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August 3, 2020

Hal Brown Blog

 Click here for just Monday - Weds. editions  This is a blog with my  opinions on news stories that pique my interest. Search for Hal Brown and Trump

Aug. 5, 2020

On MSNBC The 11th Hour With Brian Williams:

Below: My Daily Kos story for Wednesday

Below: Not only is this a disgusting and a reprehensible photoshop for a Trump ad made to look like a dejected Biden is sitting in his basement when it is really a picture of him in church praying, but it is a bad photoshop because he looks like he's sitting on thin air. Besides it also looks like his basement has walls made out of concrete with ghost-like images in the background.  
The actual photo: 
 As Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel noted, this photo is of Biden praying at an African Methodist Episcopal church in Delaware on June 1 following the death of George Floyd. 
It's common practice for attack ads to make use of downcast photos of political opponents, but it's notable that the Trump campaign is trying to make Biden look bad with a photo of him in a solemn religious moment.

 A dangerous Trump lie

President Donald Trump is making dangerously false medical claims once again, this time to advance his agenda of forcing the nation’s schools to re-open despite the coronavirus pandemic, which is growing worse in many parts of the country.

On “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning Trump said that children are “virtually immune” from contracting the coronavirus, which is false.

“It doesn’t have an impact on them,” Trump told the Fox News morning team. “And I’ve watched some doctors say they’re ‘totally immune,’ I don’t know I hate to use the word ‘totally,’ the news will say, ‘Oh, he made the word totally and he shouldn’t have used that word.’ But the fact is they are virtually immune from this problem, and we have to open our schools.”


Do narcissists quit their jobs if they believe they will be fired and don’t want to face humiliation? Or are narcissists immune to humiliation?

It’s difficult to answer that question, but Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D, gave some insights into a narcissist’s “secret fears” in Psychology Today Nov. 18, 2018:

“Narcissists are unable to tolerate failure of any sort and public humiliation is considered the worst type of failure that could happen. A narcissist’s ego is an extremely fragile thing and when she feels she is being laughed at or is losing the respect of others, it can be tremendously upsetting. The narcissist’s ego is the only protection they have from the world and when their ego integrity is breached, narcissists often respond in ways that seem markedly out of proportion to the circumstances for average people.”

That would fit with Trump’s out-of-the blue suggestion that the election should be postponed. Wouldn’t shutting down democracy, the very essence of our being as a country, be way out of proportion? Congress fixed Election Day in 1845 as the second Tuesday after the first Monday. Inauguration Jan. 20 is set in the Constitution....................

.................. “Trump is a narcissist and he cannot help but react to threats to his delicate psyche,” George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, told The Washington Post recently. The Lincoln Project airs ads aiming directly at Trump’s psychological weaknesses in hopes of driving him mad and defeating his reelection bid. “He is a very sensitive, weak human being who cannot take criticism.”

“You can’t take your foot off the gas, but he’s going to lose and he’s going to lose big,” Conway said. “The reason why I’m confident of that is not because of the polls, but because of his essential nature, his self-destructive nature. He doesn’t know how to handle the current situation. He can’t lie his way out of it anymore. And if we keep the pressure on, keep doing what we’re doing, he’s going to dig himself deeper.”

Resigning could be Trump’s easiest way out of the mess he has created.

After all, President Richard M. Nixon, shattered by Watergate and beset for years by anti-Vietnam war demonstrators, resigned Aug. 9, 1974, rather than face impeachment, though he was more prone to depression than narcissism. Studies note that many presidents had narcissistic streaks, but Trump gets first place  prize. That should make him happy, though he’s often pictured as scowling.


Reality is finally catching up with our reality TV star President. Faced with an unprecedented economic collapse triggered by his own clear failure to contain the COVID-19 pandemic (something other industrialized nations have managed to pull off), the Donald tweeted hopefully last week that the November election might need to be rescheduled. 

No one really knows if Trump is hoping to emulate the strongmen he admires and name himself president-for-life, or if he was just trying to create a distraction from the awful jobs numbers that show what a mess he’s made of the U.S. economy.

"Trump has lied so much for so long, people are finally just tuning him out."

