graphic on the right all I can say is shame on the press for allowing them to be stage managed by the orange haired wunderkind turned Machiavellian politician. Considering 78% say Trump is the most hostile to the press, I wonderer they let him manipulate them so much. After all, this isn’t a country where reporters who don’t tow the party line end up in a gulag or worse.



Politics Give Your A Headache?

In this month’s issue of Consumer’s Reports, with the cover story about how to cope with pain, there’s no category for the headaches caused by an insane political season. My diagnosis is that these are generally tension headaches. Although the usual over the counter medications are generally effective, one thing they suggest you try before resorting to a pill is a glass of water.  Being dehydrated can cause headaches or make them worse. Be aware that coping with political angst by drinking may contribute to tension headaches, and also trigger migraines. 


Friday, April 29, 2016


A Torturous Primary
by Hal Brown

We better elect a Democrat as president. I want the torture of thinking about the prospect of one of the Republicans winning to end. As disturbing as it is to contemplate while awake, this is the stuff of nightmares for liberals. I can handle it during waking hours, but if it ruins a good night’s sleep I’m not sure I’ll be able to cope.
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Speaking of torture: Trump repeated the false narrative about General Pershing, during the time he commanded a garrison in the Philippines in 1911, supposedly had a group of Islamic terrorists executed by bullets dipped in pig blood. The story says that one was left alive to return to tell his compatriots what happened, and this assured that there were no further attacks for decades. This tale has been credibly debunked (see Snopes  and Time Magazine) but Trump keeps using it. 
Of course, Trump would have the United States renege on the Geneva Conventions which forbids the execution of POWs. After all he wants us to kill family members of terrorists.
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From telling this story to cheering fans at his rally he went on to rant about how he’d do "much, much, more than waterboarding.” Not more than waterboarding, already deemed to be torture, not much more, but "much, much more." I wonder what forms of medieval or modern torture he has in mind. The hell with using torture to get a terrorist to reveal information, Trump wants to use it to inflict pain for pain's sake. If president, perhaps he’ll have a torture parlor constructed in the White House basement where he can observe (or worse). I wonder if he was a fan of the popular TV series “24” where Jack Bauer routinely used torture to get terrorists to reveal secrets. I should note, that while the Emmy Award winning show won critical acclaim, it also received heavy criticism for the justification of the misuse of government authority and the use of  torture, which was always successful.
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Trump may be a deeper thinker than we want to admit, but he knows that his rally crowds aren’t. So he also brought onstage a group of people who claim that they had family members murdered by illegal immigrants. One of them told a story about how his son was shot dead blocks from home by an illegal immigrant in what was a gang initiation. Shades of Willie Horton! Of course, the blame for this murderer being on the streets was placed squarely on the head of Michael Dukakis. The blame for crimes committed by illegal immigrants are more nebulously placed on Democrats who want to make it easier for them to live in the United States. Trump doesn’t want to address the fact that the street murders in our cities are largely gang related, and he has no idea how many gang members are homicidal illegal immigrants.
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While the prospect of Senator Ted Cruz being nominated, let alone becoming president seems remote, I feel obligated to  say something about him. While he doesn’t say much about the issues Trump does, at least not at the same hysterical volume,  he manages to limp along as the only viable alternative to Trump for Republicans. John Boehner’s saying he’s “Lucifer in the flesh” may hurt more than anything said so far. Boehner, who as far as I can tell still has standing with the general GOP electorate, may wield more influence than he’s been given credit for. The statement is being replayed again and again to the point that low information Republicans who don’t even know who he is will assume he’s someone important. 
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Ted Cruz probably doesn’t entertain thoughts about torture and execution the way Trump does, but when it comes to domestic policy he is most likely more extreme than Trump. Hey, thinking what goes on in Trump’s mind either frightens me or makes me queasy. I mean, thinking about his daughter, even as a baby, in a carnal way is beyond the pale.
.

Of course, Cruz is a religious zealot who wants to impose his religious beliefs on the entire country. While not a cringe inducing misogynist, Cruz is anti-woman’s rights in a way Trump isn’t. I hate to say it, but Trump would be better for women’s rights than Cruz. Cruz cares about taking hard won women’s rights away. This isn’t even on Trump’s radar.
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As we plod along towards November I am relieved every time I see polls showing that neither Trump nor Cruz will beat Hillary or Bernie. It’s inevitable that on Daily Kos and elsewhere in the mainstream progressive blogosphere (Kos, HuffPo, Salon, Beast, Slate, Buzz, Politico, etc.) we have some balanced and rational, and some hyperbolic one-sided pieces. Some articles have click-inducing headlines like in Salon “A liberal case for Donald Trump: The lesser of two evils is not all that clear in 2016” about Trump vs. Hillary.” Lots of similar articles pit Hillary against Bernie. 
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Exaggeration may be inevitable because some blog writers commit to making regular  contributions. Rational exposition, often not easily reduced to a short enough essay to be read, is being left for the post-mortems conducted by historians where it’s okay to be boring. I’m just tired of the doomsday articles about Hillary. Both she and Bernie are highly qualified to be president. Both will keep us on a progressive track into the future. Hillary wouldn’t sell out to banks and corporations any more than Bernie would put a hammer and sickle on our flag.






















oregon-ballot_-_1.jpg
Oregon primary mail-in ballot 



I just received my Oregon mail-in ballot for the primary. Having lived in Massachusetts where I was in Barney Frank’s congressional district, I moved to equally progressive Portland. We have a bisexual female governor, legal physician assisted suicide, recreational pot, and (for what it’s worth) more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the United States. This is Bernie territory where he turned out 24,000 for his Portland rally, only beaten when he had rallies in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
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To make my vote count for something, like most Democrats I talk to here every morning over breakfast at our retirement community coffee shop, I’ll vote for Bernie to send a message to Hillary to remember that a big part of the Democratic electorate wants her to heed Bernie’s messages.




Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trump repeated this  debunked story tonight about General Pershing killing Muslim captives with bullets dipped in pig blood 

HOW TO STOP ISLAMIC TERRORISTS . . . it worked once in our History . . . 

Once in US history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines about 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of the garrison. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, so "Black Jack" told his boys to catch the perps and teach them a lesson. 

Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The US soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs. 

All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

Trump’s biggest and most revealing slip:

Do you think she wants to run for
VP. See sidebar

"She’ll  be the worst president ever.”

by Hal Brown

Revised Thursday afternoon: Speaking last week in Bridgeport, CT Trump revealed in this slip-of-the-tongue that he may really know that his chances of winning are slim to none. It may seem like a small matter, an apostrophe double LL vs. an apostrophe D, but arrogant and narcissistic as he is, as a gambling man he is also smart enough to know she will most likely be our next president.

Before you comment that I am blowing this way out of proportion, remember that I am writing as a psychoanalytically informed psychotherapist and for me such errors in utterances are something like the telling micro-expressions FBI experts learn to recognize. Of course in TV shows like “Lie To Me" they are never wrong in spotting a lie. In psychology recognizing the meaning of slips is not a sure science. But they give analytically oriented therapists something to consider and sometimes share with their patients to help them gain insight to their unconscious processes.


There’s a good article on
Freudian slips here on PsychologyToday.
He wrote: "Almost invariably I discover a
disturbing influence from something outside
 of the intended speech.The disturbing element
 is a single unconscious thought, which
 comes to light through the special blunder.”
Also attributed to Freud: “Sometimes a
cigar is just a cigar” referring to
phallic symbolism.
My friends and I end up discussing Trump almost every morning at our coffee shop. (Shoutout to Waterfalls at Willamette View). As Trump continues to make comments that would seem guaranteed to assure doom in the general election, more and more we question whether he really wants to have such a difficult job. Writing as a psychoanalytically informed psychotherapist I know that often is a person’s motivation for isn’t clear cut. Even when someone consciously believes they are pursuing a goal for clear reasons, there may be ambivalence.

Ambivalence may be conscious or unconscious. If it is unconscious, someone may end up doing things that are likely to sabotage achieving their goals. It’s possible this was the case with Trump when he began campaigning and kept saying things that would have ended the campaign of a traditional candidate. Can you imagine anybody besides Trump disparaging John McCain’s war record and not plummeting in the polls the next day?

So far, campaigning appears to have been a never-ending happy endings ego massage for him. To paraphrase the Beach Boys classic, he may know (at least at some level) it will have been “fun, fun, fun” until reality (and Hillary) takes his T-Bird away. 

As a loser I don’t doubt he will deny, deflect, dismember, discombobulate, distance, and distract to the nth degree from taking any of the blame for losing on himself. Then he will enjoy being the most famous loser in American history since Robert E. Lee and George Armstrong Custer. Only he’ll still be a billionaire who can do pretty much anything he chooses, including buying a TV network.


I don’t doubt that he believes he is the smartest and most capable person on earth. However he is also a hedonist, and being responsible for the future of the free world doesn’t leave a lot of time for relaxation, even if you’ve taken the leap from flying in a mere 757 with your name on it to a 747 that says “The United States of America.” On the former you can relax with your 24 gold plated fixtures, on Air Force One you have the nuclear codes and actually have the weight of the world on you.

If by some insanely malevolent alignment of the stars Trump wins, and wakes up on the day after his inauguration and realizes he has to make far more consequential decisions then buying devalued real estate, he might just ask himself whether this is how he really wants to spend the next four years of his life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When a male politician shouts, unless he’s Gov. Dean whose
 squeaky voice was roundly mocked, nobody criticizes him
for being unmanly. Despite the fact that we have microphones
at campaign events, politicians still see fit to shout. To
me it’s always been foolish and unnecessary. However, they
get away with it. Unfortunately, when Hillary tries to
express her outrage, she raises her voice and frankly it
doesn’t sound that good. So the sexist, misogynist
Trump says she’s not feminine.
 The Female Command Voice
As a reserve police officer
for 20 years, I knew a few female cops. I observed how
they used oral commands. Unfortunately
 for some men and most women
when increasing the volume of a their words, the pitch is
also raised. With women cops they learn to raise their
voices without increasing the pitch. 
This quote from morning TV hardly needs an attribution. There are no new adjectives to describe how the ascension from talk show celebrity to being the most powerful person in the world makes me feel. Reagan from B-movie actor to president, and now Trump goes from casino magnate and “reality” TV celebrity to the Oval Office. 

On election evening in November, 1981 we planned a gathering of friends at our house to watch the returns on television. By the time our first guest arrived Reagan had already been called the winner in what proved to be a landslide. It was supposed to be a party. It ended up as a wake. 

If Trump wins this November I have to stretch my imagination to find a word to describe what that night will be like because all I can see in my mind is hoards of zombies coming for my friends and I.

Hillary lamely responds to Trump’s accusation of her “playing the woman card” and she says back in a serious voice that if fighting for women’s rights means she playing the woman card …  and then she raises her voice and says “then deal me in.” Trump tells Morning Joe that her saying this wasn’t womanly because she shouted it.

I wish Hillary hadn’t responded to this with a three word raised voice (not really shouted) sound bite. Her voice, like Bernie’s, cracks when the decibel level is increased. Trump is actually the best when he shouts. He’s no drill sergeant, but he gets his crowd’s attention.

I wish Hillary had continued her serious tone and said “if that’s what Mr. Trump wants to call my advocating for women, then I say (drops voice) deal (pause)  me (pause) in.” As I say in the insert, women should learn to us the “command voice” without it coming across as shrill to those who are threatened by women with power.

Then Trump segues into the “email scandal” saying women who have done a lot less are sitting in jail cells. “Women,” not people.

Trump reminds us of what I said all along, that running against Hillary he’ll use sound bites from what Bernie Sanders said about her.

