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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.


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

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.

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.
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.

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.


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.


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.


‘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.

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.


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

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