Either way, it’s clear he sees the writing on the wall. The American people have had enough of malignant narcissism and feckless governing. They are tired of living with the disastrous results of this President’s non-leadership. Joe Biden is ahead of Trump by double digits, and is leading in swing states including Wisconsin. Unless the Republicans up their voter suppression game to previously unimagined heights—or, as Trump suggested, call off the election—Trump is toast.

As terrible as these times are—and as terrifying as it is to see things devolve so far so fast—there is something hopeful about Trump’s failure. 

For one thing, Trump himself is losing the one thing that is most precious to him—our undivided attention. The fact that Trump’s election gambit failed to elicit a big reaction from either side of the aisle in Congress or from the public shows that we’ve entered a new phase of politics. Call it Trump fatigue. Trump has lied so much for so long, people are finally just tuning him out. No amount of posturing, preening and shock-jock showmanship can distract people forever from their own circumstances. 



Politico's got one of those pieces today where they talk to inside Republicans and try to figure out where it's all going wrong, but none of them are able to see the obvious, which is that it's going wrong because Donald Trump is broken and flawed and incompetent and stupid and beyond help.

Naturally, one of their prime sources was Rudy Giuliani, and oh boy, he was TALKIN'. 

First though, here is a quote from a "senior GOP congressional aide," who gets the closest to understanding that the problem is Trump.

"It used to be that he would do five rallies a day and say whatever came off the top of his head and he thinks that won him the election. [...] It's like when a 25-year old gets drunk and shows up at a family engagement. That can be cute. But if you're a 50-year-old and you show up at the gathering drunk and embarrassing, that just hits a little differently. It's not cute anymore."

But Giuliani says WRONG, and that Trump should be the 50-year-old drunk he always knew he could be!

Giuliani thinks if Trump just leaned into stoking white racist fears MORE and talking about Joe Biden having dementia MORE, then all of a sudden people would want to vote for Trump. First, the white racist fears:

"If I were running the campaign I would do a commercial with the people in St. Louis who had to guard their homes with guns. That's a suburb!"

It is not a suburb, you dumb shit who couldn't be bothered to look at a map and learn a damn thing before opening your mouth. The racist entitled white assholes in that video live off Kingshighway (sic, St. Louis!) on Portland Place in Central West End, down the road from St. Louis University, near the east side of Forest Park. If you know anything about St. Louis, you know that is about five minutes from downtown, in the city limits, and if you are in the St. Louis city limits, you are very much not in the suburbs, since the city itself is a teeny tiny 65-square-mile wedge.

Below: Take this not just with a grain of salt, but with a huge mound of salt.

This is my comment to the article:

Take this with a grain of skeptical salt. The author is a Fox News contributor and I don't know if he's a consultant to the Trump campaign as has been noted in another comment but he is "Fox’s Favorite Physician Is More Concerned With Panic Than He Is With the Pandemic - Dr. Marc Siegel’s medical advice often contradicts the CDC’s guidance." Quote: "He frequently appears on Fox & Friends and Tucker Carlson Tonight. He has written three books about pandemics, all of which reach the same broad conclusion: Americans are overly concerned with the ill effects of pandemics, and the fear of viruses is often worse than the viruses themselves." Not only that, he is not a psychiatrist and Bandy Lee is. Furthermore she is a forensic psychiatrist who can see though the manipulative charm of sociopaths. Hal Brown, MSW, Member Duty to Warn. See 

Fox’s Favorite Physician Is More Concerned With Panic Than He Is With the Pandemic

Two decades of pandemic war games failed to account for Donald Trump

The scenarios foresaw leaky travel bans, a scramble for vaccines and disputes between state and federal leaders, but none could anticipate the current levels of dysfunction in the United States.

Excerpt, In conclusion:

The end game approaches

Perhaps the biggest limitation of simulation exercises was that they didn’t actually drive policymakers to prioritize and fund improvements to the public-health system. Morrison now questions whether it’s even possible to do that through simulations alone, or whether people must experience an epidemic at first hand.

