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October 19, 2018

Hal Brown October, 2018c

Back earlier in October: 

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Oct. 31, 2018
Same story:

Oct. 30, 2018

Literally tone deaf:

On Saturday, hours after a gunman burst into Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed 11 in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, President Trump was scheduled to appear at a convention in Indiana to address a group of student farmers.
While they waited for Trump to take the stage, the crowd danced to a playlist of upbeat music, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.
Now Williams, a popular recording artist, is threatening to take legal action for the use of his song.

Oct. 29, 2018


CNN's Jim Acosta rattles Sarah Sanders: ‘Shouldn’t you have the guts to state which outlets are the enemy of the people?’


Trump Makes a Run for the Border

The president really wants troops to stop the caravan. But there’s not much for them to do.

Reports that President Donald Trump wants to send 5,000 more troops to the Southern border, at first, come as a shock. It’s a startlingly high number. To put it in perspective, NATO recently deployed 4,500 troops in the Baltic nations to deter and repel a Russian tank assault. How many troops could possibly be needed to stave off an unarmed caravan of refugees walking up through Mexico—even if, as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence maintain, with no evidence, “Middle Eastern” terrorists are hiding in their midst?
These capabilities are not the stuff of combat brigades. In a Monday morning tweet about the caravan, Trump warned, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” But the troops—however many they amount to—won’t be waiting with machine guns and artillery rockets. Rather, according to a Pentagon statement based on the DHS request, they will be providing support to the 16,000-plus Customs and Border Protection forces. “Support” is defined as engineers (for temporary barriers, barricades, and fencing), helicopters and planes (to move CBP personnel around), medical teams, command and control, temporary housing, and personal protective equipment.

Oct. 28, 2018
Yesterday's Daily Kos story republished here:

Oct. 27, 2018
Oct. 26, 2018

After rejecting a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security to enlist the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to set up migrant camps in Mexico, Bolton shared his thoughts directly with a like-minded Donald Trump, cutting out Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, those officials tell The Daily Beast. Read the story here

After the arrest in Florida, Trump’s guilt is clearer than ever: But will anything change? Salon, Accused bomber appears to be a Trump fan and right-wing zealot, but of course the president will claim innocence



Fox blames Democrats, Cher for violence in bizarre evening of programming — even by Fox standards

Today an updated version of my Daily Kos story from yesterday was the top front-page story on Capitol Hill Blue:

Trump's Tweets tell us that he is becoming more and more unhinged. He can't stop calling a TV station which had a bomb sent to it by a disparaging name. 
Then he wakes up presumably after sleeping five or so hours and Tweets the following at 6:00 AM:
Oct. 25, 2018

I thought this would happen, as reported in The Washington Post: The instant, inevitable cries of ‘false flag’ after bomb threats targeting the Clintons, Obamas and CNN 
The problem with this conspiracy theory is that it will be easily debunked when the bomber is caught and found out to be a far right lunatic who was inspired by Trump's rhetoric.

Excerpt: But John Cardillo, a right-wing media personality, was already tweeting out his suspicions.

“Investigators need to take a serious look at far left groups like #Antifa when investigating the bombs sent to Soros, Obama, and the Clintons,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “These smell like the false flag tactics of unhinged leftists who know they’re losing.”

Cardillo wasn’t alone. Bill Mitchell, a pro-Trump Twitter mainstay and radio host, was also convinced that the real target of the potential explosive devices was the political power of Republicans.

“These ‘explosive packages’ being sent to the #Media and high profile Democrats has Soros astro-turfing written all over it so the media can paint the #GOP as ‘the dangerous mob.’ Pure BS.” Mitchell wrote. His tweet, which is still live on Twitter, has more than 2,000 retweets.

Oct. 24, 2018
Oct. 23, 2018

Deplorable ordinary people who happen to be hate filled Republicans

Sherrie Tood is the South Carolina Republican school board member for writing on Facebook that she intends to falsely accuse the eventual 2020 Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her.

In another airplane incident David Lawrence called a woman an “ugly black bastard” as well as shouting “don’t talk to me in a f*cking foreign language, you stupid, ugly cow.”

