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April 23, 2019

Hal Brown;'s blog April 19 to -- 2019

April 25, 2019

Somebody at the WaPo chose the picture on the right to illustrate this article. He looks somewhat presidential there. I prefer my photoshop.
Excerpt:

“THERE IS no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress,” President Trump told Post reporters Tuesday, explaining why he was preparing to stonewall congressional requests for administration documents and testimony, possibly by invoking executive privilege. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Trump said on Wednesday. “These aren’t like impartial people.”
Click image to enlarge
If that were the standard, then Congress could never investigate anything. Mr. Trump’s Republican colleagues must remember the battles they fought with President Barack Obama over transparency only a few years ago when they ran the House. Mr. Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. from turning over documents on the “Fast and Furious” gun-running scheme. Republicans held Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress.

As we said at the time, “No doubt a lot of congressional investigations are partisan fishing expeditions. For better or worse, that comes with the democratic territory. Absent very strong countervailing considerations — stronger than some of those the administration has asserted in this case — Congress is generally entitled to disclosure.” Democrats, too, are entitled to disclosure, particularly as they ask weighty questions about the potentially severe abuse of power in the top reaches of the White House.
Just saying:



April 24, 2019  
Click image

Excerpt from the snarky (and accurate) Wonkette article: Donald Trump's schizodementiasyphilomania* is acting up again. Or whatever it is. And it was acting up yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and it's usually a good thing to mostly ignore whatever comes out of the dark bowels of Trump's Twitter, because after all, he's the stupidest person currently alive on Planet Earth, and he's also a lazy fuck who doesn't go to work until Whatever Thirty in the afternoon, but ...

Well, either the Mueller Report, which paints him as an absolute criminal, is sending him spiraling into highly disturbing levels of mental decay, or it's possible that he knows something. Or maybe it's both. Maybe he's losing it because he knows the House is coming for him, and despite everything his White House is saying right now, he knows he has zero legal standing to stop the tsunami. Could be that!

 (He made nine) then 10 tweets. He started here, with a deranged conspiracy theory from an obscure conservative fake news outfit about the United Kingdom spying on him, the day after the White House announced he's finally getting the state visit to the UK that nobody in the UK wants to give him, and which will probably be greeted by Brits pissing in the general direction of his motorcade...

*not a real psychiatric term, schizodementiasyphilomania = schizo-dementia-syphilo-mania


Click image to enlarge

Editorial:

Trump wants/needs to own the news cycle, and is showing signs of desperation (50 tweets in 24 hours on the 23rd) — but as impeachment or quasi-impeachment hearings move forward even Fox News will be covering news that is damning to him. Not only will his criminal behavior be laid out for all to see, but he will be shown to be a weak leader whose subordinates ignored and defied him and that will bother him more than almost anything.
Look for him to spend more time attending rallies which will barely get covered in the media. He will spend more time at his golf resorts consorting with the likes of Rush Limbaugh. That lapdogs like Kushner (“it was just a couple of Facebook ads”), Guiliani, and Sanders become objects of ridicule won’t help either. As his support erodes among Republicans and previous loyalists like Verret (story below) turn against him and get major publicity he'll be under more stress. Meanwhile Bill Weld, who called Trump a malignant narcissist and megalomaniac on Lawrence O’Donnell last night, will get more air time. Kasich may also decide to run against him. 

If anything Trump will be more distracted as he is under attack on more fronts. Trump’s brittle primative psychological defensives (personified by Alfred E. Neuman) will be in danger of cracking.
Therapists will be alert for sign of psychological and cognitive decompensation and I look for more of our spokespersons like John Gartner and Bandy Lee to be interviewed on TV. 

George Conway will be tweeting "I told you so." 

Trump will make more unintended errors like his Sri Lanka tweet which stayed online for 20 minutes until some staffer noticed it. Such behaviours will make it appear he is in in a state of at the least distraction and at worst pre-dementia.