Other Republicans are testing anti-Hillary lines: “Hillary Clinton has so much baggage that a luggage company is going to name a line after her." Rep. Tom Marino (R PA)

Read the 30 some comments here and Comment on this article on Daily Kos.

Need more evidence of Trump’s attitudes and bad behavior towards women, read this article.

This is from Trump Hates Women published in Slate:


The former Newsweek reporter Harry Hurt III described Trump’s history of assault in his book, The Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump. In 1989, Trump had returned home from a painful scalp-reduction surgery, intended to remove a bald spot. His ex-wife Ivana had suggested the doctor—and he blamed her for his sufferi

ng. He held her arms and began pulling hair from her scalp, then tore off her clothes. Hurt writes: “Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months. Ivana is terrified … It is a violent assault. According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’ ” When the story resurfaced last summer, Trump’s campaign disavowed it. When Hurt was writing his book, Trump’s lawyers forced the author to include a statement from Ivana in the book, “A Note to Readers,” which softens the account but doesn’t disavow it: “As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

The scene offers a graphic summation of Trump’s retrograde beliefs and real brutality. What’s worse, the same spirit informs his politics—the rampant cruelty, the violent impulses, the thirst for revenge, the absence of compassion. Misogyny isn’t an incidental part of Donald Trump. It’s who he is.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

These are among the 79 new emojis proposed for this summer.
 I expect the clown will be the most popular. See the rest.

Each emoji here shows how it will look on different
devices. The clown on the right looks like Trump would
appear without the comb-over. In 1989 the vain Trump had
scalp reduction surgery. I’ll leave it to someone
else to find before and after photos.

Morning Diary: I was considering making this a Trump free posting day, but then was reading the April 25th New York (with the Prince cheering crowd on the cover) and realized one Trump cartoon followed another. By the end I realized that all of the New Yorker cartoons in this issue were about Trump. I posted the very first New Yorker Trump cartoon, published in 1984, below.


Of elephants and crocodiles
by Hal Brown
As a departure from my usual writing, here are some  reflections on my life as a 72 year old widower living in a retirement community:

More than introspection is sometimes needed to more fully understand your inner self, or your unconscious. Grasping the you that you don’t always know is you is often like trying to discern something that flashes by in your peripheral vision, something that feels important but is here one second and gone the next. That’s why the likes of Freud and Shakespeare before him recognized the significance of dreams. When you remember a dream it is frequently vivid and detailed.


This morning I thought I’d look at the BBC website to find something non-Trump to write about, when I saw the stories at about elephants and crocodiles. Like often happens, a dream of the previous night is lost until something the next day reminds me of it. Seeing these articles, two complicated vivid dreams flooded back into my memory from last night. 


In the first one, elephants were featured. I was in Manhattan and wandered up to what used to be called Spanish Harlem because of its large Puerto Rican population. There was a huge street festival and parade which featured gigantic elephants, really mastodons with long curved tusks exactly like in the picture, pulling floats. As one turned the corner I was standing on, I quickly jumped back to avoid being trampled, and could feel him against me for what seemed like a long time as he brushed by me. Next I wandered among the celebrants as the only white skinned person feeling quite out of place and sensing people were looking at me.


Then the next completely different dream came back to me. I was wading on a lakeshore with a friend looking at turtles under the water, some small and a few very big. It felt idlic until we noticed a crocodile about to eat the smaller turtles. Although concerned about the turtles, we were more concerned about ourselves, so we quickly got out of the water and climbed to safety.


I’ll leave it to the psychotherapists here to interpret what they think all this means. Freud wrote that understanding dreams is the royal road to the unconscious mind.  I have a pretty good idea what my unconscious is telling me in these dreams. 


In dreams instead of trying to interpret each detail, I find it more revealing to look at recurring themes. In these two, the underlying themes are setting and jeopardy. In both, I was in a place far from home.  And in both I was threatened but at the last second managed to avoid being hurt, or even killed. Of course, living in a continuing care retirement community where we have lots of residents from their 80’s on up to 107, people I know or are acquainted with, die every few weeks. Even though I am physically fit, and don’t even have the aches and pains than often beset those my age, I am always being reminded of my own mortality.


People often dream either about what they wish for, or what they fear. In these dreams I avoid death, which in some ways can be both a wish and a fear. How is that for an existential thought?


But then it is difficult to psychoanalyze oneself even if you’re a therapist yourself. So perhaps, in these dreams, an elephant is just an elephant, and a croc is just a croc.

The New Yorker published their first Trump
cartoon in 1983.The sign says "Trump Bum.”

Here are two versions of Trump and his advisors. One is a cartoon from the April 28th New Yorker which features all Trump cartoons, and the other (from Huffington Post article Trump at War) is a photoshopped image of Trump and his advisors superimposed on the famous photo from the situation room during the raid that killed Osama. Seated, from left: Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Marshall B. Webb (Assistant Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command during the actual raid), Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Hulk Hogan. Standing, from left: Pvt. Brittany von Gunz (i.e. Brittany Spears with a gun), Eric Trump, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Rick Scott, Bruce Willis, Scott Brown. (Pete Souza/The White House/Getty Images.)


Monday, April 25, 2016

It’s about time someone else said this.

Click to read
I saw this on Salon and even before I read it I thought that finally a major online site has seen that what  I suggested, i.e., that Trump,
with his “loose associations” in his spontaneous utterances, may have a “broken brain.” I hadn’t seen this much early article, “Does Donald Trump have dementia” from the October 2015 Death and Taxes Magazine. It says basically the same thing as the Salon piece on the left, only illustrates it with photos as I did below. Both it and the Salon article are worth a read.  Bottom line, there’s enough empirical evidence to focus on assuring Trump doesn’t have some form of dementia before we satirize his manic way of talking.

