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October 1, 2019

Hal Brown blog Oct. 1 to -- 2019




Oct. 15, 2019
This story made the Daily Kos recommended list, unusual since it only took 30 people to recommend it. I have since change the picture to a more visible thumbnail for the main page. Those who are registered on Kos can recommend a story and as long as it is on that list it stays on the front page. Otherwise it stays under "recent stories" and eventually disappears.

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Jeff Clawson: Forget impeachment. This president needs the 25th Amendment.

Jeff ClawsonM.D., is medical director of the Division of Research, Standards and Academics at the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, Salt Lake City. 

Excerpts:
  • It may be reasonably and clinically possible that he has FTD (Frontotemporal Dementia) which is the front-brain equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease, that results in an increasing lack of verbal and emotional control, including expressions and simple judgments we would all expect from a mentally capable person in such a profoundly responsible position in the world.
  • For the record, its signs and symptoms are poor judgment, loss of empathy, socially inappropriate behavior, lack of inhibition, repetitive compulsive behavior, inability to concentrate or plan, frequent, abrupt mood changes and speech difficulties.
  • The 25th Amendment, specifically added into the Constitution for just this type of situation, should obviously be now invoked by the president’s retinue, who we often hear through the grapevine, and from former “retired members” of this administration, are more than randomly troubled and actually sickened by his guy’s unbalanced, and, in my medical opinion, unstable, histrionic, narcissistic, megalomaniacal, and early senility-like (FTD) lack of inhibition in rambling speech, decisions and actions.
  • This guy is a psychiatric ICD-10 code menagerie. Essentially, our president appears to be functioning as an “escaped-from-reality TV” mental patient.

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Oct. 14, 2019


Oct. 13, 2019 

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Some oddities in this photo of Trump and his rally crowd. Note that most of the faces except Trump's are blurred, and most people in the front are looking at him. Click images to enlarge.

Some of these men look like Secret Service, but who is the woman reflected in the teleprompter screen?

Here's a good Daily Beast article. The author corrected an error I emailed him about (he thanked me). When he wrote about malignant narcissism he said it was Eric Erikson's concept and he meant to write Erich Fromm. 

Take It From a Former Moonie: Trump Is a Cult Leader




Oct. 12, 2019



Click above for story

Oct. 11, 2019



Last night: Fox News called a mostly peaceful Minneapolis gathering of protesters milling around with police officers just standing there not doing much of anything a riot. Fox said someone threw something at a police horse. They said mask wearing Antifa were causing violence. I saw a half dozen or so people wearing masks but they also were just aimlessly walking around. A couple of Fox reporters were outside trying to describe what wasn't going on around them as what the reporters inside were saying it was. The message was don't believe what you are, or aren't, seeing on your screen rather believe what he say you are supposed to be seeing. Talk about visual gaslighting.

Inside the hall here's part of what Trump was telling his rally:

“Now, the do-nothing Democrat con artists, scammers are getting desperate. They have to move fast because they are not beating us at the polls. Despite the phony polls you see all the time. They are phony polls. Remember I always used to talk about polls. They are no different than crooked writers. They are crooked polls. No different. That is a lot of media.”

“They are so dishonest and frankly they are so bad for our country. They are so bad. They could be so good for our country. Maybe they will change and maybe they won’t. I have been waiting for a long time. After I won the last election I said finally, I will get some great press. They got worse. I said finally. I said to the First Lady, we will finally get respect. We will finally get media and press coverage that will be great. Look what we have done. They got worse.”


“They know they cannot win. You understand. If you didn’t understand, there is no way anybody could win. If you believe them, there is no way anybody could reach. I could do the greatest things in history and they will make them bad to very bad. If it I do something neutral, great, OK, it is like give him the electric chair, that is terrible. Right? These people and the Democrats, it is a partnership. How about in the newscasts, manufactured. Tonight in a manufactured deal along the border. All of a sudden every newscast is using it. It is a talking point given by the Democrats.”

Oct. 10, 2019


Today's photoshop:
Click image to enlarge


Oct. 9, 2019

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Oct. 8, 2019
Afternoon: 

‘Garbage’: George Conway says White House letter is so bad it is another impeachable offense


In case anybody had any doubt that Trump is a sadistic malignant narcissist:
Not only is this a demonstration of Trump's sadistic malignant narcissism, reckless impulsiveness, and using any semblance of rational decision making ability. By cozying up to this ruthless dictator Trump sends a message to not only the Kurds that he has totally betrayed them, but to other allies that Trump’s word isn’t word spit.
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 Melania Trump Said She’s ‘Dedicated To Helping Children,’ And It Didn’t Go So Well

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What's wrong with a President Pence for conservatives?

