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April 23, 2019

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

May 1, 2019


Excerpt: Barr is scared. He should, because Democrats do not seem to be messing around. In private caucus, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly told her colleagues that they saw Barr "commit a crime" by lying about the nature of his communications with Mueller — a lie that was exposed by Tuesday's leak and which became the focal point of Wednesday's hearing.
Barr has put himself in an untenable position, in between risking perjury charges for lying to Congress or risking contempt citations for not showing up at all. For now, he's betting that the latter path is the less risky one.
For some reason, option No. 3 — resigning and returning to his comfortable retirement, as helpfully suggested on Wednesday by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii — is off the table, even though it would probably make all of Barr's problems go away.
Perhaps the man whom conservative columnist William Safire described years ago as the "cover-up general" sees working for Trump as the ultimate professional challenge. Pulling off a cover-up for a man as thoroughly and shamelessly corrupt as this guy would be the Sistine Chapel, the Beethoven's Fifth, the "Hamlet" of cover-ups. All other cover-up artists would stand in awe at the feat. While Barr might be remembered as a villain by history, he would, like Joseph Goebbels before him, still be known as a man who excelled at evil propaganda.
Unfortunately for Barr, the task might be too big for even the most genius-y of evil geniuses, if his sweaty performance on Wednesday is any indication. Now he and his co-conspirators are  moving on to phase two: Stonewall and try to see if you can trick people into thinking it's anything but stonewalling.


My tweet to Rep. Steven Cohen:


April 31, 2019 
Quote: “The American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), one of four senators who called on Barr to resign. from HuffPost
Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.
Excerpt:
Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.
But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.
It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.




‘Freudian slip’: Barr makes it clear during Senate testimony that he’s working for Trump — not the American people - it didn't go unnoticed.

Too bad Durbin didn't follow up with "what do you mean 'we'" ... 
Also from Dick Durbin:
“I’ve been listening carefully to my Republican colleagues and it appears they’re going to work together and coordinate the so-called ‘lock her up defense.’ This is not supposed to be about the Mueller investigation, the Russian involvement in the election, the Trump campaign and so forth,” he said sarcastically. “It’s about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Finally we get down to the bottom line. Hillary Clinton’s emails and questions have to be asked about Benghazi and TravelGate, Whitewater – there’s a lot of material we should be going through today according to their response to this.” Taking a more serious tone, Durbin added: “That is totally unresponsive to the reality about what the American people want to know.”


I have to wonder just how confident Attorney General William Barr is. Does he regret kissing up to Donald Trump? Does he think he went too far? Or is he happy as a clam?

See below
Someone put this photoshop on as a comment to the tweet:

April 30, 2019
Evening tweet - by morning it was viewed over 10,000 times!


Excerpt: It turns out that we were not cynical enough. Not by a long shot. Rather than acting as an independent upholder of the law, serving the people, Barr is proving to be the most servile of all Trump's henchmen. He's not even as independent as the multiple yes-men in the administration who failed to follow Trump's orders but stayed on anyway. Barr seems to see himself as the president's trusted legal consigliere, helping him to avoid getting caught for his crimes. The president truly has found his new Roy Cohn, Trump's notorious mentor and personal lawyer who was eventually disbarred for egregious unethical conduct.

Trump Lies to Ridicule Weather Forecasters

Here's a photoshop I didn't make.
Trump held another of his Nuremberg rallies in Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend. It was the usual mishmash of lies, bigotry and stupidity. For some bizarre reason, he decided to ridicule weather forecasters for predicting a big snowstorm for Green Bay during his rally. The only problem is that they predicted no such thing.

“They thought you were going to have a big snowstorm,” jeered Trump, crowds erupting into roaring cheers. “A big, big snowstorm. The people that get it wrong the most are the weather forecasters and the political analysts.”
But the forecast wasn’t wrong. There was a storm, but hundreds of miles to the south.