This is what I wrote after he said 7/11 when he meant 9/11. The more I observed the way Trump seemed to talk like he’s on amphetamines the more I became convinced that there’s something wrong with the way his brain functions. I’m not talking about all the traits he has of clinical narcissistic personality disorder. I am referring to cognitive functioning. That’s just what this country needs, a narcissist with a broken brain. 
Attribution Daniel Raustadt,
Dreamstime.com

Does his obsession with illegal immigration come from having Mexican jumping beans in his brain? That’s how he talks. When faced with a microphone he has to fill empty moments with talking points.

Under the least bit of pressure he demonstrates that his has what therapists like me call a looseness of associations or derailment, i.e. shifting from one topic to another in ways that are obliquely related or completely unrelated. This is often a symptom of serious mental disorders.


This is from Salon:  
The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that if two of the following core mental functions seem impaired then it is time to seek medical help: Memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, visual perception. Alzheimer’s carries other symptoms besides memory loss including difficulty remembering newly learned information, disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes. 

Satirical humor only works if it is punching up. Humor that punches down is just mean. A joke about Trump’s brain is amusing; one about an Alzheimer’s patient is twisted and cruel. 

There are countless other excellent examples of Trump comedy takedowns—all of which depend entirely on the idea that Trump is not someone who actually needs medical attention. 

Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight reminded viewers that Trump speaks at a fourth grade level. That makes him, according to Camp, scientifically proven to be the dumbest candidate of them all. But Camp’s joke is only funny if Trump is talking that way to attract voters who respond to his simplistic rhetoric. It’s not funny if he really has lost the ability to speak like a healthy adult.

Sunday, April 24, 2016 
Feel good website of the week.


North Korea would suspend nuclear tests “IF”- This could be a huge breakthrough

The missile could have flown a few more feet before falling back into the
water. It also could be a small model rocket fired from a test tank.
My latest streaming video addiction is to
HBO’s Veep. Entertainment writer calls 
it the funniest show in America.
 Damn you, Amazon Prime, after
catching up with season two for free, I had
to pay $15 for season three. And there's
already a season four, with season
five just starting.
Salon has an R ratedclip of the show’s
“most profane, brutal and brilliant zingers” here.

Since they’ll be spoilers, I won’t watch
them in advance.
We are used to bluster from Dear Leader and the North Korean media, but this news is amazing if only for the calm and reasonable “sounding" way it was delivered by Foreign Minister Ri Su Yung. Whether sanctions have actually worked or not, and I suspect they have taken a great toll of this backwards country, is besides the point. Ri said that if the United States stops what he called our “nuclear” war exercises on the Korean Peninsula, they would cease development of nuclear weapons. This comes on the heels of the North claiming to have successfully tested a submarine launched ballistic missile.

Ri told the Associated Press: "A country as small as the DPRK cannot actually be a threat to the U.S. or to the world… How great would it be if the world were to say to the United States and the American government not to conduct any more military exercises in the Korean Peninsula ... But there is not a single country that says this to the U.S. These big countries alone or together are telling us that we should calm down… For us this is like a sentence, that we should accept our death and refuse our right to sovereignty."
My layman’s view of geopolitical gamesmanship is that there’s always a large element of “show" in military exercises like the one North Korea is saying they are so concerned about. We put on an intimidating show and the North Koreans respond. But it has previously been with bluster and bravado. They know that at any given time one nearby carrier strike group with a nuclear submarine the United States could rain destruction on North Korea. 

For the time being at least, the United States is, wisely I think, avoiding any public sign of hopefulness.

From the A.P: "In response to Ri's remarks, a U.S. State Department official defended the military exercises as demonstrating the U.S. commitment to its alliance with the South and said they enhance the combat readiness, flexibility and capabilities of the alliance.”

"We call again on North Korea to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its international commitments and obligations," said Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

On a political note, the message to Republicans forever damning Obama’s foreign policy, especially our deal with Iran, it must be noted that if we can open the door to talks with this most paranoid and secretive country, it will be on Obama’s watch.

How much of this news is generated by North Korea without any back-channel conversations with the United States is speculative. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry know, but they aren’t saying.

The Daily Kos has become a popular
liberal website. I began to cross-post
articles from here to their site on March
23, and have since put 13 of my pieces
on their website. You can read them here.
If I put something there in the morning,
sometimes within five minutes readers
are commenting on it.
Comment on the N. Korea story on The Daily Kos


The actual quotes aren’t as good as the title and drawing.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Case For Elizabeth Warren For Vice President

Where Elizabeth Warren could wield more influence, the Senate or as vice president. The answer is as vice president. However, what got to me the most in reading articles about this was that she’s 10 years older than I assumed. She's 66 years old. Like many I thought she might be positioned to run for president in four or eight years. Not that running at 72 would diminish her chances, but if she runs in eight years she’d be 76.

 (read This Huffington Post article )

I have to admit that I just started watching the second season of Veep, the HBO comedy show that stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus, that this has influenced my opinion about the potential clout of a vice president. Aside from comic turns such as getting groped by the husband of the prime minister of Finland, she manages to exercise a lot of power, often because the never-seen POTUS is disengaged and inept. Think a Dick Cheney to George W. Bush.

Cheney was the dark lord, and will go down in history as such. Elizabeth Warren could become the most important progressive vice president in history.

Of all the names I’ve seen mentioned, Warren is the only one who came up early on as someone many progressives wanted to see run for president. Undoubtably she will want to be involved in major decision making and have areas of import that she is in charge of. Given the overlap of her interests with Bernie Sanders’ she would be able to run as Hillary’s Bernie, and function as such in the Executive Branch.

What about losing Warren in the Senate? With Warren as veep, there are other influential progressive senators who will have a lot of impact, including Bernie (assuming he’s not president), Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, and Oregon’s own Jeff Merkley.

While balancing the ticket with a Hispanic has it’s merits, I think a good case can be made for running a true power-ticket, and that would be Clinton-Warren.

There are quite a few comments to this on Daily Kos. I fleshed the article out to make it long enough to hopefully make it Kos-worth, you too can make comments.

