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December 16, 2019

Hal Brown blog Dec. 15 - 2019

This is a blog with my own opinion plus some of today's stories that piqued my interest. Click on the panoramic photos (which I took) between stories and days to enlarge them.

This is the comment I posted:

Dangerous case therapists like Bandy Lee and Duty to Warn therapists like John Gartner and I have naively been waiting for a collective EUREKA moment among Trump supporters when he finally does something so obviously dangerous and unmoored from reality that only a garden slug could think it's normal. More than two years ago we were using "The Emperor's News Clothes" as our hoped for analogy. Trump rewrote the ending of the story. Instead of the crowd seeing Trump for who he is and deposing him they continued to see the non-existent glorious robes and not only that, they turned on the messengers and threw rocks at us. You did a yeoman job in trying to explain to Salon readers the nature of Trump's malignant narcissism and his other psychopathology. Unfortunately while the non-psych majors reading Salon are far more conversant with abnormal psychology thanks to you and the experts you interviewed, they already were appalled by what Trump was doing. It's like they've the doctors telling the patient I have your test results. Do you want the good news or the bad news first when the good news is that you have a terminal disease and the bad news is far worse.

By: Ted Noel MD, a Board Certified Anesthesiologist with 36 years of experience. He produces a video blog on current political subjects weekly at 
Excerpt: There has to be something truly evil about Donald Trump or the process that has led to such hysteria. Hundreds of pundits have carefully outlined how there is no rational explanation for this departure from civility. It’s so bad that psychiatrist Bandy Lee MD has declared that Nancy Pelosi “has the right” to force President Trump to submit to a “mental health hold.” In Florida, where the President resides away from DC, this is called “Baker Acting” him. A person who is a danger to themselves or to others can be involuntarily admitted to a hospital for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.

But we shouldn’t be too hard on Doctor Lee. She has repeatedly demonstrated that she is another ignorant loudmouth, declaring the President to be “highly unwell.” Perhaps she should read Doug Wead’s magnificent work revealing how Trump is “colorful,” but also how accusations against him will be “ground to powder by history.”

So what should we make of the infantile handfuls of sand thrown at the President? Do they reflect anything about him, or are they simply temper tantrums of children unable to function in his adult world?

(Talk about projection! We are the ones who have a derangement syndrome? This being noted, it is these kinds of perceptions that lead me to be wary of being too extreme if not ridiculous by making suggestions like Dr. Bandy Lee did about wanting Nancy Pelosi to have Trump forced to get a psychiatric evaluation. )

Music Icon Linda Ronstadt Compares Trump To Hitler: ‘Mexicans Are The New Jews’ (with video)

The 10-time Grammy winner says the president’s goal is to “find a common enemy for everybody to hate.” 

DEC. 31, 2019

Here’s how Nancy Pelosi can psychologically wreck Trump by stalling impeachment for 36 days


Ex-Bush Aides Share Theory About Pelosi Delaying Donald Trump’s Senate Trial

IT involves the upcoming State of the Union address and a potential “live meltdown on national TV.”

Paul Rosenzweig, who served as the Department of Homeland Security’s deputy assistant secretary for policy under the Bush administration, tweeted Monday that Pelosi could want to ensure Trump “is still under impeachment” when he delivers a State of the Union address on Feb 4.

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“Imagine what it would be like if he got to give the SOTU having been cleared by the Senate ― it would be a full-blown triumphal rant,” Rosenzweig wrote.

“But if the impeachment is still pending, it might, instead, be an unhinged narcissistic screed of almost unimaginable insanity,” he added. “Just think of how painful it would be for 53 Republican Senators to sit in the halls of Congress, watching a live meltdown on national TV. That, alone, would be worth the price of admission.”
“Maybe I’m wrong and this hasn’t crossed her mind ― but I love the idea,” he concluded.

Trump signed his ostentatious signature to a good law for a change: to reduce robocalls, even  though they won't end entirely

Bandy Lee is ubiquitous on progressive websites now that she has a Twitter account being followed by AlterNet, although she doesn't escape mockery on conservative websites. 

Yale psychiatrist reveals how to tell which side is telling the truth on impeachment - AlterNet

But too much of a good thing may be too much, at least it is for the pro-Trump website HOT AIR:


Just the visual of some unhinged Democrat picking up the phone and calling 911 to report President Trump as a danger to the community and the nation, in general, is comedy gold. It would make a perfect SNL skit, wouldn’t it? This kind of suggestion makes me wonder who is the person in mental distress? It sounds like it is her.
Her obsession with the state of Trump’s mental health has moved to a new level. She now “translates” Trump’s tweets for her followers on Twitter. She explained in September that it is a public service “to promote grounding in reality and truth.”
She comes off as unhinged as any Democrat these days. After the Mueller Report backfired and didn’t produce the results hoped for by The Resistance, Democrats put all their hopes into the articles of impeachment. The problem is that Americans watched the process play out and realized that there is nothing to impeach the president over. Independents are moving away from them and are ready for it all to be over with, to just move on. 
Lee insisting that Pelosi find a way for President Trump to have an “involuntary evaluation” is straight out of fantasy land. She did make one good point, though. When asked about Pelosi calling Trump’s letter “sick”, shouldn’t that have been enough for Pelosi to act? It goes along with the thinking that if Trump is such a danger to our democracy, why is Pelosi dragging her heels now?