Why most conservatives aren’t calling for Trump to step aside.

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Oct. 7, 2019 

Trump may have really stepped into it (okay, we've said this before) today not because of his wildly the psychopathology in
his mocked tweet about having great and unmatched wisdom being unhinged and having messianic narcissism but because this self-aggrandizement came in a tweet about a decision to withdraw from Syria, and his bellicose threat about a NATO ally. This has led to more Republicans condemning him. They may give him a pass on Ukraine, but this may be a final straw for some of them. Even his Pentagon chief contradicted Trump in a tweet he thought he could undo. I suppose he learned his lesson that once a tweet is made it is forever.

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Textbook of Delusional Narcissism:
Click above to read the Tweet's comments

Prompted me to tweet this:

Click above to enlarge
Click above to enlarge



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Trump’s Russian and Ukraine scandals are directly linked for one very important reason: Jeffrey Toobin


Excerpt: In a new essay for the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin explains at length how President Donald Trump’s 2016 scandal with Russian interference in the presidential election and his current scandal trying to push Ukraine to investigate his political opponents are actually directly linked.

“The Russia and Ukraine scandals are, in fact, one story,” Toobin writes. “Indeed, the President’s false denials in both of them capture the common themes: soliciting help from foreign interests for partisan gain, followed by obstruction of efforts to uncover what happened.”

Looking beyond those similarities, however, Toobin shows how both scandals involve the advancement of Russian interests.

“In the Ukrainian chapter, Trump has done Putin’s bidding, to the extent that he can, going so far as to embrace a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 campaign,” Toobin explains. “The rest of the U.S. government has never been as enamored of Putin as Trump is. That includes Republicans in Congress, who joined the Democrats in voting for military aid to Ukraine. Trump wants no part of conflict with Putin, but the aid package tied his hands.”

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Click above
EXCERPT: It is a tedious and clunky story that weaves in and out of other bonkers, far-right disinformation conspiracies — Seth Rich, QAnon, everything a secret plot and ANY DAY NOW the real truth is gonna come out — that has been amply documented as false by very smart and patient researchers and journalists. But the once-respected Rudy Giuliani has become a well-oiled cog in the machine nonetheless. You can spend time trying to unravel his 52-dimensional chess explanations of how he has uncovered a Clinton/Soros/Ukraine plot, but honestly, don’t. It’s unclear whether he actually understands that virtually all of it is made up by malign actors who are just here to watch it all burn. But listening to his self-narrative about being the hero of the story is a sign that he’s an easy mark for anyone who understands how to work this psychology.
The waters were so heavily chummed for sharks like Giuliani — how could he not take the bait and run after the irresistible story that solves all problems?
Maybe Giuliani explained the story to Trump in a way that made sense: It could exonerate Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, muddle the narrative, Febreze away the stink of the Mueller report from Trump himself forever. Or maybe the sales pitch was all about the Biden thing. Regardless, Trump unleashed Giuliani, apparently with the support of U.S. diplomats, to undercut U.S. interests and policy — because, again, Trump just doesn’t care if Ukraine, a nation of 44 million people is sentenced to purgatory because of his actions. It is a crippling indictment of his judgment, his leadership, his fitness for office and his grasp on reality. 

False equivalencies are the lifeblood of Russian propaganda, an easy tool to exploit bias and distort perception. They are also a tactic that Trump deploys nearly instinctually. “Fake Ukraine collusion 2020” as the new “fake Russia collusion 2016” is an extraordinarily powerful false equivalency — to minimize the significance of the support the Kremlin levied to help get Trump elected, to erase the importance of the Mueller investigation, and to create problems for the new Ukrainian president and his country.

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Excerpt:

The purpose of Hitler’s approach was to condition the people to mindlessly follow the leader regardless of the leader’s policies or conduct. Democracy, however, is exactly the opposite. In a democracy, the people continuously assess the leader, and if the performance is unsatisfactory, the people can elect a new leader.

Trump, however, is following Hitler’s approach.

Trump is seeking to maintain his army of supporters based upon “blind faith” in Trump himself rather than upon reason. Trump has sold himself to his followers asa highly successful, incredibly wealthy, “very stable genius.”