Photo in Slate
The Presidential Image of Donald Trump: Below I have a photo of the new look Trump. There are numerous photos of him with his world-class array of grimaces. With his dyed hair and orangey skin tone, and often squinty eyes, he looks just plain weird. Slate published a photo of him where he actually looks human, and dare I say, presidential.

Pictures of the day:









I don’t know what’s worse, the “fire the idiot” shirt or the Trump rising through the ripped shirt, emerging from the boys body like the horrific monster in Alien. Perhaps the eagle will bite his finger.
Sometimes I see a picture that really engages me. Such was the case with this one below. Do you know who it is? Hint for younger readers: the name is very familiar to you, and we need more people like him today. He was as enamored of self-promotion as Donald Trump, with a million times the substance. Click image below for story
There’s no disagreement that George Washington was one of our greatest presidents, and towers above all of them for defeating Great Britain and establishing the democratic republic with unheard of presidential succession. School children learn that he was a slave holder just as most very rich southerners were at the time. In fact, he owned over 1,000 slaves. This is depicted without apology here:
"Washington as Farmer at Mount Vernon", 1851, part of a series on George Washington by Junius Brutus Stearns.

Friday, April 22, 2016

BBC News

Prince is dominating the news, leading pop-culture out of touch Americans who never read Rolling Stone to say “who knew?” I turn to BBC to see both how they are covering the Prince story, and what’s going on in the rest of the news. The dominant political story with the Brits is about how The Traveling Trump Performance Art Circus will be shifting gears to reassure us that he won’t be accusing Angela Merkel  of her having blood coming out of… He apparently thinks he can get away toning down his inner Don Rickles and still have the overflow crowds of adoring fans at his rallies.



This is the photo BBC choose to illustrate Trump’s new presidential “look” in their post-NY primary article which suggests that with a new “style” he may be a more presidential candidate.

How will voters respond to such a blatant, in your face, admission that a candidate they worship has manipulated them? He played them for rubes, but after they rubes leave the carnival having spent $50 to “win” a giant $5 orange orangutan do they really care?

1





Can you imagine Trump
 meeting with Angela Merkel.
 






Thursday, April 21, 2016 

Trending on Facebook, a progressive redneck southern man makes sense about transgender bathrooms. (Thanks for sharing, Howard)



Trump this morning, at a Today Show town hall (video here)was asked if he can become presidential (and surprise, he’s not about to say he’s going to be an unpresidential president). He’s the most hyperbolic self-aggrandizing likely candidate for any political party ever. Back in March he said he’d be the most presidential president since Lincoln. Now he want us to believe he’s going to be boring.

Q: Your wife, Melania, has suggested you act presidential. Can you tell us some of the things you've done to behave that way?

A: Trump admitted he's had to "hit back very hard" at his opponents, particularly when there were more than a dozen of them in the Republican race. He insisted he had no choice."I think if I didn't, if I acted very presidential, I wouldn't be sitting up here today, somebody else might be. It wouldn't be me," he said. But he promised to show more of his diplomatic side, particularly now that the race is down to three candidates, two of whom he predicted will be eliminated "very soon.""At the right time, I will be so presidential, you will be so bored. You will say, 'Can he have a little bit more energy?' But I know when to be presidential."


I suppose he wants us to believe he'd be so presidential that his unenergetic boringness would make our heads spin. Shades of "The Exorcist." I wonder our head spinning will include levitation and projectile vomiting.


Ego building noblesse oblige isn’t empathy:


When Trump’s family was asked to give an example of his empty, Ivanka told about how he’d clip newspaper articles about people facing adversity (she didn’t use that “big” word). We all know that the more narcissistic a person is, the less capable he is of empathy. Meeting with people facing hardship and being able to help them, presumably with a job or influence, isn’t necessarily an indication of empathy. True empathy is being able to readily put yourself in another person’s place and experiencing a deep sense of what they feel.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016



The title of this Slate article says “The Domestication of Donald Trump Has Begun: His “Presidential” Tone Was All The Rage Tuesday.” I’ve been thinking about Trump needing to learn to hinge up his unhinged personality to compete in the general election. 

The Slate article talks about “domesticating an America fascist.” Great! A would be Queen of Hearts calmly saying “please take these offensive denizens of Wonderland to the guillotine” instead of screaming “off with their heads!”

Much is being made of the fact that last night Trump referred to Ted Cruz and Senator Cruz instead of Lyin' Cruz. This is supposed to show he’s more presidential? It shows no more than his taking someone’s prudent advice. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ivanka inked it on the back of his hand.

It doesn’t take a shrink to understand that basic personality traits don’t change. It’s a feel-good fantasy, the stuff of movies about redemption, that a person can change who they have always been. The best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. 

Bad behavior based on deeply entrenched personalty traits (or a personality disorder) explains why mandated anger management therapy for those charged with battery (attention Cory Lewandowski) doesn’t work very often.

In psychotherapy, a person needs to want to change their behavior in order for therapy to work. 

Trump wants to be president, therefore he must be convinced that to win he’ll have to change his behavior. Behavioral change isn’t all that difficult if a person is highly motivated. An incarcerated killer or drug trafficker can change their behavior in order to get paroled. That doesn’t mean he won’t resume his antisocial, or even psychopathic, behavior once back on the street. Or, once he becomes president.

Trump is not given enough credit for being an actor, but he really is. He has a schtick. The question is whether or not the schtick that worked on The Apprentice and in his rallies is so based on his personality that he is really so much the ego-maniac unencumbered by empathy that he’d be dangerous as president. 

Trump isn’t a feral cat you adopt and try to teach to use the litter box because feral cat’s instinct is to do his business in the sand. 

If Trump gets in the White House, his sandbox will be America.

Comments from Daily Kos. Add yours.

*
Tweets of the Day


Add this Tweet from Salma Hayek, who has a movie debuting April 22nd, to my piece on Trump saying 7/11 instead of 9/11:





Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I’m still following how editors choose which photos to juxtapose when depicting the candidates.
These show all of the candidates with pretty much the same expression. Noteworthy though is the difference in Trump’s eyes from the others. I don’t know how to describe them except to say I’ve never seen anyone with similar eyes.