No matter what his psychiatric diagnosis is, Trump has psychological defense mechanisms. Everybody does. His are readily observable, and they tend to be primative or immature ones. His defense of denial borders on the psychotic. See the variants of defense mechanisms here. Note how few of the mature ones Trump uses.


Trump will lash out at immigrants and his chosen enemies. The country and world will be a dangerous place until he is no longer president.

Click image to enlarge


UN Bows To U.S. Demands, Waters Down Resolution To Help Survivors Of Sexual Violence In War - because of what? Abortion. 


‘This is risky’: Trump’s thirst for Mueller revenge could land him in trouble

Team Trump’s bellicose tweets and public statements in the last few days could expose the president to fresh charges of witness intimidation and obstruction of justice. (and could bite him in the ass.... HB)

Already, a fusillade of verbal assaults aimed at former White House counsel Don McGahn, a star witness in the Mueller report, have sparked questions about obstruction and witness intimidation as Democrats fight the Trump White House to get McGahn’s documents and testimony.  
“This is risky,” said William Jeffress, a prominent Washington defense attorney who represented President Richard Nixon after he left the White House. “I find it surprising because he’s taking these shots at witnesses who gave information to Mueller, and I think he’s got to be careful because there’s an explicit federal statute punishing retaliation against witnesses.” 
It’s a lesson some thought Trump would have learned during the Mueller investigation.

April 23, 2019

In the news:

The Mueller Report Was My Tipping Point by former Trump transition staffer


In this Atlantic op-ed a former Trump transition staffer called for Donald Trump’s impeachment, saying the Mueller report was his “tipping point.” J.W. Verret, a lifelong Republican and an associate professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, said that after reading Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report twice, he “realized that enough was enough” from Trump. “If you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right,” he wrote. “But I did exactly that this weekend, tweeting that it’s time to begin impeachment proceedings.”
Verrett joined Trump’s pre-transition team in August 2016 as the deputy director of economic policy, one of the first 16 members to join the staff. Though he left amicably after three months, he said he never thought he would join the “Never Trump” efforts until reading the Mueller report. “I wanted to share my experience transitioning from Trump team member to pragmatist about Trump to advocate for his impeachment, because I think many other Republicans are starting a similar transition,” he wrote. From Daily Beast

EXCERPT:

The Mueller report was that tipping point for me, and it should be for Republican and independent voters, and for Republicans in Congress. In the face of a Department of Justice policy that prohibited him from indicting a sitting president, Mueller drafted what any reasonable reader would see as a referral to Congress to commence impeachment hearings.
Depending on how you count, roughly a dozen separate instances of obstruction of justice are contained in the Mueller report. The president dangled pardons in front of witnesses to encourage them to lie to the special counsel, and directly ordered people to lie to throw the special counsel off the scent.
This elaborate pattern of obstruction may have successfully impeded the Mueller investigation from uncovering a conspiracy to commit more serious crimes. At a minimum, there’s enough here to get the impeachment process started. In impeachment proceedings, the House serves as a sort of grand jury and the Senate conducts the trial. There is enough in the Mueller report to commence the Constitution’s version of a grand-jury investigation in the form of impeachment proceedings.
The Founders knew that impeachment would be, in part, a political exercise. They decided that the legislative branch would operate as the best check on the president by channeling the people’s will. Congress has an opportunity to shape that public sentiment with the hearings ahead. As sentiments shift, more and more Republicans in Congress will feel emboldened to stand up to the president. The nation has been through this drama before, with more than a year of hearings in the Richard Nixon scandal, which ultimately forced his resignation.
Republicans who stand up to Trump today may face some friendly fire. Today’s Republican electorate seems spellbound by the sound bites of Twitter and cable news, for which Trump is a born wizard. Yet, in time, we can help rebuild the Republican Party, enabling it to rise from the ashes of the post-Trump apocalypse into a party with renewed commitment to principles of liberty, opportunity, and the rule of law.