Dec. 30, 2019

It builds off of these:

Conservative attorney George Conway, who's also the husband of Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, called Donald Trump an "extreme narcissist" on Sunday after the U.S. president claimed that New York City is "falling apart."
"So sad to see that New York City and State are falling apart. All they want to do is investigate to make me hate them even more than I should. Governor Cuomo has lost control, and lost his mind. Very bad for the homeless and all!" the president tweeted on Saturday. Trump's remarks come after he repeatedly attacked Cuomo and other New York officials in recent months as the state continues to pursue obtaining his tax returns and financial records.

In response, Conway, one of Trump's loudest online critics, accused the president of demonstrating narcissistic rage." In @realDonaldTrump's case, there's a term for this 'hate'—narcissistic rage," the attorney tweeted. "He hates an entire city and state, and wishes their people harm, merely because he's being called to account for his conduct, something a pathological narcissist can't tolerate. #IMPOTUS"

"Gee, it's as though [Trump] is some kind of extreme narcissist who cares only about himself," he added in a second post.

Christianity Today's split with Trump highlights deeper issue in white evangelical America

However, the coziness with the Republican president, who was impeached this month by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, is exacerbating a long-term crisis facing white evangelicalism, some Christians say - it is being abandoned by younger generations. 
There has been a big drop-off in white evangelical church participation among adults under 40, and publications such as Christianity Today and religious leaders are struggling to engage “Gen Z,” or those born after 1996. 
“One of the major factors is that the church is too tied up in right-wing politics,” said Greg Carey, a professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Evangelical activism against gay rights is particularly repellant to many members of a generation where “everyone has friends who are LGBTQ,” Carey said. 
Trump’s presidency may make the age gap worse, some evangelical Christians believe. “Having to go out and defend this guy day after day, as many of these Trump evangelicals are doing, they’re just destroying their credibility,” said Napp Nazworth, who until Monday was politics editor of another publication, the Christian Post.

Exclusive Axios poll: Black Americans motivated by Trump to vote in 2020

A majority of black Americans are more interested in voting in the 2020 presidential election than they were in 2016, according to a national survey of 1200 black voters and non-voters conducted by Third Way and the Joint Center.
Why it matters: Black voter turnout declined significantly in 2016 nationally and in key swing states, ultimately contributing to Hillary Clinton's loss to Donald Trump. New details from focus groups and polling suggests that the motivation to remove Trump from office is firing up black Americans to head to the polls next November.

Dec. 29, 2019
Today's Daily Kos story

(CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE) In all modesty, this was the 100th story that made the recommended list. This assures more people will read it. Aside from ego it is good to know that when I make the effort to write something more than a dozen people read it and some appreciate it enough to click the star on the top of the story to recommend it. I used to have very few stories make this list. Lately it seems like every other one makes the list. It is getting so that when a story, like the one about the Doomsday Clock yesterday, gets barely any readers I feel disappointed. Because this story made the list when it had only 26 recommendations when other usually have more than 100 to make the list, I think a real person is reading what I write and deciding whether it should be on the list.

You can see on the left why more people read a story near the top of this list since it is much more prominent on the sidebar on the main page. Now at the end of the day it is off the recommended list but still on the sidebar although it is fifth from the bottom. Because it has been on for so long it had over 100 comments. This is by far a record for one of my stories (I've had over 200) but still they make for good reading for those who like comments as much as they like the articles they are about.

Food for Thought
One reason Trump supporters believe his lies comes from a basic fact about the brain: it takes more mental effort to reject an idea as false than to accept it as true. In other words, it’s easier to believe than to not.

This fact is based on a landmark study published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2009, which asked the simple question, how is the brain activated differently during a state of belief compared to a state of disbelief? To test this, participants were asked whether or not they believed in a series of statements while their brain activity was being imaged by an fMRI scanner. Some sentences were simple and fact-based (California is larger than Rhode Island), while others were more abstract and subjective (God probably does not exist). The results showed the activation of distinct but often overlapping brain areas in the belief and disbelief conditions. While these imaging results are complicated to interpret, the electrical patterns also showed something that was fairly straightforward. Overall, there was greater brain activation that persisted for longer during states of disbelief. Greater brain activation requires more cognitive resources, of which there is a limited supply. What these findings show is that the mental process of believing is simply less work for the brain, and therefore often favored. The default state of the human brain is to accept what we are told, because doubt takes effort. Belief, on the other hand, comes easily.
This is a long article. Here's an excerpt:

Mika (a therapist) employs a framework called “positive disintegration,” a theory of human personality development, created by another Polish psychiatrist, Kazimierz Dabrowski. Here is how she described it:
Positive disintegration is the dismantling of our old ways of being and our old character structure — more specifically our false self with its fear-based erroneous beliefs and low level values, and the harmful ways of living they produce — and creating a new personality through now conscious choices we make according to higher values once we see the truth about ourselves.