Mark Ferrari is the man who stormed onto a school bus scraing kids as he yelled ethnic slurs at the hispanic bus driver. 

Alfred Vela grabbed a woman's breast on an airplane explaining to law enforcment that he had a right to do this because the president said it was okay.

Oct. 22, 2018

Below, my story is on the top of Capitol Hill Blue. There were 150 comments in response on Daily Kos.

According to Trump the Democrats want to turn us into Venezuela, he wants to turn us into Russia

Dollars to donuts most of Trump’s MAGA masses have little if any idea what’s going on in Venezuela and would be unable to locate it on a map. That’s good since it makes for a lousy slogan with no resonance. Trump would do better sticking with his crowd-pleasing alliteration "Kavanaugh and caravans" when he's trying to demonize Democrats.

Trump’s attempts to use the label “socialist” as a fright-inducing word paled in comparison to the way the word communism used to be thrown around by Republicans. Currently, he seems to be substituting “Venezuela.” It rings hollow because his supporters have little idea what it means. 
I rather doubt Trump knew much about the crisis in Venezuela until he had to learn the basics so he could talk about it at the United Nations.

Newsweek had a good summary of the crisis in this socialist country and what Trump wanted to do about it. 

If the MAGA Hatters were quizzed about which country Hugo Chávez had been the leader of my hunch is few would say Venezuela. Yesterday the conservative National Review had an article about him: Whitewashing the Record of Hugo Chávez. It is a counterpoint to the Oct. 17 New York Times OpEd “ A Tale of Three Presidents: Nicolás Maduro and Donald Trump have an authoritarian bent, as did Hugo Chávez, but the Chávez I knew also believed in social justice, equality and fundamental freedoms.”

The point of this brief essay is made in my title. Trump wants us to be a dictatorship and an oligarchy where the press is government controlled and dissent is punished. He just doesn’t admire Putin. He wishes he was the president of a country like Russia.

Oct. 21, 2018

Today's Daily Kos story made their recommended list. I'd prefer stories that I work on for a long time which are really my opinion columns get recommended, however, I am not quibbling.

Just so you know:  In case the Supreme Court makes abortion illegal or almost impossible, there is a way for women to get safe and legal abortions.

I didn't know this about how Mitch McConnell avoided being sent to Vietnam:
from Blue Grass Politics, 2008

Questions about McConnell’s military service have popped up toward the end of each of his last three campaigns. McConnell has previously allowed reporters to view some of his military records, but he has never allowed anyone to copy
the documents.
Based on records the Herald-Leader has obtained from the National Archives and the University of Kentucky, a bare outline emerges.
McConnell was a 25-year-old University of Kentucky law student with political aspirations in spring 1967, during the Vietnam War.
As his graduation neared, making him eligible for the draft, McConnell secured a coveted post in the U.S. Army Reserve, which President Lyndon Johnson kept out of combat for most of his administration. McConnell enlisted March 21, 1967, and then returned to UK to finish law school.
Private McConnell spent little time in uniform. He won a discharge from the Reserve after five weeks of active duty. He trained at Fort Knox from July 9 to Aug. 15, 1967.
McConnell’s discharge came five days after U.S. Sen. John Sherman Cooper, R-Ky., for whom he had worked as an intern, sent a letter to the two-star general in command of Fort Knox.
Cooper informed Maj. Gen. A.D. Surles that McConnell expected to be released on a medical discharge because of optic neuritis, a painful eye condition that is treated by steroids. The young man’s papers seemed to be stalled somewhere on base, evidently with a “Specialist Hummer,” and needed to be forwarded, Cooper wrote.
“Mitchell anxious to clear post in order to enroll NYU,” the senator told the general on Aug. 10, 1967. “Please advise when final action can be expected.”
Lifestyle: Things your grandchildren know about but you don’t

Oct. 20, 2018

Quote of the day: “They must have thought they could somehow get away with it (killing Khashoggi) because the Trump administration wouldn’t hold them to account,” former head of British MI-6 Sawers said. From HuffPost

Oct. 19, 2018

House Intel Dem claims Jared Kushner may have given Saudis an assassination ‘enemies list’

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) on Friday shocked CNN’s Poppy Harlow when he said that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner may have slipped U.S. intelligence to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman that led to the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Let me get to the point that is most disturbing right now,” Castro said. “The reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince may have acted on that, and one of the people he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi.”
Oct. 18, 2018

Oct. 17, 2018 (Yesterday's Daily Kos article about Elizabeth Warren and the Cherokee Nation was also published on Capitol Hill Blue.)