After more than 70 people in Taiwan died as a result of SARS in 2003, the government mapped out its emergency-response network. “Every year since then, for the past 17 years, they’ve held annual outbreak exercises and practised, practised, practised,” Morrison says. When the first coronavirus cases were reported in mainland China, Taiwan’s well-oiled systems quickly kicked into gear. Despite its proximity to the outbreak, Taiwan has had only seven deaths from COVID-19 so far.

Now, the United States has experienced a tragedy, too. The daily number of new COVID-19 cases broke records throughout much of July, after many states attempted to reopen their economies. Frieden says that one of the most crucial actions now is for health departments to strengthen their response systems by analysing data in real time, so that they can tailor interventions as needed. “The best public-health programme is a programme that uses real-time data to make real-time decisions,” he says. “Real life is our exercise.”

But the end game that received the most attention in the aftermath of many simulations — drugs and vaccines — might indeed be the only way out for countries, such as the United States and Brazil, that have failed to contain the virus. Here, too, the simulations have warned about the disjointed efforts of governments and businesses. Biosecurity experts hope that CEPI and other initiatives to coordinate research and assistance will finally pay off.

Looking forward, many hope that the mistakes in handling the coronavirus will spur a fundamental reset in how US policymakers think about pandemic preparedness. This means restructuring health systems, empowering public-health leaders and ensuring that all components function in unison in the event of a crisis.

Towards the end of the Event 201 exercise in New York City last year, participants watched a mock news report forecasting that financial turmoil would last for years, or even a decade. But societal impacts — including loss of faith in government and the media — could last even longer. The TV reporter signed off with a question: “Are we as a global community now finally ready to do the hard work needed to prepare for the next pandemic?”

The pandemic in that simulation failed to convince policymakers to act. It remains to be seen whether this one will.

Aug. 4, 2020

Why bother writing an opinion when I can adjust a photo?
ABOVE: The "Deep State" is the deep state because they know how to do their jobs and politics be damned they do them honestly and well. HB
Below: My editorial comment added on the lower right

Ultimately, those of us who warned the American people for years, sometimes on a daily basis, about this Mad King and would-be tyrant take no joy from saying, We told you so. There is no satisfaction in being correct about such a horrible thing. 
On this point, Jared Yates Sexton, author of "American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World But Failed Its People," wrote last Thursday on Twitter: 
Those of us warning that Trump is an authoritarian capable of destroying democracy haven't been doing it for profit or attention or out of unwarranted alarmism. None of this is hard to predict. They don't hide it at all. Stop expecting everything to be fine because "America."

To watch American democracy, fall so ill so fast, and now to be on the verge of collapse — when such a thing could have been so easily prevented — is a world historical tragedy.

Trump mocked on Twitter after his press conference.






Dept: Tensions flare as GOP's Biden probe ramps up

Oh yeah, then there's the lie about Jeffrey Epstein not being a member of Mar a Lago....
Is there anything new related to Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein in the book?  