In our pre-disintegration — that is, pre-awakening — life, we believe that we were random, isolated beings whose existence is meaningless and without purpose beyond the satisfaction of our egocentric, lower level needs for power, money, status, hedonistic pleasure and admiration. Our lives revolve around these lower-level priorities, and our relationships with each other, along with our institutions, reflect that. It’s no wonder that our rates of anxiety, depression, addictions, relational breakdowns, violence and suicide skyrocket. Those are the stark results of our mistaken beliefs about who we are and the harmful lifestyle we have built on them.

Enter Trump/ism, as timely as ever a manifestation of our collective shadow, meant to confront us with the repressed truth about ourselves.

Rather than viewing it only as a calamity — which in so many respects it is — we could see it as an evolving act of grace. By unveiling the truth about ourselves, individually and collectively, as a nation, Trumpism has led us to the awakening to the existence and importance of higher values in our lives.
It would be premature to claim such a sweeping awakening has already happened. But there are signs, at least, of some stirring democratic renewal — as noted by Jennifer Mercieca, a historian of political rhetoric at Texas A&M and author of the forthcoming book, “Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump.”

She cited two encouraging trends: increased political engagement and increased interest in how political communication works. “These twin facts signal to me that Americans are both concerned about the health of their democracy and, in response, are performing their watchdog function,” Mercieca said. “These are good things.”

Internet trashes Face the Nation for softball interview with ‘unqualified grifter’ Ivanka Trump

CGTN America is the American version of CGTN. CGTN is the collection of international language news channels run by China Media Group. It is based in Washington, D.C. and manages bureaus across North and South America. The service employs a mix of American, international and Chinese journalists and produces Americas-based programming with a focus on Asia for CGTN.[1] It maintains a separate schedule of programs each day from noon to 7 p.m. MST (7 p.m. to 2 a.m. GMT), and like its African counterpart, it simulcasts CGTN International at all other times. CGTN America is led by director general Ma Jing with veteran Asia journalist Jim Laurie as executive consultant.[2] It began broadcasting on February 6, 2012, replacing the former English language CCTV 9 in the region.[3]
CGTN America has registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agent Registration Act on February 1, 2019.[4] Wikipedia

Dec. 28, 2019

One surprisingly simple reason evangelicals love Trump, and it isn't abortion

And an article about the tweet here: 

Internet skewers ‘nutbag in chief’ Trump for tweet attacking California and New York: ‘Dude, just golf today’

From the UK Mirror:


Taking bronze, this gem as he announced he’d single-handedly killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “You know, they [ISIS] use the internet better than almost anybody in the world, perhaps other than Donald Trump.”

With the silver is his reply to demands to publish his tax returns: “When you see my financials, which I’ll give at the right time, you’ll say, ‘Man, he was much better than we even thought’.”

But gold had to go to this tweet as he pulled troops out of Syria: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”

Suggested articles from

Dec. 27, 2019

Trump struggles when asked about Ukraine messages from Putin

Trump not only believed Putin, he also acted on that belief, pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue, among other things, a crackpot conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s role in American election interference.

It was against this backdrop that a reporter broached the subject yesterday morning, after Trump’s Christmas video teleconference with U.S. troops deployed abroad.
Q: Sir, what did President Putin say to you that convinced you that the Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election?
TRUMP: What did he say to me?
Q: Yes.
TRUMP: About what?
Q: What did President Putin say to you when you met?
TRUMP: You’re putting words in somebody’s mouth. Who are you referring to? Me? I never said anything about it. I never said a thing about it. All right, any other questions?
While it was easy to enjoy the exchange’s Abbott-and-Costello-like qualities, it was equally easy to notice this seemed like a subject Trump was reluctant to talk about.

And that’s a shame because it’s a good question in need of a good answer. The connections between Trump’s conversations with his Russian benefactor and his willingness to promote Ukraine conspiracy theories are well documented, and they reinforce concerns about the American president serving as Putin’s puppet.

Trump’s clumsy who’s-on-first routine doesn’t make those concerns go away.

More from psychiatrist Bandy Lee: Nancy Pelosi has every right to submit Donald Trump for ‘involuntary’ psych evaluation