Let Trump provide a weather forecast every day based on his own gut feelings and see how accurate those predictions are. He won’t do that, of course, because everyone would then know he’s jam packed with fecal matter. In Trumpworld, he knows all and doesn’t need those “experts” to tell him anything. His narcissism knows no bounds.




I missed this one, great title: 

CERTIFIED MORON DONALD TRUMP THINKS WIND TURBINES “CAUSE CANCER”

Trump, who once likened wind turbines to the Lockerbie bombing, has a new conspiracy theory.

April 29, 2019
Figure it out. What is Rod Rosenstein really saying to Donald Trump and the American public in his resignation letter?



We may not be able to get this guy out
of the Senate, but we can take his gavel away.

How Kushner sought advice from a ‘pro-Kremlin’ Russian

Jared Kushner needed help.

It was March 2016 and Kushner’s father-in-law, Donald Trump, was steamrolling to the Republican presidential nomination. But the businessman-candidate was taking heat for his campaign’s lack of foreign policy expertise, something Kushner was trying to remedy.

That’s when he found a Russian willing to assist.

On March 14, 2016, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Kushner attended a lunch in Manhattan in honor of Henry Kissinger. Also in attendance was a tall, bearded Russian émigré with a booming voice. His name was Dmitri Simes, and for nearly 20 years he had been president and CEO of the Center for the National Interest, a Washington foreign policy think tank. 


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Samantha Bee's brutal Trump taunts: Why her Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner is necessary


Highlights:

Bee complemented Sanders on hair and skin to then say that on the inside, she is "as hideous as a pinworm in an anus. On the inside that woman is 90 percent taint. And I mean that medically."
As Bee ended her opening monologue she explained that she wanted to put Trump at ease on the chance that he was watching “because Tucker Carlson had run out of racism.” She then turned to the camera and said, “Hey there champ. I know you are scared of being the butt of a joke, but we could try to fix that. …The next time you are feeling a little weak in the knees and aren’t sure how to face something scary. Maybe you can go down to the holding facility in Brownsville and ask a preschooler you’ve stolen from his parents for some pointers. You’ll be able to face big bullies like me in no time.”


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Quote: “I actually enjoyed him, interestingly enough,” Cohen said. “When he’s good, he’s great. When he’s horrible, he’s the worst human being on the planet. I mean it. He has no heart and no soul when he’s mean.” Michael Cohen in recent interview


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Stranger Danger: 

New York’s attorney general opens investigation into the NRA's non-profit status

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Quote from CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: 


“He (Trump) is very concerned about violence by immigrants. He’s very concerned about radical Islamic terrorism, but he’s not concerned about white supremacy. This is who he is, when he is not on a Teleprompter, we see what he really believes. If he wants to pretend that those people in Charlottesville were about Robert E. Lee and not chanting ‘Jews will not replace us,’ it’s our job to point out the reality of what’s going on there. People are going to believe what they want to believe, but that crowd was not about Robert E. Lee. That was a racist anti-Semitic crowd, and that’s the crowd he continues to this day to endorse.”

April 28, 2019


Here are a few choice tidbits from his MAGA rally (from Slate)
President Donald Trump skipped the White House Correspondents’ dinner Saturday nightand instead held a raucous rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he hit several familiar themes. The president criticized the media, praised the economy, and mocked Democrats. At one point, he turned to what has emerged as a favorite talking point for the president as he gears up for the 2020 presidential campaign: “Extreme late abortion.” Trump claimed Saturday that Democrats are in favor of “allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb right up until the moment of birth.”
Trump went on to falsely characterize what he said an “extreme late abortion” would entail in horrifically graphic—and not to mention misleading—language. “Your Democrat governor here in Wisconsin, shockingly, stated that he will veto legislation that protects Wisconsin babies born alive. Born alive,” Trump said in a disapproving tone. “The baby is born, the mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.” Trump then put on an incredulous tone. “You hear late term, but this is where the baby is born, it’s there, it’s wrapped, that’s it,” Trump said as he made a guillotine motion with his hand, as if he were implying that the baby’s head would be sliced off.