Trump’s 7/11 misspeak tells us a lot about him, none of it good.

by Hal Brown, MSW
Clinical Social Worker


The more I observed the way Trump seemed to talk like he’s on amphetamines the more I became convinced that there’s something wrong with the way his brain functions. I’m not talking about all the traits he has of clinical narcissistic personality disorder. I am referring to cognitive functioning. That’s just what this country needs, a narcissist with a broken brain. 

Does his obsession with illegal immigration come from having Mexican jumping beans in his brain? That’s how he talks. When faced with a microphone he has to fill empty moments with talking points.

Under the least bit of pressure he demonstrates that his has what therapists like me call a looseness of associations or derailment, i.e. shifting from one topic to another in ways that are obliquely related or completely unrelated. This is often a symptom of serious mental disorders.

Coming out of his voting place this morning, when reporters asked how it felt to be voting for himself, he couldn’t even answer that simple question with a reflective feeling-centered response. He said, apparently referring to himself, that “it’s a great honor for New York.” He had to throw in “my whole reason for doing this is to make America great again.”

That is something that gets therapists to wondering about both a person’s cognitive functioning and their ability to be introspective. If someone isn’t introspective I doubt they have much interest in understanding how other people feel.

One of the prominent characteristics of a narcissist is lack of empathy:
Simply put, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism. (Mayo Clinic)
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a disorder that is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet. While this pattern of behavior may be appropriate for a king in 16th Century England, it is generally considered inappropriate for most ordinary people today. ( Psych Central )
Of course a narcissist can be a hedonist. There is evidence that Trump fits the definition of a hedonist. A hedonist lives for pleasure. Trump’s life style is hedonistic. The ostentatious trappings of wealth combine with the enormous pleasure he takes in amassing money.

Not to be too syrupy, but what, you may ask this therapist, is my definition of a healthy balance in life? I agree with just about every psychologist and philosopher that a life well-lived is based on love, faith (for some), expressing creativity, making a contribution and doing for others. On the later, nobody has ever suggested Trump is an altruist!

Trump is  a New Yorker. He’s speaking in New York, and instead of 9/11, he just referred to that tragic iconic event, an event that changed our world as much as Pearl Harbor, and now is simply known by the date it occurred on as 9/11.
“I was down there and I watched our police and our firemen, down on 7-11, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down,” Trump said. “And I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action.”
Seven and 11 are the winning first throws in the dice game of craps. This is why novice players sometimes say “seven come 11” before they throw the dice. 
One could say that because Trump made a fortune on gambling, and that these numbers are always near the forefront of his consciousness. 
Comment on this article on
The Daily Kos and be read
 by thousands (maybe).
 A dozen
comments so far, plus my answers.
This isn’t merely a misspeak, it is a Freudian slip. This tells us far more about Trump and shouldn’t be written off. It has convinced me that he really does want to be president for one reason, and it’s not to make America great again as he says. 

It’s so he can be the most powerful person in the world.




Monday, April 18, 2016

To everyone who read my newly labeled Sunday Edition, thank you. It’s the Sunday Times without the advertising. 

How much does Cruz hate homosexuals?
Monday began with a video on MSNBC of (I wish he was) Lying, Ted Cruz, telling his audience that “I will not compromise your religious liberty.” Of course his definition of “religious liberty” is that everyone should have a right to discriminate against anybody in their business. His argument: he'll make sure that owners of kosher delis won’t be forced to serve ham sandwiches. Cruz may dream of instituting his own evangelical version of the Spanish Inquisition if he becomes president. At least with Trump, if he keeps his promises, will only use his power to rid the country of the tan-skins who he’s convinced his largely pale-skinned supporters only want to come here to bomb and rape us and take our jobs.

I find it ironic that Liberty with a capital “L” is Miss (or perhaps Mz.) Liberty. Cruz isn’t quite the champion of women’s rights.

American terror from the air will target ISIS in Iraq:

This edition already has a photo of a mean looking, and equally dangerous aircraft. Here’s another one. I post it prompted by the decision to send 217 additional military advisors and other troops to Iraq yo fight ISIS there. We are also sending  eight Apache helicopters and their crews. The Apache has a crew of two. This may mean more than just eight crews in order to have back-ups and give each crew a day or two off. They also must have ground crews to service the aircraft and load the weaponry. According to news reports, up until now the Iraqi government declined our offer to put Apaches there because they wanted to avoid more American involvement in the war agains ISIS.  It occurred to me that while drones unleash the same devastatingly destructive Hellfire missiles as the Apache, the former are usually out of sight, and actually look more benign than they really are. The Apache is one mean looking machine.  It is not something an enemy combatant wants to see coming at them. In addition to missiles, it can use its machine guns (really called chain guns) as an additional weapon system.

Lesson from Jerusalem: Wait before you call something a attack terror

There was a bus explosion and fire in Jerusalem today. It was initially speculated that it might have been the work of terrorists. Now it turns out it was most likely an accidental bus fire. Even though Hillary might have personally thought Benghazi was an attack that at the least involved organized terrorists, I don’t see how her waiting until she had more facts before she announced this amounts to deception or even bad judgment. (Update) Now Israeli intelligence is saying that this was, after all, an attack.


The “Good Folks” at Google, NOT:

Why I use Duck Duck Go for my searches: This is the only search site that doesn’t track your searches and use the data to target ads to what you look up. It is easy to make it your default search site.

I didn’t even know there was a Google site just for shopping. If I’m going to buy something online I always use Amazon Prime, which generally has free delivery (except for the life-guard hat with the five inch brim I just ordered - shipping $8.95 for a $25 hat - residents at Willamette View who frequent our coffee shop in the morning, you’ll me wearing it in a few days - it may be surprising to some (you know who you are), but my hat size is a mere 7 ¼ —  but  digress).