Ed. Note: By posting this link here I do not mean to endorse the idea. The proposal by BandyLee has about as much chance of ridding us of Trump as the snarky idea which stands the test of logic but not law which you can see image below. This is serious business and we need to remain credible. Her idea is unfortunately unserious if not laughable.  
Thank goodness she is addressing a liberal audience. Alternet and RawStory (with same owner) featured it today. It is a far better tactic on the part of those mental health professionals like John D Gartner, Lance Dodes, David Reiss, and Justin Frank who we rely on to get media coverage to focus on educating those GOP senators who might be inclined to vote for impeachment because they finally come to understand that Trump's psychopathology is too dangerous to keep him in office. They are the jury and we know that juries often don't vote on the actual facts. In some cases they vote to convict because they don't like the looks of the defendant.
I suggest that you read the comments on Salon. This is a liberal audience. Bandy Lee would do well to read them since many of them are along the lines of these:
I hear what she is saying, but she has to know that what she is advocating for is completely impossible at this time. Because Trump is not just a co-worker, he is the president. I believe everything Ms. Lee says about his mental state and the danger he poses, but Nancy Pelosi does not have the power to have him put on a psych hold. Just picture her trying. That kind of action would have to be undertaken by Republican party leadership if it is going to work.
Sorry, but this is just a silly fantasy. I mean, seriously, Nancy Pelosi call the cops on Trump? What cops? The White House has its own police force, separate from the Secret Service, but they too report to the President. They're not going to take Trump away in a padded wagon. The only legal ways to remove a president are by election, impeachment, or 25th Amendment.
Should he be placed on a psychiatric hold? Most assuredly. Will his cult support such an action? Decidedly not. The shared psychosis extends to the denial of the fact that there is a problem. Bonespurs could (and may) strip naked and rant incoherently in public and his supporters would call it "great". Maybe some would emulate said behavior, just to be like the avatar of their hatred. Worse still there appear to be Senators that know these facts and won't do anything about it because they want to keep their cushy jobs. Ignoring danger to literally everyone because they lack the resolve to act upon the knowledge that "dear leader" is as mentally unbalanced a sack full of rabid badgers.
and this which I regret to say uses an apt phrase:
Unfortunately the good doctor has jumped the shark with this refrain. Everybody who's ever suffered with a whacked neighbor or a crank boss knows Donald is subnormal, abnormal, infranormal, take your pick. But he's immune for the same reason nobody ever managed to drop a brick on Adolph H's noggin. He's got an inner circle of enablers and an ignorant population of followers. We're going to have to prove we deserve better by voting this guy out.

Dec. 26, 2019

Click above to read more comments like these.

More from Twitter.

David Rothschild is an economist at Microsoft Research. He has a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary body of work is on forecasting, and understanding public interest and sentiment. Related work examines how the public absorbs information. He has written extensively, in both the academic and popular press, on polling, prediction markets, social media and online data, and predictions of upcoming events; most of his popular work has focused on predicting elections and an economist take on public policy. After joining Microsoft in 2012 he has been building prediction and sentiment models, and organizing novel/experimental polling and prediction games; this work has been utilized by Bing, Cortana, and Xbox. And, he correctly predicted 50 of 51 Electoral College outcomes in February of 2012, average of 20 of 24 Oscars from 2013-6, and 15 of 15 knockout games in the 2014 World Cup.

Editorial comment:

When an opportunity came to make a diplomatic response to a reporter’s question about Kim Jung Un’s threat the impulsively reckless and belligerent Trump tried to makes a joke:

President Donald Trump said Tuesday his administration will be prepared to handle North Korea’s foreboding promise of a "Christmas gift," whether it be a long-range missile test or something more pleasant.

“Maybe it’s a nice present,” Trump joked when questioned by reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test.”




特朗普在他的Mar-a-Lago度假勝地問記者時,開玩笑說:“也許這是一件很棒的禮物。” “也許是禮物,他送了一個漂亮的花瓶給我,而不是導彈測試。”

Dāng yǒu jīhuì duì jìzhě guānyú jīnzhèng'ēn de wēixié de wèntí zuòchū wàijiāo huí yìng shí, chōngdòng lǔ bell ér hào zhàn de tè lǎng pǔ shìtú kāi gè wánxiào:


김정은의 위협에 관한 기자의 질문에 외교적으로 대응할 수있는 기회가 왔을 때 충동 적으로 무모하고 호전적인 트럼프는 농담을하려했다.

도널드 트럼프 대통령은 16 일 그의 행정부는 장거리 미사일 시험이든 더 유쾌한 일이든“크리스마스 선물”에 대한 북한의 예지적인 약속을 다룰 준비가 될 것이라고 말했습니다.

트럼프는 자신의 마라 가고 (Mar-a-Lago) 리조트에서 기자들에게 질문을 받았을 때“아마 좋은 선물 일 것입니다. "아마도 미사일 테스트 대신 아름다운 꽃병을 보내주는 선물일지도 모른다."

gimjeong-eun-ui wihyeob-e gwanhan gijaui jilmun-e oegyojeog-eulo daeeunghal su-issneun gihoega wass-eul ttae chungdong jeog-eulo mumohago hojeonjeog-in teuleompeuneun nongdam-eulhalyeohaessda.