House Panel Moves to Hold Ex-White House Official in Contempt for Following Trump Admin’s Instructions Not to Testify


The House Oversight Committee moved Tuesday to hold a former White House official in contempt of Congress for failing to appear at a hearing on alleged lapses in White House security clearance procedures. The former White House official, Carl Kline, was in charge of the security-clearance process, and now works for the Defense Department. Kline was instructed by the Trump administration to not appear at the hearing which was ordered by a House subpoena. Kline claimed his reason for not attending the scheduled testimony was that Democrats were looking for access to confidential information. 
The move to hold Kline in contempt indicates an escalation of tensions between Congress and the Trump White House. The Trump administration has been increasingly resisting requests for information from Capitol Hill. “The White House and Mr. Kline now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena with no assertion of any privilege of any kind by President Trump,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a statement. “Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House.”




and

Furious Trump orders officials to boycott correspondents' dinner


Trump is the first president to order administration officials to boycott the dinner. He is also the first president not to attend the dinner himself since Ronald Reagan missed the event in 1981, when he was recovering from an assassination attempt.

 Today's photoshop goes with these stories.



April 22, 2019 

 Exclusive: "The most dangerous times thus far in Trump's presidency" by Howard Covitz, PhD 


Excerpts (emphasis added)

Barr’s actual legal reasoning is a bit more defensible. In order to prove obstruction of justice, the state must establish that an individual undermined an investigation with a “corrupt intent.” Barr’s argument is, in essence, that the president did not act with a corrupt intent because he was sincerely subject to the paranoid delusion that the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference — and his campaign’s potential ties to it — was an inquisition orchestrated by his political enemies. And there’s nothing corrupt about trying to shut down a witch hunt.
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Therefore, if we accept Barr’s reasoning, Trump’s intentions were pure because he is so earnestly paranoid and narcissistic he was incapable of entertaining any explanation for the Russia investigation’s existence that did not involve a nefarious conspiracy hatched by his enemies.
This assessment is itself dubious. But it is true that proving beyond a reasonable doubt that this president is not subject to paranoid delusions would be difficult.
Making the case that Congress should not allow a paranoid, delusional man to retain command of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal seems like an easier task.

[[[[]]]]

Sarah Sanders lies again as she rants about April Ryan wanting to chop her head off during Fox News interview - this story begged for a photoshop




The (UK) Observer view on the Mueller report: Trump is a disgrace not welcome in Britain











The president has been shown to be the biggest threat to US governance since Watergate. Britain must not honour this dishonourable man with a state visit.

Excerpt: The proposal that the British state should extend to this unworthy man its highest honours, including an address to parliament, and a banquet and carriage ride down the Mall with the Queen, is misjudged. It will do nothing to revive the “special relationship”, already torn apart by Trump’s reactionary policies on climate change, migration, race, multilateralism, Yemen, nuclear arms, civil liberties and other issues. What it will do is give an undeserved boost to a wounded charlatan.

If Americans are content to allow a habitual liar who has presided over systemic illegality, numerous ill-concealed attempts to obstruct justice and a foul-mouthed culture of venality and vendettas to continue to lead their country, that is a matter for them. But the British people cannot be expected to collude or condone such misbehaviour. And what’s to be gained? A fantasy post-Brexit trade deal? Trump’s word, evidently, cannot be trusted.

 If Democrats won't act against Trump, the destruction of our democracy is on them - Heather "Digby" Parton 

Ever since Watergate, Democrats have been accomplices in the degradation of democracy. That has to stop now