True, Amazon Prime does track your purchases, but does so in an up-front and often helpful way.

I came across this when I read that the European Commission is looking into anti-trust action against Google for limiting choices to its European customers by giving prominent placement to companies that pay them a fee.

SUNDAY EDITION: April 17, 2016

Do you ever wonder who chooses the photos of candidates to juxtapose, and why they chose particular ones to illustrate a story? For example,  this from Salon:
Added Monday













Sunday Reading that isn’t The New Yorker: 

The Baffler was started by “What’s The Matter
With Kansas” author Thomas Frank. It is a
publication of politics, art, culture (and the culture war),
and criticism in and what they call “genre-defining
essays.” Immodestly that say they are “packed with
up to-the-minute business idols.” In 2001 when they were halfway through preparation of “The God That Sucked” edition, a fire swept through their office. At the time they wrote “years of incendiary criticism
finally achieve ignition.” It was three years before
they were able to publish again.
It is currently published online and in print.







Today’s political cartoon by Peter Hannan comes to you from The Baffler.
Read The Guardian interview: Shame Sticks Like Tar. 


The Guardian has a sensitive and revealing interview with Monica Lewinsky.


As the naive victim of the charismatic president’s willingness to take advantage of her, after dark times, including a period of being suicidal, she has turned her life around. She talks candidly about the effects of shaming, especially in the Internet era.
Writing about how difficult it was being an overweight child in Beverly Hills she tells The Guardian: “I remember sitting on my parents’ bed and them practicing with me how to take a joke, how to not cry. I remember one very specific day in the playground when a group of girls had concocted some game. They’d say a number and it would mean something – run up and push me, or make a face at me, or say something stupid.” She pauses. “Those memories inform a lot of who we become. They contributed to me not having a strong sense of self. Look. I could sit and cry all day about kids being afraid to go to school.”

Below is her Ted Talk.




Historic photo you probably haven’t seen:


Hitler delighted by VW model. One of 101 “Jaw dropping historic photos” here
April 16, 2016 

After reading this Politico article all I have to say is
All Hail, His Royal Majesty King Obama

Click Image

The GOP rants hysterically about how Obama has expanded and used his powers like a dictator.  They call it executive overreach. I don’t object, in fact I applaud this so-called passive president for doing it. And to think the GOP is responsible for giving him this power.


Bernie campaign joins silly season in attempt to censor a parody t-shirt likening him to communist leaders.
 
Photo by Hal Brown in D.C.
Hal Brown in Three Stooges Bush t-shirt
Hal Brown in a Bush parody t-
shirt, with Bush crossed out and
McCain added.
Buzzfeed has already covered this. Here  is the original source, Liberty Maniacs, the manufacturer of the t-shirt (and you can get a cup too). And we thought Trump was thin skinned. I think this is a better than most negative anti-candidate parody.  The cease and desist letter from an attorney claims trademark infringement. I don’t see much of a case since this is clearly a parody. Did Obama try to stop it when he was depicted with a Hitler mustache? Some things are better left alone. This publicity will only increase demand. I’m even tempted to buy one.



Published 1951, reprinted 23 times, available for $6 but if
you already have the hardback, it’s worth $160.
Trumpism: “All mass movements, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred, and intolerance…. Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” Eric Hoffer
Read more about how prophetic Hoffer was.
Link

April 15, 2016: What a day of riches for this blog. I usually assume only the most intrepid “fans” (all one of them) will spend more than a few minutes here.  That’s fine since I rarely have more than three or four things to comment on, or suggest you read. But now late this afternoon I find two contrasting Hillary vs. Bernie articles from Salon. It’s interesting just to see them together:
Link

April 15, 2015
Stuck on Talking Points: It always frustrates me when candidates I admire (and this cycle thats only Hillary and Bernie) miss an answer to a question they should know. In the debate, when Bernie was asked for an example of one decision that showed she was beholden to big banks, he couldnt come up with one. No doubt Elizabeth Warren would have been able to do so with ease: here she is in 2004 talking about her vote on bankruptcy reform.

Heard at the coffee shop: At a comedy club in Portland, where they feel the Bern, “if you’re Jewish and from New York, you always had an uncle or cousin Bernie. You won’t see this photo anywhere else online. It’s me sitting with my Uncle Bernie.
Hal Brown and Uncle Bernie
Young Hal Brown and Uncle Bernie.

Here’s a face you’ll be seeing again as Trey Gowdy tries to release the Benghazi Committee Report timed to do the most damage to Hillary. According to Dana Milbank in The Washington Post, the finding will show, perhaps, that Clinton misled the public - by not immediately saying it was the work of terrorists - and she was indifferent to the security of embassy personnel. I can hear Trump screaming out Benghazi.
Bad Drug Department:
See more ads for Bayer Heroin
I’ve read several articles about why and how drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin became illegal. Here’s a new interesting one that sent me googling for more information about how Bayer invented the drug, coined the name heroin, and marketed the drug especially for use with sick children.  

Here’s more information about how Bayer invented heroin. The company discovered it was 10 times more effective for pain than morphene. I learned this long ago, wish it was legal for medical use. Nobody should have to die in excruciating pain the way my wife did.

April 14, 2015


Want to get hot and bothered and illegal immigration from Mexico, ISIS would-be terrorists blowing us up, even North Korea deciding to launch a nuke on Hawaii, go ahead. But the real military threat to world stability is Russia. 
Want to worry, read this: The Secret U.S. Army Study That Targets Moscow.
and then once you read how formidable the new Russian military has become, read Putin Creates Enormous Praetorian Guard. Does he really think the Americans are trying to overthrow him? Could he have become that paranoid?
Here’s another one if you want to become a edgy expert on Rutin Tootin Putin: Putin’s Geopolitical Trolling: The Strategy Behond Russian Jets Buzzing An American Destroyer.


The Democratic debate is tonight on CNN. I share the photo of previous
debates because I like the  body language and facial expressions.