The book contains a major revelation about Jeffrey Epstein and Mar-a-Lago. It is known that Epstein was a regular at the club for many years and Trump’s friend. At some point, the Trump Organization has said Trump banned Epstein from the property, although it insisted he was never a member. “The Grifter’s Club” reveals that Epstein was in fact listed as a member of Mar-a-Lago. The authors viewed a membership log that includes Epstein, with an address at his mansion in Palm Beach. The log says his account was closed in October 2007. Previously reported court records state that Trump banned Epstein from visiting the club for an alleged sexual assault on a girl. We were told the young woman was the daughter of a member and Trump kicked his friend out to protect Mar-a-Lago’s brand. Because the club’s membership is a closely guarded secret, no one has known the full extent of Epstein’s ties to Mar-a-Lago until our reporting.  
Free clicks limited
By Charles Pierce
Excerpt: What was your favorite part (of the Swan interview)—and, by “favorite,” I mean the part that put so much ice in your aorta that it likely won’t thaw for years. Was it “It is what it is,” for the massive death toll of the pandemic in this country? Was it “Why can’t I?” when Jonathan Swan calls him out for fudging statistics? Was it the extraordinarily strange business with the charts? Was it his blowing off the memory of John Lewis while he blithely doubled—and tripled—down on his support for alleged child sex-trafficker Ghislane Maxwell? Was it Swan’s own transparent incredulity; the man ran through a panoply of facial expressions that made Buster Keaton look like one of the heads on Easter Island. Or was it one of those terrifying moments when looking into the face of the president* of the United States was equivalent to staring down a well that went dry decades ago. Drop in a stone and wait for long minutes until you realize, finally, that there will be no splash, just the dull thump of rock on lifeless dirt.
This was Frost/Nixon mashed up with Spinal Tap. This was deplorable in ways of which not even Hillary Rodham Clinton could have dreamed. It was the worst argument for democracy since the German federal elections of 1932. It was an offense against reason, against wisdom, and it rendered every compliment ever directed at the American experiment into a sad, bedraggled parody. What in the unshirted fuck was this country thinking in handing executive power over to this gruesome bag of old sins? How did we all come to this? And, make no mistake, this is a disaster that’s on every damn one of us because that’s the way this country works.
It’s pointless any more to make this demand but, Lord Jesus, get this guy out of there. Put the 25th Amendment on his ass. Impeach him again and then remove him. Write him a note from his doctor saying that there are fatbergs clogging all of his major blood vessels, especially those that bring blood to his brain. Anything to get him out of the job for which he was manifestly unfit at the start, and for which he is increasingly unfit temperamentally, emotionally, intellectually, and physically.

Local: I never thought a Portland police chief would have an OpEd in The NY Times. Ours just did.

 If you don't have a subscription you can read about it below.

The protest where I live was postponed due to heat yesterday, but next door at Rose Villa they had theirs in the heat anyway and made the local news. Read article.

Aug. 3, 2020

Manhattan DA Cy Vance, independent of Bill Barr's SDNY, Cites ‘Extensive’ Criminal Conduct At Trump Organization In Court Filing

Trump’s malignant narcissism is making him more and more dangerous as his power slips away: by John Gartner and Allan Blotcky

The authors write that Trump is not Hitler. Of course, unless one believes in reincarnation he can't actually be Hitler. Thank goodness, because Hitler was a lot smarter than Trump and wasn't easily distracted by shiny objects that offended him. They note that he is like Hitler in being a malignant narcissist. I'd argue that Hitler's malignant narcissism was very different than Trump's. Hitler didn't need to live in domiciles with garish gilded decorations and have a series of eye-candy wives. Hitler's  lack of empathy for others and his sociopathy was behind the Holocaust.


We have argued before that Trump is a malignant narcissist, a diagnosis introduced by the famed analyst Erich Fromm, a refugee from Nazi Germany, to explain the psychology of Hitler, Stalin  and other grandiose destructive dictators throughout history. It has four components: narcissism, paranoia, psychopathy and sadism. Malignant narcissists enjoy destroying their real and imagined enemies. It makes them feel powerful, they enjoy inflicting pain, and it is an effective gangster’s tool to intimidate others to do their bidding. If they have been publicly humiliated, made to look weak, they must exact revenge viciously, fiercely, dramatically and preferably publicly. Trump’s philosophy: “When somebody screws you, you screw them back in spades. …You’ve gotta hit people hard. And it’s not so much for that person. It’s other people watch.”
Since June 1, Trump’s polls have plummeted, he has been widely mocked and jeered for his dishonest and  ineffective response to the pandemic, protestors have continued in the streets, and his humiliation has continued. His response has been to bring Lafayette Park to scale. Unmarked military have abducted protestors off the streets of Portland despite the outrage of local and state officials. Trump has signaled an intent to send troops to Albuquerque, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Baltimore—none of whom want them–arguing he must “dominate” US cities.
When a malignant narcissist like Trump says “Make America Great Again,” what he really means is make ME great–or else. Malignant narcissists will demonize and destroy anyone who gets in their way, and the list of enemies always grows both because they are paranoid, and because their behavior provokes real opposition. Staffs are purged over and over for disloyalty. And the categories of people in the population who are enemies grows. First, we were defending the border from “infestations” by immigrants, sadistically taking away their children and putting them into concentration camps in the desert. Now those same Border Patrol agents—who have shown their willingness to commit crimes against humanity for Trump– are being drafted into service as Trump’s personal Republican Guard to attack our citizens in our streets.