EXCERPT: I hate to say it, but the Democrats have been accomplices. Throughout this anything-goes evolution in our political culture, they have played their own brand of politics. They accuse the Republicans of being craven and unethical for enabling Donald Trump, yet when faced with scathing bill of indictment in Robert Mueller's report, they are openly calculating whether doing their duty will work to their advantage or not. They have become partners in this scheme that allows the Republicans to sink to ever greater depredations, and always seem to find a reason not to stop them.
We have reached a turning point in this ongoing crisis. If someone as obvious and inept as Trump can get away with all this, imagine what a competent authoritarian demagogue could do. Allowing Trump to just ride out his term and perhaps even win another one -- which is entirely conceivable, I'm sorry to say -- could be catastrophic. If Democrats refuse to take the risk of changing this dynamic once and for all, someone much smarter and stronger than Donald Trump is going to come along, very soon, and take advantage of the destruction of our political culture to fundamentally change our democracy in ways we will not be able to fix. At some point there will be no way to "right the ship" anymore. It will be sunk.
If Democrats don't take a stand this time, it's very likely they won't get another chance.


Impeach Donald Trump?








Obstruction of justice is a crime. The decision is clear.

Excerpts:

So, an impeachment vote in the House has, to this point, been the strongest rebuke America is willing to give a president. I can think of no president who has earned this rebuke more than the current one.

And, once a president is impeached, he is forever marked. It is a chastisement unto itself. It is the People’s House making a stand for its people.

---
I worry that inaction enshrines that idea that the American president is above America’s laws. I worry that silent acquiescence bends our democracy toward monarchy, or dictatorship.

As Thomas Paine wrote in 1776, “In America the law is king.” He continued: “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

Who will we let be king in this country, the president or the law?


April 21, 2019

Click image to enlarge
Any major change in Trump's usual behavior in reaction to being attacked, now with revelations from the Mueller report leading to the increased chance of impeachment, is diagnositcally significant and may be a prelude to an imminent dangerous psychic collapse.



Rudy is all over the morning talk shows. Here's my photoshop which speaks for itself.




Trump Retweets Message About How Happy He Is. Twitter Critics Wonder What He’s Smoking.

“Who sold Trump a bag of oregano for $60?” asks one Twitter wit.

"Quippy weed tweets aside, lots of people responding to the Scavino retweet went absolutely bonkers over the reference to Trump’s private business — limited to those who can afford a $200,000 membership fee and their guests — as the “Summer White House,” which it decidedly is not. The name alone evokes for many infuriating reminders of the “White House” of the South during the Confederacy."

Speaking of being stoned:
Excerpt:

“Bringing a fascist fuck magnet into my city is hardly comparable to television,” The Queer Crimer recently tweeted at Dickinson. “Your actions have consequences. 
The “fascist fuck magnet” attack was a reference to the Proud Boys, a far-right brawling group that Stone brings to his events. Stone has previously denied being an outright member in the group, although footage of him from a Proud Boys channel showed him participating in a low-level initiation rite. Stone did not return a request for comment. 
Richmond appears to have its own Proud Boy presence. At a Richmond event by right-wing pundit last month, a man claimed to have stabbed three anti-fascists “in self-defense.” Proud Boys in the audience cheered and shouted one of the group’s slogans. The group glorifies fighting, and its founder described “kick[ing] the crap out of an antifa” as a requirement to become a “fourth degree” Proud Boy. (The group now claims they only fight in self defense.)The “fascist fuck magnet” attack was a reference to the Proud Boys, a far-right brawling group that Stone brings to his events. Stone has previously denied being an outright member in the group, although footage of him from a Proud Boys channel showed him participating in a low-level initiation rite. Stone did not return a request for comment 
Richmond appears to have its own Proud Boy presence. At a Richmond event by right-wing pundit last month, a man claimed to have stabbed three anti-fascists “in self-defense.” Proud Boys in the audience cheered and shouted one of the group’s slogans. The group glorifies fighting, and its founder described “kick[ing] the crap out of an antifa” as a requirement to become a “fourth degree” Proud Boy. (The group now claims they only fight in self defense.)