more

Exclusive: Gérard Araud compares regime to court of Louis XIV and warns UK over post-Brexit trade

April 27, 2019

Franklin Graham: Melania Trump Is ‘The Classiest First Lady Our Country Has Ever Had’

These ads rotate but it was ironic that this one was on the story for awhile:
Click to enlarg


Could Don McGahn lead a Trump exodus? Republican lawyers may be ready to jump off sinking ship, Heather "Digby" Parton

In stonewalling Congress and accusing McGahn of lying, Trump may have doomed himself with legal conservatives 

Excerpt:
My photoshop
It's tempting to make fun of Trump's twisted logic and addled understanding of the basic process of government, but this is a serious matter. He's not just venting before the world on his puerile Twitter feed. The administration is refusing to cooperate with the Congress at all, and that is highly unusual even for presidents under siege.
Normally there is some form of accommodation in these cases, even if the White House wants to claim executive privilege. This administration has decided to totally stonewall everything, from tax returns to testimony about security clearances. Trump and his minions are claiming this privilege after they've already waived it even as the president is blabbing about the matters under subpoena on TV and Twitter.
Trump may not know much about how the government works, but he does understand TV ratings. So I would guess that the main reason for this stonewall is to keep the Democrats from staging dramatic public hearings to illustrate for the American people what Robert Mueller found in his investigation. He apparently understands that he can't keep Mueller from testifying, but Mueller doesn't seem to be the one Trump is worried about. He almost certainly doesn't want to see former staffers like Hope Hicks or Rob Porter on screen testifying about his rampant corruption. But the one who scares him the most is former White House counsel Don McGahn.

Something to think about from Alexandra Petri: 


... I just ask you to imagine a person who does and vote based on the preferences of this person whom, yes, I might say, is a little bit sexist, just the tiniest bit racist and, well, not un-homophobic, with little slivers of other phobias grated over the top, like truffles. 
I am just trying to imagine what this voter wants. You and I are not like him! (I am, of course, picturing a him.) Most of America, even, is not like him! Take heart in the majority of voters nationwide who were fine with a woman last time and a black man the time before. But the electoral college — which, by the way, I completely agree we should abolish — compels us to heed the preferences of (ugh!) these people.
I am very excited about all the candidates. I am not talking about me! I just want you to think about the democratically engaged monstrous cretin given to making sexist remarks in business settings who has spilled some red sauce on his shirtfront and is not wiping it, this troll, this baby, this jerk of whom I completely disapprove, whose hateful ideas chip away at my spirit a little more each day I contemplate them!
We should let him decide who the nominee is, that is all I am saying. From "You have to think about electability" WaPo.

  April 26, 2019

Every black person working for Trump should resign!


"He survived by kissing Donald Trump's ass" John Heilemann on how Rod Rosenstein survived dealing with Turmp related to the WaPo " I can land the plane" article:
Excerpt:

Rod J. Rosenstein, again, was in danger of losing his job. The New York Times had just reported that — in the heated days after James B. Comey was fired as FBI director — the deputy attorney general had suggested wearing a wire to surreptitiously record President Trump. Now Trump, traveling in New York, was on the phone, eager for an explanation.

Rosenstein — who, by one account, had gotten teary-eyed just before the call in a meeting with Trump’s chief of staff — sought to defuse the volatile situation and assure the president he was on his team, according to people familiar with matter. He criticized the Times report, published in late September, and blamed it on former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, whose recollections formed its basis. Then he talked about special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and told the president he would make sure Trump was treated fairly, people familiar with the conversation said.

“I give the investigation credibility,” Rosenstein said, in the words of one administration official offering their own characterization of the call. “I can land the plane.”

The episode illustrates the political tightrope Rosenstein has had to walk in his two years as the Justice Department’s second-in-command. To keep his job, the deputy attorney general has worked to mollify an often angry Trump, while at the same time protecting the special counsel’s investigation of the president and his campaign. Rosenstein’s actions have come under renewed scrutiny, as he has played a key role in releasing Mueller’s findings in a way even some of his supporters say has been overly favorable to Trump.