Article: Trump mocked for ‘delusional’ boasts of massive crowds greeting him in COVID-ravaged states

Here's Aaron Rupar's tweet with replies


President Donald Trump lies so often that it is no longer shocking when it happens, no matter how blatant or absurd the falsehood may be. Not only does Trump regularly exaggerate the truth, he frequently denies facts that can be observed directly from video or audio tapes. This has led some professionals to diagnose his lying as compulsive or pathological, and many psychologists have pointed out that he is constantly gaslighting his base—a term that refers to a strategic attempt to get others to question their direct experience of reality.

With so much evidence to contradict his claims, like having the largest inauguration crowd size despite pictures clearly showing otherwise, one must wonder how there are still people out there who believe anything the man says. But the fact of the matter is there are many who swallow it hook, line, and sinker. Most of his fervent supporters are convinced that Trump is the harbinger of truth when it comes to important issues like climate change—which is really just a “hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government”.

While this might sound laughable, it is a serious problem, as it has contributed to fake news and dangerous propaganda running rampant. Given its negative impact on society, it is important to understand why certain groups of people are more vulnerable to believing unsupported lies than others. For this, we must look to science for answers, and fortunately, the fields of psychology and neuroscience offer valuable insight.

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? Read full article

Excerpt from Politico article:

In his quest for reelection, President Donald Trump has gone hunting for demons. Federal law enforcement officers entered cities including Portland, Oregon; Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri; and Albuquerque at Trump’s direction, clearly meant to gin up clashes and disorder between federal officers and the groups disfavored by his core supporters in pursuit of “viral online content.”
Trump officials deployed Border Patrol officers to suppress a small group of anarchists in Portland inflicting a federal courthouse with graffiti and minor property damage. When officers started snatching people off the streets in unmarked minivans, it provoked a larger protest reaction and a further increase in federal deployment. Some of those officers are now scheduled to leave Portland at the urging of state and local elected officials who called them an “occupying force.” The Department of Justice plans to “surge” federal officers into Black and Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland to provoke scenes of racial conflict. Trump suggested he could send up to 75,000 federal officers into American cities this summer.
These conflicts are the reason Trump’s most fervent supporters elected him. These voters, most of them white, wanted him to erase the legacy of the first Black president and wage war against the unfavored groups haunting their minds. With the economy cratering, unemployment skyrocketing and an uncontrolled pandemic sweeping the nation, Trump’s last hope for reelection is fomenting disorder and division ― this time, using the power of the presidency.
White Americans have long defined themselves as threatened by racial, ethnic and political minority groups that they believe ― often based on conspiracy theories ― will change their way of life. Americans who think their freedom and right to hold on to power are at risk seek to strike down those they think are coming to take it.

Below: From a conversation between Gail Collins and Brett Stephens in Trump Doesn’t Like What He Sees in the Crystal Ball, NY Times
I made the fake tweet image.

Gail: Maybe we all get together some night — on Zoom, of course. We could close our eyes and envision the Donald Trump Concession Sulk. Then we will clear our minds and go back to worrying obsessively.

Bret: The moment we read the tweet, “Just ‘congratulated’ ‘president-elect’ Joe Biden (total loser). You’ll miss me VERY SOON!!!” is the moment our long national nightmare will finally be over.
Excerpt from Snopes

A group that called itself “America’s Frontline Doctors” (AFD) took to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on July 27, 2020, in a self-described “White Coat Summit” to address a “massive disinformation campaign” regarding COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.
A video recording of the 45-minute long event was promoted online as a “SCOTUS press conference” but had no clear affiliation with the high court other than being held on the footsteps of the Washington, D.C., courthouse. Less than 24 hours after being posted, the video was pulled from social media platforms for presenting misinformation lauding unproven treatments for COVID-19, and thousands of reader queries poured in at Snopes, asking about the legitimacy of the video and the personalities featured in it. 
Snopes obtained an archived version of the video and a transcript and dug through medical records to answer the questions: Who are these doctors and how accurate is their information?

Click images to enlarge

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