These are the 4 times Fox News was referenced in the Mueller report — and why they make Trump look even worse

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(Politico)

  1. Did a secret computer link exist between the Trump Organization and Moscow’s Alfa Bank?
  2. Did Cambridge Analytica have ties to Russia or WikiLeaks?
  3. What was the NRA’s relationship with the Trump campaign, and with Russia?
  4. What did WikiLeaks know about the source of the stolen emails?
  5. What about the infamous video tape alleged in the Steele dossier?
Perhaps no element of the Trump-Russia scandal was as sensational as the claim, contained in an unverified dossier assembled during the campaign by former British spy Christopher Steele, that the Russians had kompromat on Trump in the former of video capturing him cavorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. 

Although the alleged tape consumed vast public attention over the past two years, Mueller mentions it only briefly. His report states that Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze texted Michael Cohen on October 30, 2016 and said: "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there’s anything else. Just so you know .... " Rtskhiladze told investigators that “tapes” referred to derogatory tapes of Trump rumored to be in the possession of the Agalarovs—a Russian-Azerbaijani family that hosted the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013.

Rtskhiladze told Mueller that he believed the tapes were fake. But for whatever reason, he didn’t tell that to Cohen, according to the report. Mueller does not draw a conclusion one way or the other. It remains unclear who might have been creating or disseminating such tapes, what their motive might have be


Back to earlier April

April 18, 2019

Hal Brown's blog late April 2019

April 20, 2019

The White House Played ‘Edelweiss’ As Mueller Report Dropped

Because Of Course it Did - anti-Nazi song from Sound of Music, the irony wasn't lost on many reporters.



Editorial: (Coments are on Daily Kos)
Why I lean towards the House impeaching Trump

Click above to see video
I am strongly leaning towards the House impeaching Trump even though the vote count in the Senate isn't there to convict. I think the House should make certain it lays out a compelling case for impeachment, one that at a small but perhaps signficant GOP members of the Senate will find hard to ignore, especially if they face a tough reelection in 2020. The House hearings will be viewed by millions, even on Fox, especially when high profile players like Mueller testify. They should if possible subpoena members of the Trump family and his White House flunkies.

We should remember that in the Senate trial members of the House act as prosecutors. The president must have his own defense attornies, and I do not think that can be Barr. I don't know if he can use the White House counsel. Even though the GOP controlled Senate sets the actual rules and they would favor the president's side, they can't change who prosecutes the case.

This would give a second bite of the apple to the Democrats as they made their case not just to the jury, that is, the members of the Senate, but to the American people. Odds are Trump won't be removed from office but his base, angry as they are over the impeachment, would vote for him no matter what. It is his losing a crucial percentage of intelligent conservatives who haven't lost their ethical compass. There's a good article about this in The Atlantic: The Mueller Report Could Alienate the Voters Republicans Need -


Psychoanalyst Howard Covitz predicts Trump's "psychic collapse" because of his unstable mind, and this article addresses his angst.

The Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst


Excerpt: ... 

Robert Mueller painted a damning picture of the Trump administration, even as he handed the president a victory on the central issue of collusion with Russia.


The Trump White House, as portrayed by Mueller, revolves around an impulsive and angry president who issues orders that underlings often defy, ignore or seek to delay
The depiction will enrage a president who fixates on the concept of strength and is hyper-sensitive about any suggestion that he is not in absolute control of his administration.
“He will be livid to see this spelled out — and it is not clear that he is always aware when his advisers are doing this,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “For someone who is already a little bit paranoid about institutional opponents, it will create even more of a sense of distrust within the White House.”
But people who have served in the Trump White House told The Hill they heard the ring of familiarity — and felt no surprise — at the depictions offered in the special counsel’s report.
“I’ve personally been on the receiving end of a Trump broadside for trying to get him not to do something nuts,” one former White House official recalled ruefully.


Excerpt:

Daily Beast
One can only imagine Putin’s delight when, a year or so into the IRA project, Trump entered the race for president and quickly gained a following. The man had a genius for discord, making Americans of all stripes feel bad about the country. Trump offered his supporters a litany of national weaknesses and failures, pledging, “I alone can fix it.” To his opponents, the leading symptom of civic decline was Trump himself.