In a statement for this article, Rosenstein said: “The only commitment I made to President Trump about the Russia investigation is the same commitment I made to the Congress: so long as I was in charge, it would be conducted appropriately and as expeditiously as possible. Everyone who actually participated in the investigation knows that.”

The MAGA Bomber is right: Donald Trump is "like a new found drug" Salon

2020 Democrats, know this: Trumpism is not just about Donald Trump — it's an impenetrable authoritarian cult.

The Democrats will likely lose the 2020 presidential election to Donald Trump. Why? Because the Democrats do not understand that Donald Trump represents an authoritarian movement and a cultural force. Trumpism is not merely or just a set of political policy preferences.

Like other authoritarian cultural movements Trumpism promises a national-cultural transformation, psychological uplift, group superiority, personal salvation, and a sense of membership and belonging in an exclusive community for its members and other supporters.

As a cultural force, Trumpism offers pleasure and joy for its followers and other members of the right-wing as Donald Trump gives permission to torment and commit violent and other  harmful acts against "liberals", "progressives", "minorities", "immigrants", "Muslims", "the news media" and any other group which he as the leader and they as the followers deem to be "unAmerican" and not sufficiently "loyal" to the "cause" and "the movement".

  1. Absolute loyalty to the leader.
  2. Surrendering the self to a "totalizing" mindset where the cult and the cult leader provide the primary and exclusive way of living in the world.
  3. Hostility to outsiders and those others who do not live in the alternate reality created by the cult.
  4. Punishing people who choose to leave the cult and return to normal life.
  5. Loss of self-identity to the group.
  6. A deep and emotional attachment to the leader where he or she becomes a proxy for the self.
  7. Collective narcissism and other forms of groupthink.
  8. Encouraging personal and group behavior which in total is unhealthy and harmful.

April 25, 2019


  • 1. “It’s a very special day, officially called take our daughters and our sons to work day, right?” Trump said. “That’s the politically correct term, and we always have to be politically correct, right? So that’s good.”
  • 2. “I even love the media today. I see these beautiful children, products of the media, and I actually like you much more than your parents.”
  • 3. “Sometimes I wish they could make me look a little bit better,” he said of photojournalists. “Sometimes I think they do it on purpose actually. Always my chin is pulled in, I look terrible, but that’s ok.
  • 4.Trump tells the kids that White House reporters are accurate “most of the time” and report “fairly and honestly.” He also asks their kids whether it’s “all the time” or just most. When the kids say “all the time,” Trump says, “I agree. For purposes of this speech, I agree.”
  • 5. “Our country is doing very well,” Trump said. “Our economy is at a level that perhaps it’s never been at and all over the world they’re talking about our great country and how well we’re doing.”

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.”
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.

The case for Biden:


Excerpt: 

More than any of the other 19 announced Democratic contenders, Biden has called for a reckoning: Should someone with President Trump’s glaring deficiencies of character continue to lead this nation?

In Charlottesville, “we saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open, their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging, and bearing the fangs of racism. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s. And they were met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensued, and a brave young woman lost her life, Biden said in his announcement video.

The former vice president recalled the most disgraceful statement Trump has ever uttered: There were “some very fine people on both sides.”

“With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,” Biden said. “And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

The contrast with the rest of the field is striking. Virtually without exception, earlier announced Democratic candidates offered opening arguments that conspicuously avoided any direct mention of — or even allusion to — Trump’s moral failings. Biden, on the other hand, said these threaten to “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
Excerpt:

WASHINGTON — All those times Donald Trump railed about the secretive “deep state” trying to undermine his presidency, he might have tried checking upstairs and down the hall.
That was the location of the West Wing office of former White House chief lawyer Don McGahn, who, according to the report issued last week by special counsel Robert Mueller, repeatedly thwarted Trump by failing to comply with his boss’ orders to block the Russia investigation and then cover up his attempts to do so.
And in so doing, McGahn and a number of his White House colleagues joined the long list of bureaucrats, top agency officials and Republican lawmakers who have settled on one simple trick for dealing with Trump’s illegal, unethical or simply unwelcome demands: ignoring them, knowing that Trump is likely to forget and move on.
“As always with Trump, you have to figure out when to take it seriously,” said one former top Republican National Committee member on condition of anonymity. “This guy brings out more of that from more people in more situations than anybody possibly could.
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How much longer will he be at Fox News?