Let’s Get Donald and Stormy Back Together Again! (Politico - It's positively Shakespearean)

The sexual sparring between rom-com lovers Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels—previously bottled up in court—ripped open like an overflowing bodice this morning on Twitter as the president called his former lover “Horseface” and she shot back within minutes, calling him a hater of women, a devotee of bestiality and, most cruelly, “Tiny.” 

They’re hopelessly in love, aren’t they? 

The antecedent of this bickering, insulting relationship between a seemingly unsuited pair of lovers is the story of Beatrice and Benedick from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

American public might never see final Mueller report on Russian election interference - ABC News) here's the bottom line“Rosenstein could, right now, tell Congress (or even a small group of members, with appropriate safeguards, including secrecy) what has happened — what Mueller has learned so far, whether Rosenstein has ever said “no” to Mueller and where the investigation is headed now,” he wrote in the Washington Post. “Such a move would be unusual, to say the least. But it is a way for Rosenstein to safeguard his legacy. And it could also safeguard the very principle that no one is above the law. Not even the president — and not even this president.”

Oct. 16, 2018 
83 comments on Daily Kos

Not a big surprise: at his core, Lindsay Graham is a bigot.

Oregon residents know what Gov. Kate Brown means when she talks about the plans for "the big one." Here they are.

Oct. 15, 2018
Click images to enlarge
This painting is in the background of the photo with Trump and Leslie Stahl. The latest addition to the White House is a painting called “The Republican Club,” by artist Andy Thomas which depicts President Donald Trump hanging out with Republican presidents of the past. The painting shows Trump seated between Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, directly across from Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan. Both Bushes are also shown. The painting could be seen in the background of a photo tweeted by 60 Minutes, which aired an interview with Trump last night.

Oct. 14, 2018
This story was also published on Capitol Hill Blue: 

 From Slate: There’s really only so much anyone can do to make one of Kanye West’s political monologues weirder, but Chris Redd—who was not a fan of West’s SNL stunt—gives it his all. Still, the usual SNL cold open tactic of exaggerating and caricaturing one of the week’s events is more or less useless here, because West, like Trump, was already at eleven.

The title of this undated photo (see Feb. 2018 article) should be "Fashion Model Leading Doddering Grandfather Up a Flight of Stairs"

Excerpt from this long article:

But in the Freudian view, the success of the Trumpian con should point us to our archaic heritage – and indeed the past to which Trumpism aspires lies much deeper than the mid-20th century, or whatever period those red hats are referring to. Trump promises more than the restoration of white men to their rightful place at the top of the org chart. He promises to make the world comprehensible again without the intercession of pointy-headed elites and the nagging of social justice warriors. He urges us all to shake loose the surly bonds of civilised conduct: to make science irrelevant and rationality optional, to render truth obsolete, to set power free to roam the world, to lift all the core conditions written into the social contract – fealty to reason, scepticism about instincts, aspirations to justice. We then, at last, will be restored to the primordial American state of nature – free to consume, to pillage, to destroy, to wall out our neighbours and to hate people for living in shitholes.
Trump indeed does more than promise: with his profligate lies, his proud immorality, his sneering disdain for fairness, his disregard for consistency or any other kind of integrity, he embodies those promises. He is the anti-Aufklärer, and his deepest appeal lies in an unspoken promise that lies behind the others: to undo the Enlightenment, to free us from the burdens of living rationally in a world where nothing is settled and where everything – economic well-being, national borders, gender identities, domestic arrangements – is up for grabs, let the strongest prevail.
If the machine guns and mustard gas of the first world war revealed to Freud the fragility of what had seemed solid, the election of Trump reveals its decrepitude, if not its collapse. Without a single shot, with hardly any sort of sustained violent break at all, in a collective ejaculation of rage and resentment, a near-majority of the electorate went with its gut and rejected not a candidate or a party but an ethos shaped over five centuries, of which Freud was an acolyte and the odd profession he spawned an apotheosis. They rose up against the demand imposed by modernity – that we use reason to figure things out for ourselves – and replaced it not with the old rules, but with impulse itself, with the vengeance and cruelty and rage that Trump so brilliantly embodies. Freud’s answer, that we find our limits only when we recognise just how badly we need them, was insufficient, and its transvalued version even more so. As John Adams recognised in noting the way that democracy “wastes, exhausts and murders itself”, individuals may conquer themselves but “nations and large bodies of men, never”.