Even better for Putin, despite the train wreck of Russia’s fortunes, Trump was an admirer. And he shared Putin’s goal of limiting the U.S. role in world affairs. It must have seemed incredible to Moscow that a candidate given to praising Putin and attacking NATO was, by the summer of 2016, on his way to the Republican presidential nomination.

As Mueller shows, Putin doubled down on his unlikely wins. The Russian military went to work hacking into the files of the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign and election offices across the country, looking for ways to help Trump along. What mayhem and discord might flow from an actual Trump presidency!

I don’t see much in Mueller’s report to convince me that emails stolen by the Russians and published through WikiLeaks actually tipped the balance in 2016. Clinton lost, in my opinion, because her campaign was a lackluster exercise in entitlement. But Putin came away the huge winner, nonetheless, thanks to the deep-seated insecurity of the new president. by 

The Mueller Report Could Alienate the Voters Republicans Need The special counsel’s findings validate the concerns of anyone who feared how Donald Trump would wield presidential power. From The Atlantic


Slate
Conclusion: The Mueller report may not dislodge significant elements of Trump’s electoral coalition, some of whom thrill to his behavior and others who accept it in the same implicit bargain as do Republicans in Congress. But it seems highly likely to reinforce the doubts of the nearly 55 percent of Americans who expressed unease, if not outright revulsion, about him as president through their votes for other candidates in the 2016 election and for Democrats in the 2018 House races.

In 2016, many of Trump’s voters, uncertain of him but desiring change and dubious of Hillary Clinton, consciously took a flier: According to exit polls, about one-fifth of his supporters said they doubted that he had the experience to succeed as president, and about one-fourth said they doubted that he had the temperament. (Those numbers were even higher among ambivalent college-educated white voters.) Especially after the brutal bill of particulars that Mueller identified about Trump’s behavior, those voters now face a reckoning on their choice. No member of Congress, no potential executive-branch appointee, and, above all, no voter can claim any illusions about what a Trump second term might look like, especially if enabled by a Congress fully controlled again by Republicans.
Mueller sent many signals in his report that, given his own legal constraints, he expected Congress to assume responsibility for imposing accountability for Trump’s behavior. But his report also shows the limits of relying solely on courts and prosecutors to uphold the rule of law, or to defend basic standards of morality, in government. After Mueller’s detailed catalog of Trump’s unacceptable, if not indictable, behavior, that responsibility more clearly than ever rests with voters.


My comment: Trump won't be happy until we're in the black.


April 19, 2019
Click to enlarge


Click here for story: the first
 two 2020 candidates say impeach

Trump facing ‘psychic collapse’ after Mueller’s report puts more pressure on his unstable mind: Psychoanalyst Howard Covitz - (Covitz and I are co-administrators of a Facebook therapists group devoted to discussing Trump, and have been distant friends since this all started.)


 The next days and weeks should clarify which of these paths he chooses and how much and what kind of violence he chooses to promote. It is impossible to precisely predict the future actions of someone who apparently lives under the belief that après moi le deluge.
These are, in my estimation, the most dangerous times thus far in Trump’s presidency … Dangerous for the republic with dangers for the world and dangerous for my grandchildren.

Excerpts
Raw Story: How did you come, as a psychoanalyst to enter public discussion about a public figure? Isn’t there a rule against professionals speaking in psychiatric terms about public figures?

Howard H. Covitz: I am a staunch advocate of that rule in all situations when there is no risk of catastrophic danger to others. I have chosen to speak out because a man was elected President (and given unimaginable powers to do good and evil) who shows the signs of those people who are prone to doing others harm.