So what happens when Trump makes an idiotic mistake? Deny it. Fight like mad. Maintain the unified front. The truth does not matter one bit.

Admitting a mistake could very well lead to evil consequences. Once the Trump faithful realize that Trump does indeed make foolish mistakes, they might very well begin to question the legitimacy of the overall Trump mystique.

This could lead to discussion, squabbles, uncertainty, and doubt. Maybe Trump is not a genius after all. Maybe Trump is not even very smart. In fact, maybe Trump is an outright fool.

And why in the world would anyone re-elect a fool?

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Oct. 6, 2019

I am trying to maintain my positive outlook....(See Trump GIF).... yeah, whom am I kidding? And, BTW, that is the correct grammar...whom not who, but then who the hell cares?
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE






Oct. 5, 2019

This is disturbing, to put it mildly:





Really Donald, you are taking on Mitt Romney?





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Oct. 4, 2019 
and

President only read one message to press today which he conveniently removed from context of previous messages and he claims there was no quid quo pro, however all it says is that he was crystal clear to Sondland (big Trump donor) that there was no quid quo pro. In context it is very different.




Trump’s original tweet (and subsequent histrionic demands that Schiff resign for committing treason) misses a significant point. Schiff explicitly said that he was trying to describe "the essence" of Trump’s message "shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words." He never tried to read the president’s remarks in full, nor did he pretend to offer Trump’s words.

Here’s what Schiff said:


"Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates: ‘We've been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don't see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I'm going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it. On this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people. I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m going to put you in touch with Rudy. You’re going to love him, trust me. You know what I’m asking and so I’m only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked.’


"This is, in sum and character, what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine. It would be funny if it wasn't such a graphic betrayal of the President's oath of office. But as it does represent a real betrayal, there's nothing the president says here that is in America's interest after all."

Form Politifact: Schiff did exaggerate, but really is this treason?

So, Trump never explicitly asked Zelensky to "make up dirt" on Biden, as Schiff said. And he did not repeat the demand seven times — a detail Schiff admitted was exaggerated.
But Trump did, however, urge Zelensky to investigate Biden on the basis of an unsubstantiated allegation. He mentioned the ousted Ukrainian prosecutor twice, and he repeatedly said he’d get Zelensky in touch with Giuliani and Barr.
Finally, Trump did not say Zelensky could not call back until he’d satisfied Trump’s demands, as Schiff said. In reality, the call ended with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his election.

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Carl Bernstein: “We are also witnessing something we did not see before, which is a meltdown by a president who is demonstrably unhinged. Certainly I ‘ve talked to Republicans, who do use that word and they’re concerned about this, more than concerned about it, almost to the extent that they’re concerned about the underlying conduct of the president of the United States, because we are watching in real-time. We’ve never seen a president go off the way Trump has in the last few days. You know, when the [special counsel Robert] Mueller investigation was revealed, Trump said, and it’s in the Mueller report, ‘My presidency is over,’ and then he says ‘I’m F ‘ed. This is a terrible thing,’ and then he became unhinged for a while in public. Nothing like this, this is even more extreme.”
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“flailing and melting down on national television.” - "unhinged" - "dog whistle to the deranged" - "spiraling out of control" - "lashing out" - "off the rails"

Nancy Pelosi gets the quote of the day: “Sometimes, I think he is having a limbo contest with himself, to see how low he can go in his rhetoric. I think he was surprised that this happened, because he thinks he can do whatever he wants.”

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Federal law expressly states that it is illegal for “a person to solicit, accept, or receive” anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a United States election.

Yet there stood President Trump outside the White House on Thursday, openly soliciting help from a foreign government for his re-election prospects by declaring to the assembled press that “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.” This, of course, after Mr. Trump has already become subject to an impeachment inquiry after implicating himself in a scheme to seek foreign help for his campaign in a conversation with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

This might seem self-defeating — “self-impeaching,” even. A United States president urging a foreign government to investigate his political rival would seem to be flagrantly violating the law, along with American notions of fair play and decency. 


But this president is a master at what Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called defining deviancy down. One baldfaced presidential lie, once exposed, is an outrage; a thousand such lies is a statistic. 