Fox News' Judge Napolitano skewers Trump: His obstruction's "unlawful, defenseless and condemnable"

He clearly cares about ethics and his reputation in the legal community. HB
He adds, "On obstruction, the report concluded that notwithstanding numerous obstructive events engaged in by the president personally, the special counsel would not charge the president and would leave the resolution of obstruction of justice to Congress. Congress, of course, cannot bring criminal charges, but it can impeach."
Napolitano then makes it clear that he believes impeachment is a reasonable option because "the Constitution prescribes treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors as the sole bases for impeachment. We know that obstruction of justice constitutes an impeachable offense under the 'high crimes and misdemeanors' rubric because both presidents in the modern era who were subject to impeachment proceedings — Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — were charged with obstructing justice."
One paragraph stands out, with Napolitano explaining that the effectiveness of the president's attempted obstruction is unimportant because "if my neighbor tackles me on my way into a courthouse in order to impede a jury from hearing my testimony, and, though delayed, I still make it to the courthouse and testify, then the neighbor is guilty of obstruction because he attempted to impede the work of the jury that was waiting to hear me."
After reviewing the various ways in which Trump obstructed justice, defining obstruction from a strictly legal standpoint and disagreeing with Attorney General Bill Barr as to whether the president obstructed justice, Napolitano concludes that "the president's job is to enforce federal law. If he had ordered its violation to save innocent life or preserve human freedom, he would have a moral defense. But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable."
I made a photoshop of this scene from "The Exorcist" with Trump vomiting but Jim Carrey's drawing is far better.


His tweets:

⅓ After reviewing the various ways in which Trump obstructed justice, defining obstruction from a strictly legal standpoint and disagreeing with Attorney General Bill Barr as to whether the president obstructed justice, Napolitano concludes that "the president's job is to enforce federal law. If he had ordered its violation to save innocent life or preserve human freedom, he would have a moral defense. But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable."



3/3 The core of the Christian faith is believing and following Jesus Christ, who God sent to be the Savior of the world—to save us from sin, to save us from hell, to save us from eternal damnation.

There are thousands of comments to this tweet, many if not most are not kind to the Reverand's viewpoint. You can read them here.


Some are snarky, some are serious. Here are a few:

No, man. You were reading BREITBART, not the BIBLE. Easy to mix up. They both start with B.

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I masturbated to this tweet and came onto a picture of Jesus enjoying his foot fetish.


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The Bible is not a Chinese menu. You can't pick and choose the sins you want to believe are sins just to suit your bias. You openly support a man divorced 2 times, who cheated on his wives, twice with porn stars, and who lies on a regular basis. You are serving the wrong Jesus.


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It's sad to me that a con-man like Franklin exploit faith and his father's name (whom I loved growing up) to line his pockets. Yet he has the audacity to throw the Bible in the face of
? All while supporting a man who breaks most of the Ten Commandments every day.

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Franklin is probably with a rent boy as we tweet. That’s the trouble with crazy made up bible stories they bring out the worst in some humans. If Jesus did exist Franklin and his folk would have been as far removed from his message as you could get. Hateful and vile anti human.


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The bible also states thou shalt not commit adultery, cover thy neighbors possessions, etc. where is your denouncement of that? And what about doing unto others as you would have done unto you. I guess those rules are only when they are convenient for your personal beliefs.


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When will you repent for using homosexuality as a wedge issue to drive people towards a party that cares nothing for the poor? When are you going to repent for your greed and graft and taking the Lords name in vain repeatedly? When will you repent for that?


and then there's this one:






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.

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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.

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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