For him, if I take his words seriously, life is a zero-sum game, and he must win all the time. The Psalmist said not about Trump but about the God that so many of his followers devoutly worship: “To God belongs the Earth and all that it contains” (Psalm 24). That’s not the way God-complex Trump sees it…. Furthermore, I must say, that any armed person who is not President and who is doing and saying what Donald Trump says often and openly would be whisked off by the gendarmes to a psychiatric facility for testing.
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He is being portrayed in the report as one who can be controlled – the Emperor, in the report, does indeed have small hands, so to speak. How someone like he will be able to integrate the public shaming that this brings forth for him is not predictable but should be a source for grave concern.
That having been said and, again, assuming again that his pathological behaviors are not all a show, we may presume either an increase in these disturbing behaviors (pulling out of NATO, declaring national emergencies for whatever he chooses to do, ramping up tensions with Iran, using the full-force of the executive branch to leash friends and whip foes, … ), or a psychic collapse.
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William Barr couldn’t save them. In 448 pages, a deeply corrupt West Wing culture was revealed. And the real time bomb, says a Trumpworld insider, “is the S.D.N.Y.” --- A former West Wing official made a more prosaic case. “Trump stinks,” the person said. “The report gives everyone a better whiff of the odor.” Vanity Fair


I wonder if one of the members of the private Facebook group just for therapists which I am a member of is really a Russian psychologist working on Trump's profile. McLaughlin said he knows they must be pouring o the Mueller report. He thinks they must be especially concerned about why Trump's subordinates didn't follow his orders.

Welcome to the Fourth Reich: Donald Trump's assault on the rule of law will not end well - Chauncey DeVega


EXCERPTS: Donald Trump is not an ideologue or a person who possesses a coherent or sophisticated understanding of political theory, history or philosophy. He is all impulse and id, a man gifted in manipulating the fears of ignorant and insecure white people in the service of expanding his power and his fortune. Trump's enforcers, including Attorney General William Barr, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and the right-wing media machine, are then tasked with transforming the president's most base impulses into public policy.

As we have seen throughout Trump's presidency -- and as we see now in Robert Mueller's report, with its extensive litany of borderline corruption and its numerous instances of blatant obstruction of justice -- the president and his allies disregard the law whenever it is inconvenient, and enforce it with callous cruelty when it serves their goals.

This strategic arbitrariness weakens and delegitimizes the rule of law until, at some point, it can be totally rejected and dispensed with. The Trump administration's ultimate goal is a "permanent state of exception" in the service of racial authoritarianism.

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The myth of American Exceptionalism will not save American democracy or its citizens from Trump's machinations and the global dystopia his agents are so feverishly working to create. In 1935, Sinclair wrote his famous novel "It Can't Happen Here" about the rise of authoritarianism and fascism in the United States. His warning was eight decades prescient about the Age of Trump. But unfortunately Sinclair's question is being asked too late, the tragedy is already unfolding and the answer is a plain and clear "yes". William Barr's distorted version of the Mueller Report is all just scribbling on the epithet of America's democracy and empire. The American people decided to be bystanders to their own history and destiny. This is very pathetic. It is also the truth and a tragedy.


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The conservative publication The Bulwark was unsparing in its criticism of the president’s actions revealed by the Mueller probe, arguing that “The Mueller report reads like the indictment of a mob boss, not an investigation of a president.” Read here.


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‘It’s as if he failed an Alzheimer’s competency test’: Chris Matthews says of Trump’s written responses

I think these are mutually exclusive. Either Trump is a bald-faced liar or he has full-blown Alzheimer's. I think there's a good case for pre-dementia, but not outright la-la-land dementia. HB


April 18, 2019




Somebody who is much better at photoshop than I am made this:




Click image to enlarge. You can see that the
 new photoshop has some flaws but I think
you will get the message. 
Most photos of Barr show him grinning or scowlingI had to find this photo of Barr and erase the microphone in front of his face.
I put this on Twitter: (130 people have seen it 😋)


N. Korea: Secretary Of State Should Be Replaced In Talks By Someone More ‘Mature’

“I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled,” (senior foreign ministry official) Kwon said.
“Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialog with the United States, I wish our dialog counterpart would be not Pompeo but other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”
Being talked about on MSNBC: 