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Part of Donald Trump’s seeming immunity to consequences comes from the fact that he has a singular, predictable response to being caught out: He first denies that it happened, and then, faced with proof that it did—or in the case of Ukraine, having himself hand-delivered the proof that it did—he admits having done it, but then argues that it’s perfectly cool, perfectly legal, and not that big of a deal. And that everyone does it and that people should do it more. It’s uncanny but it never fails him. From “Russia, if you’re listening” to “I don’t pay taxes because I’m smart,” the play is to rope-a-dope the public into believe we’re the idiots for abiding by the rules.

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Oct. 3, 2019 - How realistic is this? Trump, a president who may not even be in office a year from now, wants President Xi to investigate Biden who may very well be the next president.


"His strategy — if you can call it that — has quickly come into focus. That strategy is, like so much of what we have seen over the last three years, an unfiltered expression of the man himself."

That strategy is, as always, pure Trump: Frenzied, dishonest, impulsive, erratic, angry, and convinced that if what’s worst in Americans can be properly stimulated then he will emerge the victor.

When Republicans in the Senate vote to acquit him (as they almost inevitably will), he’ll declare himself vindicated and say the whole thing was a waste of time. But before we get there he’ll remind us on a daily basis of what led us here in the first place.

 Paul Waldman, Washington Post

Click above for Daily Kos story



Oct. 2, 2019
Evening tweet:


Watch Jeff Mason's questions  which prompted Trump to go cray-cray irrationally ballistic, and read the HuffPost story.
Click above for video


...Who knows if Trump is guilty of treason?...




I also heard a guest on MSNBNC say that the Defense Department I.G. is investigating why funds and hardware were withheld from Ukraine. The shadow government may bring Trump and his minions down.

Click image to enlarge

Your morning Marcotte, Amanda that is: What White House war room? Trump doesn't need one — he's got Fox News

Excerpt:

And boy howdy, is it (Fox propaganda) effective. A majority of Republicans believe that special counsel Robert Mueller exonerated Trump, even though Mueller's report literally reads that it "does not exonerate him." A majority of Republicans believe Russiadidn't do anything to interfere with the election, despite American intelligence services confirming it. Trump voters aren't even willing to say that his inauguration turnout was lower than Barack Obama's. When presented with photographic proof that Obama's was bigger, a significant percentage of Trump voters refused to accept itNearly three-quarters of Republicans refused to admit, in 2016, that Obama was born in the United States.

A lot of this is simply ego, of course. Trump voters are unwilling to admit they are wrong and, like their beloved president, double down on the lies rather than admitting inconvenient truths. But that's why right wing propaganda is so powerful. The good-looking people backed up with expensive graphics and studio lighting are there to make Republican voters feel socially affirmed in their lies and delusions, and to feel that it's OK to let go of any remaining attachment to unpleasant realities, such as the fact their president is a criminal.

So it's a little silly for Republican politicians to be griping to Politico about how Trump isn't doing more to massage their disinformation campaign for them. If their goal is to keep the base in the fold, then it doesn't really matter how many times McCarthy or any other Republicans face-plant on national TV. Their audience is people who can literally see a transcript of Trump talking about Biden with a foreign leader and claim that they never saw the word "Biden" in it. They'll gobble down any lies Fox News feeds them, no matter how incoherent.

That said, despite Trump's confidence to the contrary, he's going to need more than the terminal Fox News heads. That's doubly true if the goal is winning the 2020 election instead of merely intimidating Republican politicians, who are protected by gerrymandering and voter suppression, into backing him during the impeachment process. No amount of White House organizing will trick everyone else into believing that Donald Trump is anything but a flagrant criminal.

Australian opposition leader demands transcript of phone call after Trump asked country’s prime minister to help discredit Mueller probe


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October 1, 2019

This is't even malignant narcissism. It is sadistic sociopathy. Trump Suggested Shooting Immigrants To Slow Them Down, New Book Claims


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In conclusion Cesca writes: The only legal way Trump can guarantee he won’t be prosecuted after he leaves office is to resign with a Gerald Ford-style pardon from Pence. That’s it. Someone should tell him, because I’m sure he hasn’t yet considered the Sophie’s Choice he faces. Resignation and a presidential pardon, taken together, are Trump’s only path to avoiding prison shy of pulling off another improbable election victory, which is no sure thing, whatever he may say.Either he quits and gets pardoned, or he loses the election and goes to prison. McConnell can play games during the trial, and Trump might be acquitted. Sure. There are many ways in which that could play out. But if Trump loses next year, he could land in federal lockup before he has a chance to break ground on his presidential library and food court.



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