Dec. 25, 2019

Click above
Melania walking four steps behind
Not a happy looking camper

Link above 
Of all the rinse-and-repeat stories of palace intrigue to come out of the Donald Trump administration, none is more stalwart than the president raging in an empty White House as he drives away all his former friends.
“At a White House in crisis, Trump looks increasingly isolated”: so said Reuters in May 2017. August 2017 brought news that “President Trump Is More Isolated Than Ever.” A month after that, Trump was “The Loneliest President.” January 2018 came and a “Raging, isolated Trump retreats deeper into his bubble.” The cycle continues right up to present, as Democratic hopeful Joe Biden runs an ad saying the nation’s allies are “deeply worried” about Trump: “They say he’s becoming increasingly isolated.”
A successful portrait of the president’s increasing isolation typically includes an overfondness for the word “increasingly”; a vague but grave warning that Trump — always erratic, to be sure! — is getting “worse”; and a mind-bending reliance on sources “close to Trump” to describe how he has no one close to him. 
A standout “Isolated Trump” story gets philosophical. It exudes an unshakable respect for the office of the president, and to the extent that this is hard to square with Trump’s white nationalism, autocratic tendencies, and his administration’s unparalleled cruelty, the author blames a lack of “adults in the room.” Normalcy lies just ahead, where Republicans (“privately worried”) contemplate potentially abandoning Trump, maybe!
For a brief history of White House chroniclers averring to the president’s isolation here's the HuffPost story
Link above
...Barr’s contention that the courts should refuse to decide whether Congress’ impeachment subpoenas are valid is not only at odds with the courts’ central role in resolving national crises arising from legal disputes, it also invites the very kind of conflict the Supreme Court has previously intervened to prevent. If the courts refuse to act as Barr suggests, then Congress will have no option other than to exercise its long recognized—but now dormant—power of “inherent contempt,” whereby the House may imprison executive branch officials who have defied its subpoenas, and hold them in jail until, and if, they comply.
It is hard to imagine a greater recipe for national conflict than if the sergeant-at-arms of the Congress is battling it out with the secret service on the streets of Washington, D.C., as Congress attempts to arrest the highest-level members of the Trump administration, or possibly the president himself. And it is also difficult to imagine a more irresponsible abdication by the nation’s courts than that which William Barr is seeking.

The Ballad of Don and Nancy 
Last year's State of the Union -
I wish we could see Trump's expression
Arm wrestling

Dec. 24, 2019
Today's Daily Kos story (below) had over 225 comments and 1,500 readers took the poll as of Tuesday night.

Christian Post Editor Resigns Over Their Pro-Trump Editorial Slamming Christianity Today for their editorial against Trump

Self-annointed King Trump, sitting in his tacky winter White House… couldn't come up with an intelligent answer when asked what he got Melania for Christmas. The obvious answer would be a lie: “if I told you that would spoil the surprise.” 

Dec. 23, 2019 Scroll down for two breakthroughs in medicine.

My story about this is ready to go online on Daily Kos Tuesday morning.  Chris Hayes showed parts of this bizarre Trump rant against wind turbines tonight. None of it is true except, as he noted, the fact that the universe IS a big place. You have to watch it. Once again, as the kids say, it is Cray - Cray.

In Trump's America "Christian" is no longer a religious faith — it's white identity politics - by Amanda Marcotte

Marcotte's article has a tweet by Daniel John Bongino (born December 4, 1974) who is an American conservative commentator, radio show host, author, former congressional candidate, and former Secret Service agent with a masters in psychology.

If anything, Galli (author of the Christian Today article) has been way too generous to evangelical Trump supporters, telling the Atlantic that they believe that defending Trump somehow offers "good witness to the Gospel." No doubt there's a lot of posturing towards that end in conservative Christian circles, but it defies imagination that anyone actually believes that Trump will somehow help convert people to Christianity or convince them to walk the path of mercy and kindness preached by Jesus. In this instance, religious identification is just a cudgel, another way to define "real" Americans in the right-wing imagination against the cosmopolitan America that is racially diverse and broadly tolerant of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and other assorted non-Christians.
Sure enough, when the Washington Post visited an evangelical church in Wisconsin, most people there hadn't read the Christianity Today editorial and had no intention of doing so. One congregant complained that the magazine has been taken over by the "social justice movement" and therefore should be considered as the voice of "nonbelievers."
Obviously, the "belief" in question here has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ, who talked at length about valuing the downtrodden. It's a belief in the moral superiority of white conservatives and their right to rule over others, even when they are vastly outnumbered.

Click above to enlarge

I missed this by author Richard Patterson:
Dec 6th:

Trump’s Personal Pathology Is America’s Foreign Policy

The world is hostage to an unwell president.

DECEMBER 6, 2019 
.Medical News.

Insomnia medicine approved by FDA

All pictorial horizontal lines can be enlarged by clicking them

Dec. 22, 2019

Buzzfeed's 50 most powerful photos of the year Not all of them are of Trump


24 Pictures Of Christmas That Will Shake You To Your Core

Sinister gathering of St. Nick's friends in Austria, circa 1935.

I like the expressions on these faces. Click images to enlarge.

Dec. 21, 2019

 He won’t be able to stop himself from doing it again. He’s not going to stop at doubling down. He’ll triple down on everything he’s pulled over the last four years. 

 He’s going to call Putin and promise to lift the sanctions if he chips in to get him re-elected. He’ll call Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey. He’ll talk to President Andrej Duda of Poland. He’ll reach out for help from every wannabe Mussolini from South America to Singapore. And he’ll get it. They’ll find ways to slip him money under the table. They’ll turn loose hit squads of trolls to infect American social media with campaign propaganda. 

He’s going to put the full weight of his Department of Justice behind efforts to suppress the votes of poor people, young people, blacks, Latinos, women, the LGBTQ community — in fact anyone likely to vote Democratic. He’ll call for “investigations” of every Democratic presidential candidate who’s going up in the polls and announce he’s got “dirt” on every one of them. He’s going to unleash an army of surrogate liars to spread falsehoods about his opponent. He’s going to go from one rally a week to two to three; maybe he’ll hold a rally every other night. He’s going to turn Air Force One into an airborne criminal command post.

He’s going to wave unindicted co-conspirator Rudy Giuliani like a red flag and tweet out every red-meat lie he blabs on Fox. Then he’s going to pardon his indicted co-conspirators like Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone and line them up at rallies alongside the murdering war criminals he’s already set free.
Donald Trump is the O.J. of American politics. He murdered American democracy, and his search for the “real killer” produced a villain: Joe Biden.

25 Jewish Lawmakers Call On Donald Trump To Fire Stephen Miller In Scathing Open Letter

My friend, who like me is Jewish, call these guy's bad jews.
 Others outside the administration like Sheldon Adelson are on the list.
“With America experiencing historic levels of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, racism, and white supremacy, there should be no place in our government and on any President’s staff for people propagating such views,” read the letter.

The lawmakers also rejected the Trump White House’s allegation that those criticizing Miller over the emails, surfaced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were simply “trying to deny his Jewish identity which is a pernicious form of anti-Semitism.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the lawmakers said. “Hateful ideology is not just unacceptable, it is un-American, irrespective of the faith, race, or nationality of the individual promoting it.”

“Weaponizing anti-Semitism is incredibly dangerous — by muddying the waters, we are no longer able to see and fight against the real anti-Semites in our midst,” they added. “We will not now, or ever, accept intolerance or hate anywhere within our government, and especially not in the White House.”

Click above to watch video. Anthony Scaramucci stated that Donald Trump will resign rather than sit through watching former key aides testify at his impeachment trial should they be called.

Dec. 20, 2019

Ed Note: At least for now this story is on the Daily Kos recommended list even though only 14 readers recommended it (so far). It suggests that a real person on their staff read it since usually placement on this list (which keeps a story on the front page all day) is automatic based on a high number of recommends. Perhaps my readable thumbnail got noticed, or better yet a staff member is following the stories I put post on almost a daily basis.

E and C are not next to each other on the keypad. He typed E because he was thinking ET not CT. But of course this isn’t the point. This is yet more evidence that Trump might have early and worsening dementia. 
This is from a article about the book "A Warning" by Farron Cousins: The book, A warning was released written by an anonymous white house official, and there’ve been plenty of stories over the last week or two with some, you know, pretty significant bombshells from this book that came out again, written by somebody who allegedly works in the white house, but we don’t know who it is, but a bombshell that might be bigger than the rest came out today. And that bombshell is that according to this anonymous white house official, Donald Trump has severe problems remembering things he’s told, remembering things he said. To put it bluntly, the president’s memory is failing him, but that’s not the only thing. Here’s a couple of choice excerpts from this part of the book. "He stumbles, slurs gets confused, is easily irritated, and has trouble synthesizing information. Not occasionally, but with regularity. The president also can’t remember what he said or been told. Americans are used to him denying words that have come out of his mouth. Sometimes this is to avoid responsibility, but it often appears Trump genuinely doesn’t remember important facts, including things that he has said."

For those who subscribe, there are two amazing stories on the NY Times website, one shows how a Trump Secret Service agent was tracked on his presidential detail by his cellphone and the other is an opinion piece about how this technology effects everybody.
THE DEVICE’S OWNER was easy to trace, revealing the outline of the person’s work and life. The same phone pinged a dozen times at the nearby Secret Service field office and events with elected officials. From computer screens more than 1,000 miles away, we could watch the person travel from exclusive areas at Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago.
The meticulous movements — down to a few feet — of the president’s entourage were recorded by a smartphone we believe belonged to a Secret Service agent, whose home was also clearly identifiable in the data. Connecting the home to public deeds revealed the person’s name, along with the name of the person’s spouse, exposing even more details about both families. We could also see other stops this person made, apparently more connected with his private life than his public duties. The Secret Service declined to comment on our findings or describe its policies regarding location data.

The vulnerability of the person we tracked in Mr. Trump’s entourage is one that many if not all of us share: the apps (weather services, maps, perhaps even something as mundane as a coupon saver) collecting and sharing his location on his phone.

He actually got one good
law passed

The Unlikely GOP Star of the Impeachment Proceedings


Louie Gohmert’s colleagues, and much of the public, had gotten used to tuning him out. But his takes on impeachment won him praise from Trump this week.