Trump Tells Aides: ‘Keep an Eye’ on Fox News, Make Sure It Stays Loyal to Me Daily Beast


On a "lighter" note, you can get high
before you die if you eat this burger.
It was late March, and Donald Trump was preoccupied with the swirl of new investigations launched by House Democrats against him and his inner sanctum, and with the coming delivery of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report on Russian election meddling and Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.
In the midst of all this, there was another question weighing heavily on the president’s mind: Was Fox News, his favorite organ of conservative media and pro-Trump messaging, being sufficiently subservient to him?
“Keep an eye on it,” Trump started telling aides, according to two people with direct knowledge of his directive, in conversations about what was going on behind-the-scenes at Fox, and if there was any cause for concern for even the slightest positive coverage of any Democrat.
To any casual observer of Fox News or the Fox Business Network, this might seem like a hilariously irrational fear. The networks’ ratings-driving primetime lineups are jam-packed with vociferous Trump defenders, and some of Fox’s biggest names—such as Pete Hegseth, Sean HannityLou Dobbs, Rupert Murdoch, to name just a few—have long served as sounding boards, phone-a-friends, and informal advisors to the president.
But privately, President Trump had been raising these questions of institutional loyalty, on-and-off, since at least the middle of last year. Several people who’ve heard him do this view it as more of a gutcheck than a loss of faith, and as yet another indication that Trump can interpret even the smallest deviations as a slight or a betrayal.


April 17, 2019

I have high hopes that if not tomorrow, in the next two or three weeks Trump and his protector won’t be standing in front of a bed of roses. Instead I hope they are standing disgraced and humilated, exposed as the inept corrupt clowns they are in front of a pile of steaming manure.




April 16, 2019 
The number is up to 29,000 more than the population of nearby towns like Tulatin and West Linn.

Click images to enlarge
High flying Trump and the Coulson Next Gen Airtanker fire fighting plane. Up, Up, and Away - PLEASE.
I put this on Twitter

Read about the airplane here.

The first and last tweets are batshit cray-cray! He wishes the Bernie audience wasn’t smiley and nice? And, BTW aasswipoe, the Russia story is BIGGER than Watergate but not for the reason you want it to be.



Morons!
Excerpt: So another norm of public decency falls, like a historical building demolished to make way for one of Donald Trump’s tasteless towers. 
When the president of the United States goes after an American Muslim — in this case Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the United States as a Somali refugee — using images of the 9/11 attacks, it is cruel, frightening and dangerous in new ways.

It is cruel because Trump essentially delivered his political rant while standing on desecrated graves. The images he employed not only included burning buildings but burning human beings, drafted into a sad and sordid political ploy. Is nothing sacred to Trump? When said aloud, the question sounds like an absurdity. Trump has never given the slightest indication of propriety, respect or reverence. His narcissism leaves no room to honor other people or to honor other gods. Both the living and the dead matter only as servants to the cause of Trump himself.

Best Bernie quote from his Fox News town hall:

Sanders was pressed on whether he’d personally volunteer the higher tax burden he’s proposing on top earners. This is a dopey conservative attack, and the answer is easy: The wealthy as a class must pay higher rates as an institutional matter, and by proposing this change, Sanders is of course including himself in the ranks of those who would pay more. There will be time to get this answer right.
This testiness aside, Sanders offered another good response, telling the Fox moderators: “Why don’t you get Donald Trump up here and ask him how much he paid in taxes?”

April 15, 2019




Trump schooled French fire fighters in how to best handle the conflagration at Notre Dame. Sorry Donald, French experts thought of the water drop (duh, like they wouldn't) and say it could collapse the rest of building. I am sure they appreciate your unsolicited advice.





SICK: 

Trump Spent His Sunday Night Hate-Watching Nancy Pelosi’s ‘60 Minutes’ Interview