"His ardent support for this amoral man betrayed the values that we hold as Republicans and as Christians."


“When Donald Trump was elected president, I wondered what had happened to my party. He was filthy, the opposite of everything that I was taught to strive for. His name was on strip clubs in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. He openly bragged about taking sexual advantage of women,” he wrote. “As a boy, I looked up in reverence to the men who stood on stage at the Promise Keepers conventions, preaching about living with integrity. They talked about being unselfish, sacrificing yourself for others, keeping promises at all costs. To see a president so out of sync with these values was jarring. Weren’t we the Moral Majority?”
Shinn then recalled when he first moved into Nunes’ district.
“I was proud to be represented by him,” he explained. “He was a farmer, one of the salt-of-the-earth people I could trust to carry out my commonsense Republican values. His influence grew and his family stopped farming in California, but I was proud to see him listed on Time’s Most Influential 40-Under-40 list of politicians to watch. He said then that the Founding Fathers were his political heroes, and I applauded. I voted for him in every election.”
“But Devin Nunes’s behavior became bizarre and erratic after President Trump’s election. His ardent support for this amoral man betrayed the values that we hold as Republicans and as Christians,” he charged. “He seemed to be possessed, serving a new master who neither knew about nor cared about the value of integrity or the ideas that Nunes’ former heroes Madison and Jefferson enshrined in our founding documents. When he followed President Trump into attacks on the free press, I saw the once-valued fourth estate under attack. Those who aspire to integrity encourage the accountability of the press. Those with something to hide attack it.”
According to the Republican, he is done with Nunes forever and said he will vote for Democratic nominee Andrew Janz in November.

Fox News host rages at SNL skit of Kanye and Trump: ‘If you support the president, you are either crazy or racist’

Are more Americans getting dumber or have they be Trumpified? Read: CBS sees surge in US Flat Earthers who say there’s no rover on Mars: ‘Most people think we’re idiots

Along the same lines, how gullible does one have to be to think a supplement can increase IQ by 70-100%? Trump Battles the FDA Over Carson’s Breakthrough Discovery! Says “This WILL NOT Be Banned, The American People Have a Right To Have Access To This” There's nothing in the article about Trump or the FDA, though Bill O'Reilly's endorsement is featured. Of course, promotions for brain supplements like this are rife with lies and fake promotions, even from Stephen Hawking, as this article points out.

Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai: It’s ‘very confusing’ trying to figure out who Trump listens to on trade - WaPo 


“Are you clear who President Trump listens to on trade issues, whether it’s moderates like Kudlow and Mnuchin or hard-liners like Navarro?” (on Fox News) host Chris Wallace asked, referring to White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Cui replied: “You tell me.”

“Honestly, I’ve been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem,” Cui continued. “They don’t know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably the president will take the final decision. But who is playing what role? Sometimes, it could be very confusing.”

Oct. 13, 2018: 

All about Kanye West: Would it matter to GOP women if they knew who he really was? My Daily Kos article.

Click image to enlarge

I am honored and pleased to announce that Capitol Hill Blue (the oldest political website) will be republishing some of my Daily Kos stories. A number of years ago I wrote a weekly political column for them and became long-distance friends with the founder of the venerable website Doug Thompson. He is no longer actively running the website but has arranged for the editors to keep up on my stories and republish those they think fit their focus. They just published my Beto O'Rourke story as their top of the page story.

Back earlier in October: