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May 17, 2020

Hal Brown Blog

This is a blog with my own opinion plus new stories that piqued my interest. A few of them are from websites you are unlikely to read. I hope they interest you too.... 

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Earlier Posts - May 11 and before

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May 29, 2020

May 28, 2020

Weekend sci-fi movie to watch on Amazon Prime

Trump holding today's NY Post.
He also singled out Yoel Roth, the head of site integrity for Twitter, holding up his picture on the cover of the New York Post. Roth has drawn attacks from conservatives in recent days after people unearthed old tweets in which he appeared to disparage Trump and his supporters. From an article in Politico

Yes, Trump's Twitter threats against Democrats are a "distraction" — but we can't ignore them

Trump is desperate, and encouraging violence from his superfans. That's dangerous, and we can't look the other way - Amanda Marcotte

Donald Trump, by design, is a chaos monster who shovels crap out faster than people can process it. Unencumbered by normal human qualities like empathy or conscience, Trump can bounce from one awful behavior from another — grifting, sexual assault and harassment, racism, lying, conspiracy-mongering, criminal schemes — with astonishing speed, doing more wicked deeds in a day that what most aspiring villains can accomplish in a year or even a lifetime. 

In an effort to get a handle on the endless deluge of awfulness pouring out of Trump, it's become common to describe some of the godawful things he does as "distractions" from other awful things he does. It's an effort to triage our response, apparently on the theory that figuring out which Trump evils rank higher than others can somehow sharpen our efforts to process and resist them. It's an honorable desire based in empirical evidence: Indeed, Trump sometimes does or says nasty things to divert public and media attention from other nasty things he does or says. Unfortunately, this often fails to understand that the nasty stuff Trump does to distract us from other nasty stuff is incredibly dangerous on its own terms, and can't just be shrugged off as a pure or content-free distraction. 

Today's case in point: Trump, who has frequently indulged in late-night binges of Twitter vitriol while most Americans are asleep, was at it again late on Wednesday night when he decided to promote a video by a cowboy cosplayer and Trump superfan named Couy Griffin declaring, "The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat."

"Thank you Cowboys. See you in New Mexico!" Trump said of the video, which echoed a 19th-century slogan — "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" — used to justify genocide against Native Americans. 

He does look like he's whistling.

Eric Trump Tweets ‘GREAT DAY for the DOW’ As Coronavirus Death Toll Tops 100,000


‘This is What I Want’: Why Trump Needs a Packed Convention

A flurry of confetti, 150,000 balloons and nonstop applause stoked the New York developer’s need to be the man on stage.

For all his norm-breaking, Trump adores old-fashioned pageantry. He has waxed enthusiastic about military parades and reveled in royal red-carpet treatment overseas. And little has captivated him as much as the lively quadrennial jamborees when a political party chooses its presidential candidate. Indeed, according to GOP operatives I spoke to who were with him 32 years ago at their party’s convention in New Orleans, the four-day crescendo of public affirmation is what piqued his interest in the presidency in the first place.

Activist turned scientist Gregg Gonsalves on Trump's "genocide" and Deborah Birx's "horrific" game

Longtime AIDS activist, now an epidemiologist, on Trump's "monumental error" and Deborah Birx's deadly compromise 

May 27, 2020


The Right-Wing Legal Network Is Now Openly Pushing Conspiracy Theories

A psychiatrist explains why Trump’s obsession with Joe Scarborough murder conspiracy might be a sign of dementia

Trump’s bullying cannot disguise his weakness, Jennifer Rubin

EXCERPT: During a rare TV interview (considering how well this went, there should be more), former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, blasted Trump for his selfish, dangerous behavior regarding masks. “This macho stuff, for a guy . . . I shouldn’t get going, but it just, it costs people’s lives. It’s costing people’s lives,” Biden said. He added: “Presidents are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine.” He accused Trump of “stoking death.” What is true of Trump’s refusal to wear a mask is doubly true of his insistence on bringing a pandemic-spreading crowd to the Republican convention. (Retorting to the Trump campaign’s insinuation that Biden is in mental decline, the former vice president said, “Look, I mean, talk about a guy who’s missing a step. He’s missing something, man.” Empathy? Coherence?)

Biden is right that real men do not endanger others because they are vain. The do not put the vulnerable at risk. (They surely do not torment the parents of a deceased daughter.) Lacking qualities we associate with responsible adulthood, Trump is left to flail wildly about, creating fights and pounding his chest. It’s false bravado. It’s the conduct of a schoolyard bully who refuses to be held responsible for his own conduct. It’s the behavior of someone heading for an election thrashing.

Your election angst is real: Trump's gonna cheat and it could be total hell - Heather "Digby" Parton

You're right — Joe Biden's lead in the polls is not reassuring. However bad you think 2016 was, this could be worse

Now Democrats are supposed to feel confident that Biden's six-point lead in the polls means that everything is going to be just fine? Nothing is going to be fine. The series of events I've just described — along with the hundreds of atrocities I don't have room to mention — aren't just about Trump. They are illustrations of a failing country that has been in a weakened state for a long time.
Let's hope that the system is still strong enough to produce a free fair election and that Trump is uncharacteristically willing to accept defeat in a somewhat dignified manner. Keep your fingers crossed that his supporters will follow that lead. But don't feel ashamed of losing sleep for fear that somehow he's going to win — or that we wind up with some disputed result in which he tries to cling to power.

If the last three years have taught us anything, it's that there is no "normal" anymore. Your worries are entirely rational. We're in uncharted territory.

We cannot keep ignoring the possibility of airborne transmission. Here’s how to address it: Scientist

May 26, 2020

Most recent stats for the blog:

Fintan O'Toole on America the "pitiful," corrupted by Trump's malignant spectacle 

Irish author and critic on the "suspension of disbelief" that has made Trump's destruction of America possible

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The abundance of public evidence shows that Donald Trump is apparently mentally ill and suffers from various pathologies. Is it a mistake to try to find parsimonious explanations for his aberrant behavior?
Certainly, for me, the professional, human urge is to try to find some threads that you can pull upon and then follow through the crazy labyrinth of Trump's mind where by doing so we can see what the themes are, what ideas repeat themselves and how it all comes together. Trump, by any standards, is of course deranged. But I do think there are dangers in trying to impose a type of coherence on a fundamentally incoherent man.
We should also be careful of making Donald Trump into something too complex. Yes, Trump is complex, but his thinking is a function of crude, tired, old right-wing ideas, emotions and tropes that have been around for a very long time.
There is nothing original about Donald Trump. Here is the challenge and problem in writing about Donald Trump: By necessity, we are engaging in an effort that is designed to apply some type of shape and order on the thing we are describing. Does that just misrepresent the sheer craziness that is Donald Trump? How do we go about the job of representing and presenting the craziness that is Donald Trump? The problem is that by writing about Trump we are in some way normalizing him, because no matter how hard we try one gets used to Trump's craziness.

Unless Donald Trump is doing something horribly unprecedented — by his standards — too many people just brush off his aberrant behavior: "You know, it is just another day in Trumpland!"

On Memorial Day weekend, Trump shows his true self

Michael D'Antonio is the author of the book "Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success" and co-author with Peter Eisner of "The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence."

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EXCERPT: Trump's heedless holiday demonstrated that as his drive for re-election begins in earnest, he will not alter the formula that got him to the Oval Office in the first place. This method depends on the reliable power of divisiveness, anger, and activist rage. Although disastrous when tapped in response to a crisis like the current pandemic, Trump is using them as he did in 2016: to energize his base

Much research has shown that many people find their sense of well-being and self-esteem rises when they feel anger or hatred of others. What the Wall Street Journal recently described as "the pleasure of hating" can bring people together to act against a common enemy whether that enemy is real or imagined. In his life before politics, Trump conjured up pop culture enemies like Rosie O'Donnell so he could engage in public fights against someone he hated. In his political incarnation, where the consequences are real and serious, he has used the same process but infused it with conspiracy theories about "Deep State" opponents.

Trump either knows, or intuits, the power of this game. The more anger people feel, the less they are inclined toward moderation and compromise. The enraged are also likely to feel more motivated to vote against the object of their hate. Add Trump's ability to demonstrate feelings of hatred and revulsion -- take a peek at his rallies -- and it's as if he is broadcasting an official sanction for everyone to shed the restraints of decency and give free rein to their impulsive hatreds. 

Is the president's rage sincere? His affection for theatrics and performance argue that it's all game. We all know that the president loves to use showbiz devices to capture attention. The question of whether he would or would not wear a medical mask to visit a Ford factory created a classic cliffhanger attraction. His frequent press conference meltdowns perform the same service, keeping us all tuning in. These and other factors suggest it's all an act.

On the other hand, as we watch the president stagger through the Covid-19 emergency, golfing as The New York Times prepared to publish a roster of the dead, we should consider that the cruelty, the arrogance, the rage and deviance are not an act. When I see him now on television, I recognize the same pattern I saw when I interviewed him half a dozen times years ago. He is only truly animated, truly himself, when expressing disdain for others or love for himself. Hatred and conceit are his comfort zones, and he returns to them whenever he's under pressure.

May 25,2020

Trump has been a ‘catastrophic failure’ and GOP lawmakers know it: WaPo columnist

Click above to enlarge

May 24, 2020


The British have some of the best slang words for stupid. In this poll over 600 Daily Kos readers chose which one best described Trump. Click to enlarge.

Husband of Reopen NC leader ‘willing to kill people’ in resistance to emergency orders

May 23, 2020

From the Russian government sponsored website RT:
I wonder why Scott Ritter would publish on this website.

 Why would William Scott Ritter chose to publish on RT? He is (from Wiki) a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He later became a critic of United States foreign policy in the Middle East. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter stated that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, becoming according to The New York Times "the loudest and most credible skeptic of the Bush administration’s contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction." 

More from Russia:

May 22, 2020

Opinion: Republicans should put country above party and vote Biden - The Lincoln Project published in Michigan

May 21, 2020

Trump moves openly to steal the election: Democrats should impeach him again, Amanda Marcotte, Salon


Years have been wasted in an intramural debate among mental health experts over whether to diagnose the president remotely, and what such a diagnosis might be. But that, too, is a distraction from what is directly in front of our eyes.

There is, even as the president blurs the line between reality and fantasy while talking about a lethal pandemic, a tendency to puzzle over the president’s actions, to wonder if they are somehow part of a complex political strategy. Is the president’s behavior “genius,” as a recent Washington Post commentary chose to call it, while still labeling it “irrational”? A simpler explanation is that both his distracting tweetstorms and incompetent leadership arise from the same underlying cause, even if we cannot label it, and the correct descriptor is not “brilliant.” But despite years of largely uninformed incoherence, it’s still difficult for many of us to resist the temptation to find order in the mess.

In the absence of psychiatric or cognitive tests Trump may never undergo, we cannot establish that some affirmative condition accounts for his daily shortage of rational output. This leaves us in the uncomfortable position of having to document only what Trump lacks. And while proving a nullity seems impossible, the truth is that one doesn’t need a Ph.D. in clinical psychology to observe and record the ordinary human behaviors the president hasn’t mastered. Any rational observer can do it. The burning question is why we don’t.

Anyone and everyone charged with reporting on this president should make a fundamental commitment that describing or interpreting this president’s statements and actions must highlight, on an ongoing and even repetitive basis, what they don’t see. Reporters, public intellectuals, and pundits should stop filling in Trump’s gaps for him and should allow as full a picture as possible to emerge of his cognitive and personal incompleteness. Not doing so explicitly has resulted in four years of rationalizing, contextualizing, and indeed—in popular parlance—“normalizing” a president few of us would trust to take care of a pet over the weekend.

‘This man is dumb’: Trump ignites mockery after claiming there are ‘many per capitas’

Republican Groups Hit Trump Close To Home In Blistering New TV Ads - videos

May 20, 2020

Pond front where we used to live

May 19, 2020

Stunned Fox News Host Neil Cavuto Warns: Hydroxychloroquine ‘Will Kill You’

May 18, 2020

A short walk from my house

May 17, 2020

Obama’s #GraduateTogether speech praised for offering the empathy Trump has not shown during pandemic

Eric Trump Claims Democrats’ Cooked-Up COVID-19 Will ‘Magically’ Vanish Election Day

“Joe Biden loves this,” the middle son tells Jeanine Pirro.

Cape Cod Canal

May 16, 2020
Trumps applauds and eggs on fascistic thugs who bring assault weapons to state capitals to demand “liberation” from communist coronavirus restrictions imposed by “the socialist Democrats.”
Donald “Live and Let Die” Trump wants tens of millions of American workers and consumers put at risk of lonely ventilator deaths for the sake of his re-election – this even while the germophobic president enforces a militant testing, mask-wearing, and social-distancing regime in his own “workplace” (if that’s what we really want to call the insane asylum that is Trump’s White House).
Trump supports the denial of unemployment compensation payments to workers who are reasonably too afraid of infection to return to their jobs. Because of course he does.
When if all goes bad, the S.O.B. can blame it on the state governors who foolishly heeded his call.

Along the way, he is upping his record-setting pace of Orwellian deception with absurd claims that he always understood the danger and is leading the world’s effort to contain the “virus from China” – the virus that he has so horribly fueled and fanned. Big Brother saysthat 2+2+5.

Honking Truckers Were Showing Trump ‘Love,’ President Claims At Briefing. No, They Weren’t.

May 15, 2020

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Washington, DC

May, 14, 2020

It took me longer to make the illustration than it did to write this story.



“The president has long been a little leery of the media attention and positive headlines Fauci has garnered,” he said. “We know one of the fastest ways to get on the wrong side of the president is to get more media attention than him — ask Steve Bannon about that, even Jared Kushner at times. In this case, it is Dr. Fauci. More than that, they feel, fairly or not, Dr. Fauci sometimes moderates his answers depending on the venue. He sometimes a little more sticks to what the president wants to say when he’s giving an interview with conservative media, and then less so with other networks.”
(Reporter) Lemire said the president’s anger spilled over into plain sight Wednesday when he met with reporters.
“Now I think Dr. Fauci’s defenders, and there are many, will say he’s not playing politics at all, that he is just sticking to the guidelines,” Lemire said. “That’s what we heard in his Senate testimony the other day. He rankled the president, you could see it in his body language, you could hear it in his voice, according to our reporting, he was angry the night before, after Fauci’s testimony, suggesting it was undercutting his arguments, and his push to get Americans back to work.”

Experiment shows human speech generates droplets that linger in the air for more than 8 min

Ordinary speech can emit small respiratory droplets that linger in the air for at least eight minutes and potentially much longer, according to a study published Wednesday that could help explain why infections of the coronavirus so often cluster in nursing homes, households, conferences, cruise ships and other confined spaces with limited air circulation.

The report, from researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed journal. It is based on an experiment that used laser light to study the number of small respiratory droplets emitted through human speech.
The answer: a lot.
“Highly sensitive laser light scattering observations have revealed that loud speech can emit thousands of oral fluid droplets per second,” the report states.

Appeals court greenlights emoluments suit against Trump

The president's attorney said he will ask the Supreme Court to block inquiries into foreign patronage of D.C. Trump hotel.

"The discovery here — business records as to hotel stays and restaurant expenses, sought from private third parties and low-level government employees — implicates no Executive power. The President has not explained, nor do we see, how requests pertaining to spending at a private restaurant and hotel threaten any Executive Branch prerogative," she wrote.

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, writing for all six dissenters, said it was evident that Maryland and D.C. were trying to mire Trump in litigation for partisan reasons.
"Would it not be fair for our fellow Americans to suspect that something other than law was afoot?" he wrote.

"The plaintiffs here are attempting nothing less than to enjoin the President of the United States for official actions taken while in office. They are seeking to harness the coercive machinery of legal process to drag the President through what are coming to seem more and more like interminable proceedings."

May 13, 2020

Of all the well known* therapists writing about Trump, psychoanalyst Justin Fran delves the deepest into his underlying psychodynamics.

* I do as well but I am hardly well-known

Excerpt: DeVega: In a recent New York Post interview, Donald Trump talked about his longing for "1950s housewives" and the "good old days." He also revealed that he loves fighting with the female reporters during his coronavirus briefings, and of course that he loves the TV ratings more than anything else. As a psychotherapist, what did you see in that interview?

Frank: First, Donald Trump loves obedient women. Trump's love of obedient women is what broke up his first marriage. Ivana Trump worked at one of his hotels which meant that she did always have his dinner prepared on time — and it was him who wanted her to get a job. Trump would fly into a rage every time his dinner was not made on time. Ivana was an independent woman. This meant to Trump that she was no longer a woman of the 1950s, which is what he wants.

But understand that Donald Trump likes sparring with the female reporters at his press conferences and briefings. He likes the situation because he is safe because of the Secret Service, the television broadcast format and the expectations of how the reporters will behave towards him. It is not like Trump being confronted in private, where he doesn't have those protections.

Trump loves sparring with the reporters who are women. For Trump, being combative with them is like a type of aggressive fighting and jousting. It is very sexual for Trump on an unconscious level. He is aroused by the female reporters who stand up to him. It is a great turn-on for Trump. Conflict in general is a turn-on and arousing for Trump, but conflict with a woman is even more exciting.  

Trump has a fantasy of dominating these women. I also think that Donald Trump also has a deep desire, perhaps passive or latent, to be dominated by a confident strong woman. Donald Trump has a very complicated relationship with women where he likes to fight with them but also wants them to be submissive to him.

Donald Trump has even written about how women are more powerful than men because he believes that women can use their sexuality to get their way. Trump also believes that women are more comfortable being deceptive than men are.

Trump is constantly watching women. He can describe a woman's body in great detail, and he likes talking about their bodies in those terms. The way that Trump talks about women dehumanizes them. Trump turns women into objects of lust, almost like they are a piece of meat. Again, this is a reflection of Trump's core traits and values, because he is a man who hates regulations and limits. In his mind, he should be able to do whatever he wants.

Trump’s abject hypocrisy tells us where he’s failed, Jennifer Rubin

This is the WaPo photo modified by me.
Excerpt: President Trump has inadvertently demonstrated the degree to which certain measures are essential for the public’s protection against the coronavirus — and that he chooses to benefit from those protections without extending them to others. As we have passed another horrible milestone (80,000 U.S. deaths), we see just how little Trump cares about protecting others.

"It is scary to go to work,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said over the weekend, even when the White House has robust tracking, tracing and mask-wearing protocols in place that most Americans do not enjoy.
And, worse, Trump’s personal vanity and political efforts to project a return to business as usual mean he will not extend the same protection (wearing a mask) that he demands of co-workers. The Post reports: “Most White House officials will be asked to wear masks or face coverings in public spaces on complex grounds, a move to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further inside the presidential compound . . . .The request does not apply to offices, however, and President Trump is still unlikely to wear a mask or face covering, aides say.” In other words: Trump gets protection from others but will not protect them in return for utterly selfish reasons. No single action better captures Trump’s narcissism.
Excerpt: But Trump’s ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwartz, said Trump’s claims about Obama arise not from any political calculation, but from a profoundly disordered mind.
“I think the underlying explanation is that he is he has the traits of a psychopath — he is unrestrained by a sense of any conscience,” Schwartz said. “If you don't have a conscience, you don't make a distinction between what's true and what's false. You invent reality … as you go to suit your immediate needs.”
“It's not material to him whether it's true or false. It’s: ‘Will I get over with this thing? Will this advance my interests?’ which are the only questions that he has ever asked.”
Schwartz is not the only person who knows the president to suggest that Trump suffers from such a personality disorder. 
Attorney George Conway, who is also known as the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, argued last year in The Atlantic that Trump suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and has more recently argued that he suffers from “malignant narcissisism.” Malignant narcissism is a term coined by social psychologist Erich Fromm, who described it as "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil" and "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity."
But one ex-White House official who asked to remain anonymous to protect their political consulting business said Trump’s embrace of conspiracy theories is not made out of calculation or rooted in some deeper lack of moral center, but because they bolster his self-esteem.

“He believes every word of this bulls**t because he’s a crackpot who wants to feel good about himself and the crackpots who talk about it make him feel good about himself by talking about it,” the former official said. “Now President Crackpot has other crackpots running investigations to support the crackpot theories he sees on Fox News and OAN. We’re living in a crackpotcracy.”

There's a presidential election in Kenya. Who knew. They look at the "America fiasco" for lessons in the candidates to avoid.

On our local scene there are lessons to be learnt from the American health debacle or is it a leadership fiasco? The first is to elect men and women of integrity. Trump had serious integrity issues, including sexual abuse and groping women. There are currently some presidential candidates with serious integrity issues including but not limited to corruption and land grabbing. 
Then there is experience. Trump had absolutely no experience in public administration and or management. It is therefore no surprise that neophyte Trump failed spectacularly as he was wet behind the ears. Kenyans have done a similar experiment with the Nairobi governor with disastrous results. 
In our current crop of presidential candidates Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka stand head and shoulders above the rest on experience in public service administration and or management. Education or relevant education is a definite plus. The economy performed at optimum levels under the stewardship of an economist, retired President Kibaki. 
Kenyans must avoid the know-it-alls. The biggest atrocities on earth have been committed by political leaders who believed they knew everything—Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Trump, Robert Mugabe and Mobutu Sese Seko. Finally, anger management and personal hygiene/discipline should made compulsory examinable subjects in Kenyan schools.

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Signs for the pandemic (Cape Cod National Seashore)

May 12, 2020

A Seven minute supercuts of Trump attacking female reporters.

It's difficult fo me not to root for the virus when it comes to infecting the Nearly one-third of Americans who believe a coronavirus vaccine exists and is being withheld as a survey found

Where I live

Earlier Posts - May 11 and before

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