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January 14, 2019

Hal Brown blog January-2019b

Back: Jan. 1-7, 2019

This blog contains links to my almost 100 Capitol Hill Blue (CHB) columns plus selected news items of the day. 

Jan. 19, 2019

I noted that HUFFPOST had an unusal image (for them) for their main story, the roller coaster showing a decidely unfrightening roller coaster, but the headline said "DC Upside Down" but the roller coaster was upside-up... I wondered why they couldn't find a photo with an upside down roller coaster...took me 10 minutes.

Blog News

This caught my eye today. I use my blog to link to my Capitol Hill Blue Columns (almost 100 to date) and before that my more than 600 Daily Kos posts. I also post links to a few articles I think you'd be interested in. Last year the foreign country which had the most readers was Russia, with sources showing IP addresss and 3-4 private servers. They have disappeared. Today there were more logons from the Netherlands than even the United States. There was also a record number of logons for one hour. See images:

Jan. 18, 2019

Below, this is not my idea. Someone in a NY Times story comment suggested it. I just tweeted it.

Romney: Another rubber stamp, Trump enabler? by Hal Brown, CHB columnist

Jan. 17, 2019

CHB story: 
Trump's deadly and dangerous disease threatens us all, by Hal Brown

Tucker Carlson Gets Hilariously Owned By His Own On-Screen Graphics

Jan. 16, 2019

Hamberders by any other news & more chilling news, by Hal Brown

In the News

Believable: Dem rep: Trump pulling US from NATO would be grounds for impeachment


Un(Tucken)believable: 'So Our Kids Get to Die' For Baltic States?: Tucker 

By Allan Lichtman distinguished professor of history at American University.
If Trump is found to have committed felonies on behalf of the Russians, Pence would likely be implicated as well, even if he was not involved directly. One has to assume that Pence is either the most out of touch politician, or that he was at least aware of the betrayal. Remember, it was Pence who, as head of the Trump transition team, backed the hiring of Michael Flynn as national security adviser. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates at the time had warned the White House that federal officials believed that Flynn was “compromised with respect to the Russians.”
If there is evidence of Trump selling out to the Russians, and Pence took any part in covering it up, then the vice president could also be found guilty of an impeachable crime or the concealment of a felony. The United States Code clearly provides that an individual “having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years.”
If Trump and Pence are swept away by conviction or resignation, then Pelosi becomes president under the law. Under the 25th Amendment, and with the consent of Congress, she can then appoint a vice president of choosing, just as Richard Nixon appointed Gerald Ford after Spiro Agnew pleaded guilty to tax evasion and resigned. This is how, in the great irony of ironies, Nancy Pelosi could become president of the United States.
(My thought is that we would probably end up having a new vice president who was acceptable to Republicans because the appointment requires Congrssional approval.)

and what a wonderful bigoted team President Pence and First Lady Karen Pence would be if Trump was gone and he was president:

Karen Pence Is Working At A School That Bans LGBTQ Employees And Kids 

Meanwhile Nancy stuck it hard and sharp to the egomanical president who was champing at the bit to regale the nation with another prime-time nothing burger (that's spelled burger)

Dear Mr. President (ILLUSTRATED with drawings by DonkeyHotey):

On January 3rd, it was my privilege as Speaker to invite you to deliver the State of the Union address on January 29th. The Constitution calls for the President to “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.

In September 2018, Secretary Nielsen designated State of the Union Addresses as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), recognizing the need for “the full resources of the Federal Government to be brought to bear” to ensure the security of these events. The extraordinary demands presented by NSSEs require weeks of detailed planning with dozens of agencies working together to prepare for the safety of all participants.

The U.S. Secret Service was designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for National Special Security Events by Public Law 106-544, December 19, 2000. However, both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now — with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.

Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Speaker of the House


Jan. 15, 2019

                                                    Story Number Two                                                                   

Burger King mocks Trump for misspelling ‘hamburgers’ in incoherent early-morning tweet: "hamberders"

Jan. 14, 2019
Evening Breaking News:

Two federal judges just blocked Trump’s rollback of Obamacare’s birth control mandate

Afternoon Breaking News: 

Leaked: Transcripts reveal Congress and FBI feared Trump fired Comey ‘at the behest’ of Russia

CNN has obtained a series of transcripts of closed-door meetings between members of Congress and FBI officials that reveal the FBI feared that Trump could have fired the bureau’s former director “at the behest of the Russian government.”

Tainted Republicans Johnson and McCarthy and others seem to have concluded is that Trump probably did commit treason, but they don't give a rat's ass and they will twist logic and make excuses for him as long as it suits their purposes.

‘Clinical sociopath’ Trump’s ‘mental illness’ helps him lie to people: business reporter


“I have known Donald Trump since 1987,” (Kurt) Eichenwald wrote. “Like everyone else who knows him well, before he became a politician, I know he is liar, a narcissist, and eventually I knew he was mentally ill. At that time, he professed to be a democrat. This had nothing to do with politics.”
Eichenwald remembered pitching an editor a story after Trump lied about a stock trade.
“The editor did not even look up from his computer and said the words I remember to this day: ‘Dog [bites] man. Donald Trump lies,'” Eichenwald said. “In other words, everyone in the financial world KNEW Trump was a pathological liar, in 1987. Proving it was like proving the sun rose in the morning.”
------ A person who did business with Trump over the years told me in 2016, "If you asked him, Donald would tell you I'm his best friend." This struck me as odd, so I said, "And what would you say HE is?" A pause, then the man replied: "A clinical sociopath."

Trump’s downfall is all but certain because his tantrums follow this predictable historical pattern - History News Network

Excerpt: Such is the primordial narrative: an ineffectual and reactionary leader makes attempts at increasingly more power which triggers a crisis that leads to his downfall while presenting the opportunity for unprecedented, radical political change from the opposition. Had (King) Charles been less vainglorious, perhaps the civil wars could have been avoided, but he was and as a result what ultimately presented itself was the possibility of something far more daring than mere incremental change. The same template is in evidence during the American Revolution. Had moderate voices like Prime Minister William Pitt been heeded, had George III been less intemperate regarding the imposition of the Intolerable Acts, than perhaps America would still simply be part of the British Empire. As it was, the hardening of George’s position allowed for the introduction into the world of the radical democratic philosophy which defined the American Revolution, and which flowered during the Articles of Confederation when many states adopted shockingly egalitarian constitutions. Similarly, on the eve of the American Civil War, most northerners were not abolitionists, yet increasing belligerence from the Southern slave-owning class, in the form of the Missouri Compromise and especially the Fugitive Slave Act, rapidly radicalized the northern population. In the years following the Civil War there was radical possibility in Reconstruction, when true democratic principles were installed in southern states for the first time.

We’ve already seen the arrival of new radical possibilities in opposition to the reactionary leader. Does anyone credibly think that we’d have elected several Democratic Socialists were it not for Trump? Does anyone believe that we’d finally be able to consider policy proposals like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and the restitution of a proper marginal tax rate, had it not been for the rightful frustration and anger at the reactionary Republican agenda? Suddenly the Democrats are suggesting actual ideas and not just the furtherance of the collapsing neo-liberal consensus; suddenly it seems as if actual change might be possible. In this sense, Trump has ironically accomplished something that the Democrats themselves haven’t been able to do – he’s pushed them to the left.