While examining interesting photos, take a look at this one  (below) of George Bush biting his tongue, a grinning Saudi prince, and two swords. The article that goes with it about Saudi involvement in terrorism is interesting.

Rory the Dashboard Cat - more photos
and a video.

Hillary wants to release UFO files.
I can’t think of any reason another
candidate would oppose this;
unless they believe this would
jeopardize US security

See right column.

April 13, 2016.





April 12, 2016 Something non-political for a change, and a chance for a
 shock value image:

From a Huffington Post article this morning: 
Christian Author Mack Major Says Female Masturbation Is ‘Direct Path To Satan’ 
 Caption: Tools of the devil? A Christian author claims female
masturbation is a “direct path of Satan” and says dildos
are used in “demonic sex rituals."
This image is from Mack Major's website
Ed Mazza, the overnight editor who wrote this, might have been a little bleery eyed when he decided HuffPo readers might need to be reminded of this fact: "There is no scientific evidence of 'demons' attaching themselves to people who masturbate." Hmmm... on second thought, when I read what some of the trolls write commenting on the progressive political articles, I wonder about that sub-group of cave-dwelling HuffPo readers. Maybe they NEED to be told that the Devil and his demons aren't real. Too bad, if demons were real I'd wish a succubus on this sex-obsessed Mack Major. [pondering emoji appropriate here] -- perhaps that is what his problem is!

April 11, 2016 -
Bernie may add Hillary’s not having an aide test her NYC subway card to make sure it would work as yet another proof that she lacks the judgment to be president. Oh, come on Bernie, there was a less GOP friendly way to say you though some of her decisions were misguided. Why give Trump or Cruz as video clip to use against her if she is the nominee? Meanwhile, it’s almost impossible for any candidate to avoid doing something to be fodder for Saturday Night Live mockery. Here’s their latest skit about Hillary.


 Hillary trying to use the subway in the latest Saturday Night Live skit.

April 10, 2016 - The Boston Globe published this fake front page on their ideas section, calling it an exercise at taking a man at his word. You can click each image below and read the text.


April 9, 2016-
A celebrated essayist, (Joseph Addison, left) roundly criticizing the partisan divide, has written forcefully of “the Mob of Malcontents” who are quick to believe in “absurdity,” who are “daily nourished … by fiction and delusion.” He goes on to assert that the “political faith of a Malcontent” is altogether founded on imagining wishes will come true, and giving credit to what is said that is pleasing to his ear. Read how (some) Republicans harken back to the days of the Tory Party in 1716 in Salon.


I would rather have a beer with
Charlie Manson than with Trump
or Cruz. Lot’s of people actually
think Trump is likable. Does
anybody think Cruz is likable?
Here’s the Time article.

Today’s cartoon is by Steve Artley. I actually hope Trump gets
enough votes to win outright at the convention. Otherwise
I fear that in a contested convention someone like Ryan or
Bloomberg will end up being nominated, and that they
could win against Hillary or Bernie.
April 8, 2016 

April 7, 2016 --
Today it’s Cruz, yesterday it was Bernie.
Mother Jones covers the covers of the Daily News.



1000 years in the future?
See story right column

April 6, 2016 - Democratic Superheroes

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..


Do you use WebMD for your primary source
of online medical information? It you do, stop!
Read what doctors had to say about WebMD
…. I use the Mayo Clinic website. 
April 5, 2016
See article in right column>

……...


My favorite comic strip today.

Roger Ailes with rainbow
colored balloons. See story right.

Me at my usual morning haunt, Waterfalls
Cafe, Willamette View



Time to kill? Check out the blogs here,
My favorite newly found blog is DIGBY whose
essays are regularly published on Salon.
.

I doubted I thought of this myself. No
such luck. Caption is “Come to think
of it, the way you spelled it makes more sense."
It’s from the Great Bend Kansas Tribune.
Someone even registered
http://www.makeamericagrateagain.com
 as a one page website.

ee

See article right.
I wager Trump would like to
put Megyn Kelly into the
iron maiden and really see
blood coming from her eyes.
I wonder how his stubby fingers
and orange face and hair
would look protruding from
the stocks.
Prurient Interest Dept: The DC Madam’s
 lawyer may release her client list,
 which he says
will have a major influence on this
presidential election. See the
  Rachel Maddow video and read
the Daily Kos story . Trump or Cruz?
If the former it might hurt his manly
man image, paying for sex and all;
but if Cruz it could destroy him.
Would Trump legalize crucifixion?

Despite the lamentations from Republicans,
our military seems to be doing just fine.
Obama has proposed a $2.7 billion increase
for next year. The defense industry is
contributing more money to Clinton and Sanders
than any of the Republican candidates. They are barely
 
New York Times: GOP fear Trump going zombie
(see right column). Like he hasn’t already.
See GIF image on Down With Tyranny!
 donating to Trump. Read Politico article.
Cartoon of the day here


Left: How’s this for intimacy? Maybe Testicle Ted has bad breath. Right: Image which went with The Daily Kos 
post of my piece here (on left) about Trump perhaps sending women and their abortion doctors to prison for life for first degree murder. By posting some of my writings on Daily Kos, I get more people to read them and make comments since all new entries have a link on their opening page for a period of time.

Kasich said he’d reunite Pink Floyd on his first day as president.
“Copulating rodents” is the latest term in our
 political cesspool discourse. Read sidebar.
From Tom Tomorrow my favorite political
 cartoonist. Read entire comic strip here.
This was erected in Central Park and quickly removed.
It portends what would be his ignoble accomplishment
as president, saying “MADE AMERICA HATE AGAIN”.
From Mt. Vernon, NY, to Michigan for college and career at the Mason Mental Health Center, to Massachusetts and cranberries, and now in Portland since June 2014. Opinions are added daily in the right column. Scroll down for photos of  WILLAMETTE VIEW, the senior facility where I live, and others from my numerous photo forays in the area.


My bathroom is transgender friendly.

I wonder what the Secret Service would have to say about this.