Dec. 19, 2019

New title

Trump Tells Rally He’s ‘Not Worried’ About Impeachment, Privately Plots Vengeance


As Trump smirked about hot fighter pilots and complained about toilets to an adoring crowd Wednesday, he was thinking about how to make Democratic leaders pay for impeaching him.


Also in Michigan rally:

Senior GOP congressman tells Fox News reporter Trump ‘could lose Michigan alone’ thanks to hateful attack on late Rep. Dingell: He’s ‘playing with fire’


Excerpt: With this meme Trump is pulling a ju-jitsu move that tries to ensnare the energy of this “Trump is bad” conventional wisdom and turn it against the Democrats. And it does so by suggesting there’s a hidden agenda behind the Democrats’ motivations. That we might find something if we look a little closer, think for ourselves and maybe ask a few more questions.
Specifically, as per my interpretation of this meme, that this 3-year push to impeach Donald Trump is not about Trump at all. It’s about power. It’s about Democrats blunting the power of the people who voted for Trump by impeaching what they believe to be a villain. 
“They’re not after me they’re after you” suggests a threat is afoot. And it says they’re after “you.” Not after conservatives. Not after Republicans. The meme says they’re after “you.” Trump is suggesting that they’re after us, the voters, perhaps after the power of our vote. Regardless of how anyone interprets it, the bare thought is unnerving on its face. Unnerving in a way that may get voters to think again about what the Democrats are really doing here.
And that works to Trump’s favor from a marketing and political standpoint.


You can click my image bars to enlarge them. 

Dec. 18, 2019 
I can't wait to see the NY Daily News cover. It should be here when it comes out.

Breaking bad news: 

Appeals Court Rules ACA's Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional

Trump defender at impeachment debate says Jesus got a better deal in his trial

Lower half is my photoshop
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., compared the impeachment of Trump to the trial of Jesus Christ.
“Before you take this historic vote today, one week before Christmas, I want you to keep this in mind: When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats afforded this president in this process.”
Loudermilk then yielded back, neglecting to mention that Pilate eventually let the crowd decide Jesus’s fate. Recent polls have shown a slim majority of Americans approving of Trump’s impeachment. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Pa., later said that he would pray for Democrats, using the same language as Jesus praying for his executioners on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Retweeting a video of Loudermilk’s theological reference, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., added “Romans 1:25,” which reads, "They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen."


GOP congresswoman accuses Democrats of 'tearing families apart' with impeachment

Joe Biden's son may have taken money just for the use of his name. On the other hand the

president’s son has been accused of illegally killed rare sheep and importing parts of the animal back to the U.S. 

Just saying that justice is different in some other countries: Pakistan sentences former dictator to death in treason case

Dec. 17, 2019 Scroll down for my Daily Kos story.
Quote of the Day: North Korea also appears to have renewed its verbal attacks against Mr Trump for the first time in two years.The foreign ministry said if Mr Trump was confrontational, it "must really be diagnosed as the relapse of the dotage of a dotard"The North first called Mr Trump a dotard, meaning old and weak, in 2017. BBC LINK

I couldn't bear to read all of this just like I can't stand watching more of his rally ranting than the clips MSNBC puts on. This is the six page letter to Nancy Pelosi - you'll see quotes from it on MSNBC, PBS, and CNN. Not that anyone here watches, it is the top story on Fox News too. It reads like the transcript of a rally rant. 
He may have been coached on what to include but it does read like he dictated it. I can envision him screaming parts of it into a recording device.

This was picked up from The Washington Post article


The four reasons why Republicans won't turn on Trump, no matter what.

Of course Trump will  declare victory once acquitted by the Senate. We all know he will endlessly rant about the acquittal, too, performing childish skits during his herky-jerky pseudoephedrine-propelled rallies, re-enacting the floor vote and mocking the usual suspects. 

Nevertheless, even if he’s acquitted in the Senate, which is likely, none of the underlying crimes will be erased. There will be no verdict of innocence. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel ruled in 2000 that the Constitution "permits a former President to be indicted and tried for the same offenses for which he was impeached by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate.” You can bet Trump will insist his acquittal is an exoneration. It’s not.


If the Democrats manage to successfully extract this cancerous tumor from the White House, Trump can still be prosecuted criminally for a variety of crimes by a more reputable attorney general than Bill Barr. The only way he can safely avoid prosecution is to resign, but he won’t because Trump always makes things worse for Trump. He could resign, be pardoned by Mike Pence and avoid prosecution for a variety of crimes. Congressional Republicans could freely proceed without this screechy, flailing albatross growing heavier around their collective necks. 

A resignation and a pardon would end Trump’s legal troubles, not to mention his life-shortening stress levels, and he could easily move on to purchase and re-brand the OAN network as “Trump TV,” living out his years as the prime-time motormouth he’s always wanted to be. Maybe Mark Burnett will be stupid enough to give him back his old show. He could walk away mostly undamaged, returning to his wheelhouse as a reality show a-hole.

But Trump’s a berserker — an unapologetic crook who eats chaos for fuel. He’ll never stop until someone stops him.