Jan. 13, 2019

Jan. 12, 2019


Jan. 11, 2019

Message to Mitch McConnell: You bought him, you own him



How Robert Mueller Can Write a Report the Justice Department Cannot Suppress 
By Benjamin Wittes
  Thursday, January 10, 2019, 6:13 PM

There are too many juicy paragraphs from this article to quote all the good ones. Here are three: My meeting with Trump: A damaged, pathetic personality — whose obvious impairment has only gotten worse

Trump talked very rapidly and virtually nonstop for nearly an hour; not of my campaign or even of politics, but only of himself, and almost always in the third person. He’d given himself a nickname: “the Trumpster,” as in “everybody wants to know what the Trumpster’s gonna do,” a claim he made more than once.
He mostly told stories. Some were about his business deals; others about trips he’d taken or things he owned. All were unrelated to the alleged point of our meeting, and to one another. That he seldom even attempted segues made each tale seem more disconnected from reality than the last. It was funny at first, then pathetic, and finally deeply unsettling.
On the drive home, we all burst out laughing, then grew quiet. What the hell just happened? My first theory, that Trump was high on cocaine, didn’t feel quite right, but he was clearly emotionally impaired: in constant need of approbation; lacking impulse control, self-awareness or awareness of others. We’d heard tales of his monumental vanity, but were still shocked by the sad spectacle of him.

Chuck Rosenberg Can Mueller indict Trump under seal to avoid the statute of limitations expiring while the president's still in office?

Who knew? We know that Pence and Betsy DeVos are fundamentalist evangelicals. This is troubling if Pence becomes president, but right now we have a bigger problem with the Secretary of State (from AlterNet)

One of the less-noticed influencers is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Presbyterian who once defined his view of the world as “a never-ending struggle … until the rapture” in a speech at a Wichita megachurch. As America’s top diplomat, he more than anyone else brings these views into the foreign policy sphere — and as an analysis by The Guardian shows, that has profound consequences:
For many US evangelical Christians, one of the key preconditions for [the rapture] is the gathering of the world’s Jews in a greater Israel between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. It is a belief, known as premillenial dispensationalism or Christian Zionism – and it has very real potential consequences for
US foreign policy.

It directly colours views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and indirectly, attitudes towards Iran, broader Middle East geopolitics and the primacy of protecting Christian minorities. In his Cairo visit, Pompeo heaped praise on Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for building the new cathedral, but made no reference to the 60,000 political prisoners the regime is thought to be holding, or its routine use of torture.

Jan. 10, 2019

Jan. 9, 2019

Jan. 8, 2019

Trump’s border wall

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree: 

Donald Trump Jr. Says Border Wall Is Like A Zoo Fence Protecting You From Animals

Jan. 8, 2019


How Pelosi's 'No Wall' Triggers Trump's Dangerous Narcissism - Forbes

EXCERPT: Speaker Pelosi speaks her truth with all the institutional and personal power of a woman proud to have reclaimed her gavel. While saying yes to border security and yes to immigration reform, she’s very clear that Trump can’t have his wall. No means no. The wall is, as she says, an “immorality.” She’s even said that demands for the wall are “like a manhood thing with him — as if manhood can be associated with him.” But he refuses to accept her no. There's to be no compromise. Why? Well, he can't agree to open the government because, as he's been quoted saying, "I would look foolish if I did that." He comes first, before country or even party. Rather than looking for an agreement he's governing like a pathological narcissist, as well as being someone who does indeed have a self-described and documented history of being a sexual predator. That should not be forgotten. Character is everything. 
With any other president this would not be an issue. But with Trump it is. Whether he has a diagnosable personality disorder or he has cynically adopted his own version of Roger Stone’s Stone’s Rules as his style leads to the same conclusion; pathological narcissism is his model for leadership. At the core is knowing that one lie or instance of plundering is a scandal. But thousands of them are a different story. They are merely statistics to be ignored. It really doesn’t matter if he’s sick or strategic because President Trump has been racking up huge numbers of both.

One central part of this pathologically narcissistic leadership style is that he always has to see others seeing him as exceptional. A great example is the way he continually repeats lies about winning the “greatest election of all time." He will distort whatever reality there is that interferes with getting others to see him as exceptional, like denying the fact he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes—to a woman no less. 

Back: Jan. 1-7, 2019