Steve Schmidt and the acerbic Rick Wilson are well known to viewers of MSNBC. I wondered if George Conway ever appeared on the channel and it turns out that he has.  All this is a lead-in to this story:

George Conway Leads New Conservative Campaign To Defeat ‘Bogus Prophet’ Trump

Excerpt from the NY Times OpEd not in the HuffPost story:

We are reminded of Dan Sickles, an incompetent 19th-century New York politician. On July 2, 1863, his blundering nearly ended the United States.

(Sickles’s greatest previous achievement had been fatally shooting his wife’s lover across the street from the White House and getting himself elected to Congress. Even his most fervent admirers could not have imagined that one day, far in the future, another incompetent New York politician, a president, would lay claim to that legacy by saying he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.)

On that day in Pennsylvania, Sickles was a major general commanding the Union Army’s III Corps at the Battle of Gettysburg, and his incompetence wrought chaos and danger. The Confederate Army took advantage, and turned the Union line. Had the rebel soldiers broken through, the continent might have been divided: free and slave, democratic and authoritarian. 

They charged, and many of them fell, suffering a staggeringly high casualty rate. They held the line. They saved the Union.

 Four months later, Lincoln stood on that field of slaughter and said, “It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”

We look to Lincoln as our guide and inspiration. He understood the necessity of not just saving the Union, but also of knitting the nation back together spiritually as well as politically. But those wounds can be bound up only once the threat has been defeated. So, too, will our country have to knit itself back together after the scourge of Trumpism has been overcome.

Schumer has these five advantages in impeachment by Jennifer Rubin

The five reasons excerpted:

  1. “Do they want a fair, honest trial that examines all the facts? Or do they want a trial that doesn’t let the facts come out?” He essentially said that if senators do not support a real trial, they leave themselves open to the charge that they (like Trump) are part of a “coverup.” 
  2. Unlike the House, the Senate might contain a small number of Republicans who care about such things, or at least worry they might lose independent voters in swing states by advancing outrageous arguments on process/fairness and then voting to let Trump off the hook.
  3. Republicans’ own propensity to overreach as they play to an audience of one (Trump). Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) took a surprising amount of heat for snubbing his role as an impartial juror, as did McConnell for openly assuring the base he was colluding with Trump’s lawyers.
  4. The less open and fair the trial, the more figures on the right may begin to emerge, however timidly, suggesting the only “hoax” is the Republicans’ fake trial.
  5. As in every trial in the United States, lots of witnesses might become available between the indictment and the trial.

Dec. 16, 2019
Today's choice story: 

This psychological analysis of Trump supporters has exposed 5 alarming traits about them: Authoritarian personality, Social dominance orientation, Prejudice,  Intergroup contact, and Relative deprivation, by neuroscientist 

Watch Fox host stunned by latest impeachment poll.

How many OpEds like this by the 96 year old William Webster do we have to read before the GOP realizes they are enabling a traitor?

The privilege of being the only American in our history to serve as the director of both the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. gives me a unique perspective and a responsibility to speak out about a dire threat to the rule of law in the country I love. Order protects liberty, and liberty protects order. Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order are, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.

The rule of law is the bedrock of American democracy, the principle that protects every American from the abuse of monarchs, despots and tyrants. Every American should demand that our leaders put the rule of law above politics.

I am deeply disturbed by the assertion of President Trump that our “current director” — as he refers to the man he selected for the job of running the F.B.I. — cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency. The 10-year term given to all directors following J. Edgar Hoover’s 48-year tenure was created to provide independence for the director and for the bureau. The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly. The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.


This difficult moment demands the restoration of the proper place of the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. as bulwarks of law and order in America. This is not about politics. This is about the rule of law. Republicans and Democrats alike should defend it above all else.
In my nearly 96 years, I have seen our country rise above extraordinary challenges — the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, segregation, assassinations, the resignation of a president and 9/11, to name just a few. 

I continue to believe in and pray for the ability of all Americans to overcome our differences and pursue the common good. Order protects liberty, and liberty protects order.

Russia’s State TV Calls Trump Their ‘Agent’


Russian commentators note, rightly, that “sooner or later, the Democrats will come back into power," and they’re already joking about offering Trump asylum.

Robocall crackdown sails through the impeachment noise

Merriam-Webster recently added a new definition to its online dictionary to reflect use of “they” as relating to a person whose gender identity is nonbinary. In October, the American Psychological Association endorsed “they” as a singular third-person pronoun in its latest style guide for scholarly writing.

“We believe writers should try to use a person’s self-identified pronoun whenever feasible,” said Jasper Simons, chief publishing officer for the APA. “The singular ‘they’ is a way for writers to avoid making assumptions about gender when it is not known.”

The American Dialect Society, which is dedicated to the study of the English language in North America, named “they” its word of the year for 2015, in recognition of its emergence among people who reject “he” and “she.” Wash. Post
Click to enlarge page break

Dec. 15, 2019

A second story related to entertainment although in a very different way than yesterday's: