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September 1, 2020

Hal Brown Blog



This is an internationally read blog
  with original essays and my  
opinions on news stories that pique my interest. My Bio; also Internet search for Hal Brown and Trump 


Sept. 5, 2020

With due apologies to weasels, a species that for various reasons have a bad reputation in several cultures.... Weasels have been assigned a variety of cultural meanings. Wiki tells us:

In North America, Native Americans (in the region of Chatham County, North Carolina) deemed the weasel to be a bad sign; crossing its path meant a "speedy death".[7] According to Daniel Defoe also, meeting a weasel is a bad omen.[8] In English-speaking areas, weasel can be an insult, noun or verb, for someone regarded as sneaky, conniving or untrustworthy. Similarly, "weasel words" is a critical term for words or phrasing that are vague, misleading or equivocal.


But Trump’s attack on Griffin was a bridge too far for her colleagues, seven of whom took to Twitter over the weekend to defend her.

“Jennifer @JenGriffinFNC is a great reporter and a total class act,” wrote Baier, the network’s chief political anchor.

“Jennifer Griffin is the kind of reporter we all strive to be like,” said national correspondent Bryan Llenas. “She’s courageous, smart, ethical, fair and a class act. She’s earned the trust of viewers throughout a distinguished career and is credibile.” 

“@JenGriffinFNC is a terrific reporter and a wonderful colleague,” State Department correspondent Rich Edson wrote.

“I’ll forever stand by @JenGriffinFNC,” said senior news producer Rocco Aloe.

“Jennifer Griffin is all you want in a journalist and a friend,” wrote senior field producer Yonat Friling. “She’s smart, courageous, she strives for professionalism and the truth. I am so proud to be her colleague.”

................Griffin, who joined Fox News in 1999, is one of the network’s most prized and distinguished journalists. In October 2019, after news anchor Shepard Smith, a frequent critic of the president, abruptly resigned, the network cited Griffin as evidence that a robust journalistic corps remained, despite external skepticism. “Tell that to Jennifer Griffin, whose report just went viral this week,” a spokesperson said at the time. “Or Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum or Catherine Herridge, who have all done outstanding journalism.” (Herridge soon left the network for CBS News.)

“Jennifer is a straight shooter and always pursues reporting with the goal of uncovering the truth,” former Fox News foreign correspondent Conor Powell, who worked with Griffin, told The Washington Post on Saturday. “Unlike a lot of ‘news people’ at Fox News, she never was worried about being on the wrong side of a story and angering the opinion shows.” 

...

Anchor Neil Cavuto then endorsed her work. “Jennifer, you are a very good reporter,” he told her. Then, addressing his audience, he said, “She’s pretty scrupulous when it comes to making sure all the i’s are dotted, all the t’s are crossed.”

People Can’t Get Over Mike Pence’s Latest ‘Ridiculous’ Praise Of Donald Trump

“Do you think these guys wake up in the morning and say to themselves ‘What is the craziest thing I can say in defense of the boss today?’” wrote journalist Mehdi Hasan. Comedian Dom Joly had the best tweet in response: To know that somebody so shallow can say something so vapid about someone so empty


Not everyone who subscribes to parts of the QAnon mass delusion believes in all of it. Some people could be sharing the material in ignorance of its true depth. Others could be using it to carry out identity signaling — disenfranchised people seizing on a bizarre narrative to show that they are "Patriots," regardless of the content of the messages. And with such a mess of entry points, someone could very well pass along parts of the QAnon narrative without realizing what the whole entails — just look at the recent false rumors that Wayfair was involved in sex trafficking.

The copydesk wanted to focus on QAnon for this issue of Quibbles & Bits to emphasize that there’s more to the convoluted entity than the average reader might realize. The term we’ve decided to use — a mass or collective delusion — is not ideal; delusion could be interpreted as too sympathetic to Q believers, or as taking away their agency. (The word could also be related to a mental disorder, though that is not the context in which we’re using it here.) And, fair warning, you might still see conspiracy theory in a BuzzFeed News headline about QAnon since headlines and tweets aren’t conducive to nuance.

But delusion does illustrate the reality better than conspiracy theory does. We are discussing a mass of people who subscribe to a shared set of values and debunked ideas, which inform their beliefs and actions. The impact of QAnon is an example of “the real-world consequences of our broken information ecosystem,” the New York Times recently wrote. The proliferation of this delusion is in part a media literacy problem — which has become a reality problem.


CONCLUSION:

Between the lines: Immigration has slipped significantly from 2016 in terms of Americans' priorities heading into the election — and most Americans do not support the construction of a physical border wall or hard-line immigration policies, per an NPR-Ipsos poll from late July.

  • Immigration fell to 12th place in terms of most worrisome topics, the poll found. COVID-19 commanded a clear lead, followed by health care, political polarization, racial injustice and crime or gun violence.
  • Still, the generic idea of a barrier that can protect people from elements they fear can provide comfort to people, which could potentially be converted to loyalty and votes.


Sept. 4, 2020

. story is not true. It has become a very dangerous time when anonymous sources are believed above all else, & no one knows their motivation. This is not journalism - It is activism. And it is a disservice to the people of our great nation.
... and we should believe Melania the immigrant birther? Listen to her below:



... and he's making it even worse 

‘What does Putin have on him?’ Shock after Trump gives Russia a pass on Alexei Navalny poisoning





Cadet Bone Spurs: The Laddie Protest Too Much, Methinks 
Click above to enlarge


Fox News correspondent confirmed story on Trump’s comments about troops on Twitter  (below)— but then broadcast on-air that it was ‘debunked’

Click below to view

Jennifer Griffin is a Fox News national security correspondent


click below to enlarge
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Excerpts:

The optimist in me believes the former. The realist in me believes the latter, which is due, I think, to a huge chunk of the country desiring to believe Trump’s lies. It is also due, I think, to a smaller chunk not knowing it is being lied to. Even if we fail to communicate what’s surely the truth (“losers” and “suckers” fits Trump’s profile), we must try nevertheless. (The Post and the AP have confirmed details of Goldberg’s story.) We must try getting beneath and in-between layers of fact to expose a darker truth: a malicious contempt for doing the right thing for its own sake. He isn’t just immoral. He isn’t just amoral. His one commitment is anti-morality. He is hostile to anyone, anywhere, genuinely moved to act morally. But even this, I suspect, gives Trump too much credit. We keep failing to appreciate just how petty this man is.
.....

We should appreciate good people interpreting Trump’s word-salad in good faith. But truth demands less generosity. This president was a serial draft dodger. Everyone knows about the “bone spurs” that kept him from fighting in Vietnam. To him, failing to get out of doing something you don’t want to do means you’re a loser. Genuinely believing in values like patriotism, duty, and honor means you’re a sucker. All that matters is money and power. Anyone telling you different is trying to scam you. Spending a day at Arlington paying respects to the dead was surely confounding to someone who has never once experienced the ennobling uplift of moral action.

Trying to understand Trump risks giving him too much credit, though. I don’t think Trump cares. I don’t think he cares enough to expend the energy to wonder why people would behave with no expectation of constant praise or instant reward. My most skeptical take is the hardest to swallow, because it’s so hard to imagine a grown man being so petty, but here it is: Goldberg said the president cancelled his visit to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery because “he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain” and because American war dead are “losers” and “suckers.” That’s two causes, simultaneously. I don’t think that’s right. I think Trump’s first and only concern was his hair. I think he knew his hair would not be a good enough reason to cancel, so he searched for a “good” reason—and decided to malign fallen heroes. I suspect, to his way of thinking, fallen war heroes are nothing compared to his hair. That’s so petty as to be so inconceivable that no one is seeing the truth in plain sight.






Even for those of us who are all too wearily familiar with President Donald Trump’s disdain for journalists, his administration’s latest attack on the free press is a bit of a jaw-dropper.

In a heretofore unpublicized recent memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has been a lifeline and a voice for American troops since the Civil War. The memo orders the publisher of the news organization (which now publishes online as well as in print) to present a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes” by Sept. 15  including "specific timeline for vacating government owned/leased space worldwide.”

“The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020,” writes Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., the memo’s author. 


WATCH: Lawrence O’Donnell stuns Rachel Maddow with the latest update on Trump’s military scandal






Max Boot is a conservative  Washington Post columnist. Click above to read replies to his tweet.


Trump and the Attack of the Invisible Anarchists Paywall

Lurid fantasies about urban hellscapes are all he has left.


Sept. 3, 2020



Conclusion: The president’s intense focus on these matters during the final stretch of the 2020 presidential race—and at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is still raging, the U.S. economy is still gutted, and racial and civil unrest continue to swell around the country—has mystified some longtime Republican operatives, even as many of Trump’s own top advisers have given up on attempting to rein in their candidate’s excesses.

“It’s not a wise use of time, no,” said Doug Heye, a veteran GOP strategist and a former top official at the Republican National Committee who has publicly noted his antipathy for the president. “But I think we’ve seen several years ago that Donald Trump is not going to pivot… We said all these things wouldn’t work for Trump, but he won. Proving that negative is hard to do a second time around. His answer to everything is, ‘You said I shouldn’t do these things and I wouldn’t win if I did these things, and I won.’”

Still, some of Trump’s own senior staffers seem ready to turn the page on the president’s recent tantrums. Reached for comment on this story Wednesday night, the Trump campaign’s communications director Tim Murtaugh sent along a 122-word comment. However, none of it addressed the mental-health-related nature of the inquiry, and instead stayed on what was supposed to be Trump’s message this week: mainly, blasting the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee for being “too weak” in the face of “riots staged by left-wing criminals in Democrat-run cities” and “the radicals who are in charge of his party and his campaign.”



Conclusion

There is, in short, not just an asymmetry in morality at work here, but an asymmetry to the force of the property claims. Donald Trump has devoted his tenancy in the White House to the proposition that certain people belong in America, to all of it, to any of it, and that belonging is nine-tenths of the law. As such, they may do what they need to secure those claims (hence his pardons of the grifters and the looters). Any other people never belonged here; they perch here only at his sufferance. That’s why he performed ritual acts of welcoming new citizens and reformed criminals at the Republican National Convention—because he wants to emphasize that who belongs is up to him. It’s why anyone who is anywhere he wants to be (including Lafayette Square) is a “looter.” He is deciding who belongs and who doesn’t belong. And he is telling anyone who agrees with him to clear the streets and the parks as they deem fit. And because this has scrambled our ideas about who is an invader and who is a local, this is getting resolved, suddenly, on the streets. And as a consequence, we may not be able to look one another in the eye again for a long, long time




This tweet is by a former FBI agent





As John Gartner said in 2017 everything you need to know about Trump you can learn from his tweets.
Click each tweet to read replies.
Click image below to enlarge sample of replies:





Click to enlarge below

#UNFIT made the front page of the WaPo (below right)

The documentary “#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” states its thesis, unambiguously, in its title: That the current occupant of the White House is not fit for office, because, as argued by the film’s subjects, his malignant narcissism and other disqualifying psychological disorders. The talking heads include, chiefly, psychologist John Gartner of A Duty to Warn and attorney George Conway of the Lincoln Project, two anti-Trump groups. (Conway recently announced that he was stepping back from the Lincoln Project.) Directed by filmmaker Dan Partland, “#Unfit” is lively and often as funny as it is frightening, as it attempts to do a few things: Explain to the viewer how we got here, why it’s a dangerous place to be and how we can extricate ourselves from this morass. That last part is also encapsulated in a single word: Vote. Unrated. Available on various streaming platforms. Contains some strong language. 84 minutes.


Another  review of #UNFIT: John Gartner, Baltimore psychologist, takes his ‘duty to warn’ about Trump to film - A review from his hometown newspaper.

#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump documentary review: science backs up the horror we can all plainly see

by MaryAnn Johanson


Conclusion:

I know it’s a pipe dream, but I wish that every American would see this movie before Election Day. Anti-Trumpers might not need any more convincing to vote against him, but it’s still absolutely worth getting an in-depth understanding of precisely why Trump is such a threat to the entire world, not just the United States. (It’s not merely that we feel he is dangerous. There is solid scientific and medical evidence that he is.) And pro-Trumpers desperately need to appreciate that he does not give the tiniest shit about his voters, because he is incapable of caring about them. Trump supporters need to understand that he will never do anything that will benefit them, that he is using them for his own ends.

None of this is pleasant to hear, but if Trump goes down in flames, he will be taking all of us — including those who voted for him, those who turn out at rallies for him, those who buy and wear his red hats — with him. It will be the only reaction he is capable of. The prospect is beyond terrifying, and I wonder if it is even avoidable, as by voting him out. In this respect, #Unfit is the most important movie of the year, and the scariest.


Below: There's no one-size-fits-all psychiatric diagnosis for those who believe Qanon conspiracy theories. However, almost all of the the people of normal or above IQ have one or more diagnoses you can find in the DSM-5.



From Christianity Today: Excerpt - A pro-life spokeswoman quit her job rather than endorse Donald Trump for another term in the White House.

Trump has called himself the most pro-life president in history. But Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director for Ohio Right to Life, decided she couldn’t support him and couldn’t keep working for the prominent pro-life group as it prepared to help him win re-election.

She resigned June 30. The next morning, she woke up and felt like she could finally breathe again.

“You learn to hold certain things in tension, and for me it came to a point where I couldn’t anymore,” Krider said. “I’ve been grateful for the things Trump has accomplished and skeptical of his pro-life views.

“Always, there has been this undercurrent where he just does not respect women and he does not like black and brown people. I can’t look at any of his behavior and see evidence of the Holy Spirit in his life. Nothing about his words or actions are kind or gentle or faithful or full of self-control.”


Sept. 2, 2020
I posted all my Covid stories here,  13 of them now:




Excepts:

Last week, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise tried to use my computer-assisted voice to rob me of my agency, too. In a video aimed at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, shared his team’s manipulated footage of an interview I conducted with Biden to make it appear I had said words that I never uttered, in an effort to distort Biden’s views and harm his electoral prospects.
...........
Now, I am of course grateful I can still speak, even if very slowly, using eye-gaze technology: A camera tracks the movements of my eyes on a screen-based keyboard, and then the resulting text is converted into speech by a synthetic voice generator. But because of my Hawking-esque voice, it’s particularly easy for others to manipulate what I say. Scalise’s team just went the extra mile in seeming to find the exact voice generator I use when they whipped up the extra words meant to damn Biden.
......

In that context, “deepfakes” such as the one Scalise posted aren’t missteps. They’re disinformation test balloons that should put every single one of us on alert. If they can without consequence make it seem as though I said something I didn’t, what else can they do? What else will they do? What fearmongering words can they put in Biden’s mouth in a video doctored to tip the election?

I’m not sure I know how to solve this problem. The collective outrage that got the video stricken from Twitter is a good place to start; that must not let up. Another might be looking at the polarizing effects of Facebook, where the video remains, gathering views.

That’s just the beginning, though. We need far more aggressive action across the board to identify and stop the spread of false information, because more is coming. But I can’t do that on my own. Every letter I’m typing here is difficult, each sentence its own hurdle, and my words aren’t enough. What we desperately need is others ready to speak their own — not speak false ones for me.




History entails that some of probably the most highly effective figures to encourage and form the long run that emerged had a narcissistic trait. Narcissism, an inflated sense of self-importance, impacts extra males than females and it stems from an unknown origin however doubtless entails each genetic and environmental components. The phenomenon is mostly noticed in tyrants, who exercised their energy mercilessly. Narcissism can also be a labeled psychological dysfunction beneath DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Handbook), which was acknowledged by Freud as the toughest persona sort to analyze. In 1964, psychiatrist Erich Fromm acknowledged a pathology of narcissism often known as ‘malignant narcissism’.

The syndrome is characterised by narcissistic persona dysfunction (NPD) together with delinquent options, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. A malignant narcissist thinks he has one thing inherently particular, with signs that embrace an absence of conscience, a psychological want for energy, and a way of significance. ‘Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump’, a brand new documentary by Dan Partland that analyzes the conduct of the 45th President of the US, touches upon the psychological phenomenon. Proficient psychologists featured in the movie clarify how malignant narcissism is accountable for nice inhumanity all through history, and like its signs to Trump’s conduct. 

Read about five other malignant narcissists in history.

And then there's Donald Trump:


Can anything change pro-Trump minds? Conclusion:

It is telling that Trump’s strategy for winning reelection doesn’t seem to be a new message or a new plan for controlling the coronavirus or restarting the economy. Instead, he’s running a racialized campaign against protests, riots, and disorder — even though that disorder is happening on his watch as president. “The GOP has no policies so they deal entirely in grievance and identity,” says Lilliana Mason, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. That has been enough for Trump to hold a bit more than 40 percent of the electorate. But a bit more than 40 percent of the electorate is not a winning coalition, and it is far less than a capable leader might now hold. 

So perhaps, compared to a hypothetical Trump response that was commanding and competent, the political cost of the path Trump followed has been significant, and it may lose him the presidency and discredit him in history. It’s worth remembering that even Herbert Hoover got 40 percent of the vote in the 1932 presidential election — more than three years into the Great Depression and not far off from where Trump is polling now. Sometimes it’s easier for the country in general, and partisans in particular, to admit a leader’s failures after he’s lost than it is when he — and they — are still fighting to keep power. 

But still: Forty-two percent of Americans look at Trump and believe he’s doing a good job, or at least a good enough one. And nothing they’ve seen over the past year has shaken that view.






During the first night of the Republican National Convention, the word "cocaine" started to trend on Twitter, and not because there was any breaking news about the infamous party drug. No, it's because many of the speakers at the convention brought a hyperactive bombast to the proceedings that was highly reminiscent of the effects of cocaine and other illegal stimulants. Watching some of the speeches, in fact, felt quite a bit like sitting through that scene in "Boogie Nights" where a menacing half-naked cocaine dealer brandishes a gun while pacing and ranting to 1980s hits like "Sister Christian" and "Jessie's Girl." The only thing missing was a dude in the corner setting off fireworks randomly to keep people even more on edge. 

In particular, Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, along with his girlfriend, former Fox News host and current Trump campaign factotum Kimberly Guilfoyle, delivered speeches that caused widespread speculation on social media about the use of chemical assistance. 

"Don't let the Democrats take you for granted. Don't let them step on you. Don't let them destroy your families, your lives and your future. Don't let them kill future generations because they told you and brainwashed you and fed you lies that you weren't good enough," Guilfoyle ranted in a speech so hyperventilating and ridiculous that Mother Jones paired it with North Korean propaganda music. 

Donald Trump told Sarah Sanders she would have to “go to North Korea and take one for the team”, after Kim Jong-un winked at the then White House press secretary during a summit in Singapore in June 2018.

“Kim Jong-un hit on you!” a delighted Trump joked, according to Sanders’ new memoir. “He did! He fucking hit on you!”


Sept. 1, 2020


Below: From Salon

While there is no smoking gun that would indicate the Trump administration is covering up that he had a stroke, such an event would certainly be on par for an administration with a tenuous grasp on truth. In any case, the lack of direct evidence hasn't stopped a raft of public speculation. Salon spoke to medical experts about what a "mini-stroke" really is, what it does, and whether such speculation was baseless or not.

"We do not use the term 'mini-stroke' for a variety of reasons," Dr. Larry Goldstein, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Kentucky and co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute and UK Neuroscience Research Priority Area, told Salon by email. "The medical term is TIA — transient ischemic attack. These are episodes in which the blood supply to a portion of the brain is briefly interrupted causing the same symptoms as a stroke that resolve, generally within minutes and with no evidence of relevant permanent injury on brain imaging such as an MRI or CT scan."


Trump Spouts New Conspiracy Theories In Bizarre Fox News Interview....... and more:


Trump labeled ‘elderly relative and worse in tweet replies in cognitive decline’ after ‘delusional’ Fox News interview, and yes, flks, there's even more:


Excerpt: The claim about the flight matches a viral Facebook post from June 1 that falsely claimed, “At least a dozen males got off the plane in Boise from Seattle, dressed head to toe in black.” The post, by an Emmett, Idaho, man, warned residents to “Be ready for attacks downtown and residential areas,” and claimed one passenger had “a tattoo that said Antifa America on his arm.”

That post was shared over 3,000 times on Facebook, and other pages from Idaho quickly added their own spin to it, like the Idaho branch of the far-right militia group 3 Percenters.

One post claimed that “Antifa has sent a plane load of their people” and that the Payette County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it. Within days, that version of the rumor picked up enough steam in Idaho Facebook groups that the Payette County Sheriff’s Office had to release a statement insisting that the viral rumor was “false information.” 






Full-blown paranoid: Even Laura Ingraham knew this was Cray-cray




President Trump visited Lake Charles, Louisiana recently, where Hurricane Laura made landfall. After meeting with emergency officials, he said, "Come here fellas, I want a little power." He then sat at a table and started signing pieces of paper, offering them to Lake Charles officials. As he handed the small pieces of paper out, he said, “Here, sell this tonight on eBay, you’ll get ten thousand,” “Sell it tonight on eBay, ten thousand,” and “If I put your name down, it loses a lot of value. So just sell it tonight on eBay." The handing out of autographs was recorded on video. 

Trump has bragged about the value of his signature before and claimed government officials were selling his autograph at a profit. At the signing of a preliminary trade deal with China in January 2020, Trump remarked, "I sign things, and the next night I see them on eBay," adding, "Sometimes it's the senators and the congressmen that do it."


More international reviews for #UNFIT which is streaming starting today. If you've been keeing up with posts about Trump's dangerous psychopatholgy  this won't be new to you, if not you MUST watch #UNFIT.



Above to read article, click below to enlarge image:







It's just a rhetorical question, but who even thinks like this? It is barely a joke when Trump says it because we know he means that they are really going to die. We know he hopes they die.  Click tweet for replies.




The author  most recently published of “The Four Domains of Mental illness: An Alternative to the DSM-5” and “Trump’s Pathological Presidency: A Malignant Narcissist Subverts Truth, Justice and the American Way.”







Quote: President Trump’s favorability stayed flat after the Republican National Convention, as a majority of the country continues to view his handling of the COVID-19 crisis negatively, a poll released Sunday found. 

The ABC News-Ipsos poll determined that 31 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Trump after the GOP convention, representing no significant change from his 32 percent favorability a week prior after the Democratic National Convention.

The president’s favorability among Republicans dropped 4 percentage points since last week.   From The Hill



After today this quote from the Kristof Saturday OpEd is unfortunately dated:

“Right-wing attacks and plots account for the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of right-wing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years,” the Center for Strategic & International Studies concluded after examining terror plots in the United States from 1994 to May of this year. “Right-wing extremists perpetrated two-thirds of the attacks and plots in the United States in 2019 and over 90 percent between January 1 and May 8, 2020.”

The anti-fascist protesters known as antifa have committed violent acts but aren’t known to have ever killed anyone, while right-wing extremists have killed hundreds. Just a few days ago, a Trump supporter, Kyle H. Rittenhouse, allegedly shot two protesters dead in Kenosha, Wis. One can’t help wondering if Rittenhouse, an impressionable 17-year-old living in Illinois, was galvanized to take a gun and drive to Kenosha because of panic promoted by Trump and Fox News.

After fulminating about threats from Black Lives Matter protesters, Tucker Carlson of Fox News seemed to defend the Kenosha killings, saying, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

At the Republican convention, Vice President Mike Pence warned voters, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” and cited a federal officer, Dave Underwood, “killed during the riots in Oakland.” But the man charged with killing Underwood was Steven Carrillo, a follower of the extremist right-wing Boogaloo movement.



EXCERPT: 

KENOSHA, Wis. — A year before his shooting of a Black man reignited nationwide racial justice protests, local police officer Rusten Sheskey gave a lighthearted interview to the Kenosha News about his life as a bicycle cop.

He discussed his love of bicycle racing and described his job as a “customer service” role, with citizens footing the bill for a helpful police force.

“It’s a huge responsibility, and I really like trying to help the people,” Sheskey said. “We may not be able to make a situation right, or better, but we can maybe make it a little easier for them to handle during that time.”

When former neighbor Debbie DeShong heard Sheskey was the officer at the center of the case, she thought of the boy who joined her daughter on hands and knees in her suburban Wisconsin driveway, drawing together in bright-colored chalk as preteens.

She pored over every video of the incident she could find, trying to understand why her daughter’s best friend when they graduated from high school 13 years ago might be the lone officer to open fire into Blake’s back, as his young children watched. He must’ve been protecting someone, she reasoned.

“The person didn’t stop,” DeShong said of Blake. “When I see four officers pull their gun at the same time, I know something’s going on that people didn’t see. If there were kids in the car, any chance of that man hurting those kids, I could see him doing anything he could to protect those kids. He’s not going to let somebody hurt somebody.”

DeShong, who lives several doors down from Sheskey’s childhood home in nearby Waukesha, Wis., said Thursday that she believed Sheskey had already been convicted of being a violent racist in the court of public opinion and worries that legal consequences could soon follow for him. That description of the 31-year-old officer as racist couldn’t be further from the truth, said DeShong, who worked in the attendance office at Sheskey’s high school.

“He wanted to be a cop so he could serve,” DeShong said, adding that he worked part time as a lifeguard in high school. “I’ve known him his entire life, and it’s just not him to be a racist. It’s not his family. It’s just how they are. He’s not a cruel person, not at all.”

Asked whether she feared Sheskey would soon be arrested for his actions, DeShong began to cry and turned toward her home, waving her hands above her head as if to say, “Enough.”

My thought: This woman could be presenting what may be the likely defense for the shooting. If the officer that shot him believed that he was endangering the children in the car he could claim the shooting was justifed. HB





Below: This tweet was republished in at least one article. 
I agree that psychologically #TrumpIsUnwell #TrumpIsNotWell, that he is #UNFIT, dangerous, and that he shows signs of a balance condition as evidence by the blurry video in NH, but it doesn't justify a photo that appears to be photoshopped (compare the background of each).
empa

Sunday Gossip: Melania has been in the news because of the soon to be published book and the deadly look she gave Ivanka at the RNC. So of course we know here at halbrown.org that you really want to indulge in this Quilty pleasure:

When it comes down to it, her primary concern is finding a place that’s suitable for Barron Trump. “Melania is thinking about where would be the safest place to live for her and Barron and how she will enjoy a more quiet life,” our source went on to say. “Divorce is very much a real option, and Melania is holding her breath until his term is over so she can make all the best decisions about her and Barron’s future.

The worst case scenario for Melania involves Donald getting voted into another term in office, a prospect that she can barely stand. “However, if Donald gets re-elected, she will be devastated,” our source continued. “Melania simply can not stand another four years under this pressure, and scrutiny.” We reported earlier how Melania was upset with Donald over how he handled John McCain’s death. “Donald’s pettiness and ability to hold a grudge are probably the characteristics Melania dislikes the most about him,” a source close to the first lady told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Donald thinks it makes him appear strong when he never wavers and always holds firm in his opinion, but she believes the exact opposite and thinks the way he handled the John McCain situation is the perfect example.”

2018: Melania Trump ‘Really Unhappy’ OverDonald’s ‘Disrespectful’ Marriage JokeAbout Her Leaving Him

And finally, a musical interlude from Radiohead, you can decide who the witch they are burning is:



Aug. 29, 2020






The latest battlefield in a heated presidential campaign: Front yards bearing Biden signs

Across Pennsylvania — especially in rural communities — tens of thousands of yard signs supporting Joe Biden have popped up as his fans try to replicate how President Trump showed his growing support in the state when he was campaigning in 2016. And, just as quickly, some of those signs have been vanishing.

It usually happens in the dark of night, local Democrats say, but sometimes in daylight. Sometimes entire streets or neighborhoods are cleared. Pro-Biden Facebook groups have devoted long threads to strategies for deterring sign snatchers — one suggestion involves clear hair gel and pesky glitter, another electrifying the metal frame with a car battery..........

...... 

Just as the first signs were being delivered, Pennsylvania Democratic Party Rural Caucus Chairman Terry Noble said he caught three young boys on bikes — one wearing a “Don’t tread on me” T-shirt — with a ripped-up Biden sign. He snapped their photo and tried to explain that the country accommodates a diversity of opinions and that “people have the right to be heard in that debate and in that discussion.”

The easiest option, many have advised, is to put the sign inside a window or bring it in at night — or order a flag or banner that can be mounted high off the ground. Others have invested in motion-activated cameras or have placed signs within sight of doorbell cameras. One woman stapled her sign to a porch railing, and another positioned hers in a poison ivy patch.

And then there are suggestions about what to spread or spray on their signs to prevent theft or punish the thief: ground-up ghost peppers that irritate bare skin. A mixture of peppermint oil and Vicks. Fox, deer or coyote urine purchased at a sporting goods store. Slippery olive oil or grease. Vaseline and cayenne pepper. Vaseline and glitter. Vaseline, Tabasco sauce and glitter. Vaseline and pink glitter. Honey and glitter. Dog poop and glitter.





— Donald Trump wanted his inauguration to look like a North Korean military parade. When discussing the parade with Winston Wolkoff and Ivanka during the transition, Trump said: “I want tanks and choppers. Make it look like North Korea,” he told them. Winston Wolkoff wrote: “He really wanted goose-stepping troops and armored tanks? That would break tradition and terrify half the country.” For the inauguration, Mark Burnett, the creator of “The Apprentice,” the television show which paved the way for Trump’s popularity, also wanted to “light the sky with drones, and Donald and Melania loved the idea.” No drones ended up being used to spice up the inauguration — they could have posed a safety risk. From: 

8 juicy details from the new Melania Trump tell-all book



Trump on his visit just to the storm ravaged state said about Louisiana "it's been a great state for me. (For me!)

Breaking: Watch this story


Link to Bandy Lee interview. Above: Just a moment of zen in a lovely setting

It looks like the Mary Trump book is getting to Trump. His tweets prove her points about his personality. Click below to enlarge.
From his older sister:

This is the kind and caring grandfather, Fred Trump 

 Quote: (Mary Trump) followed up the release of her book with the release of audio recordings in which President Trump's older sister, a retired federal judge, said her brother "has no principles."  "All he wants to do is appeal to his base," Maryanne Trump Barry reportedly says in the audio. "He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this."published more audio Friday, which includes Barry hitting Ivanka Trump for an Instagram post around the start of the Trump administration's policy separating families at the U.S. border. 

"That damn Ivanka puts this picture of the Madonna and Child on Instagram when the big news of the day was how kids are being ripped from their families," Barry says.  From The Hill


The Lincoln Project is asking a serious question. here. Click to watch video.

Maureen "Red" Dowd is back to the usual spot-on snarky form that prompted me to subscribe to the Times when they put up their paywall.

Excerpts: As long as the Trumps were hijacking the White House for their convention finale, they may as well have built a golden escalator from the Truman Balcony to the South Lawn.

That way, Ivanka could have made her power move with true Trumpian flair. In every other sense, she went for it. With her blond mane rippling, she was full-on MAGA, shoving the amped-up Don Jr. and fortissimo Kimberly Guilfoyle out of the way and positioning herself as the heir to her father’s political dynasty.

.

Ivanka must realize now that she and Jared can never go back to their life as New York society darlings. So why not double down on Washington and lay the groundwork for a presidential run of her own?

.

Her speech Thursday night was about him but it was also pointedly about “I.”

.

Yes, there she was, daddy’s little girl, on her imaginary escalator. The pungent aroma of the S.N.L. Ivanka perfume, “Complicit,” wafted across the lawn on the balmy night. All the dynamics that make Donald Trump’s administration, and the way he runs the country, so chaotic — the backbiting, the warring factions, the grifting, the neglect, the power grabs — were echoed in the family portrait on display this past week.

The most dramatic tableau Thursday night was not the president’s somniferous speech, but Ivanka’s scorching moment with the Day-Glo-garbed Melania.

After her speech, the first daughter strode past the first lady to greet her father. Melania, who had first smiled broadly at Ivanka, suddenly went stony.

The exchange was particularly loaded given the context: Melania’s former BFF and aide, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, is beginning to dish on her new tell-all about the first lady, which includes accounts of conversations in which Melania mocks Ivanka.

It has been reported that Melania calls Ivanka “the princess” — Trump singled out his favorite child in his convention speech — and Ivanka has reportedly called Melania “the portrait.”

After many tugs of war, Melania has resigned herself to the fact that Jared and Ivanka run the White House. The basic view in the building is that Ivanka has wrestled Melania to a draw.

.

On Ivanka’s other flank is Don Jr., who was never as favored by their father but who has morphed from family dunce to one of Trumpworld’s most effective battering rams.

The Trump kids’ speeches could have been given by anyone, they were so devoid of humanizing anecdotes.

.

With hilarious euphemisms, the family also painted the potty-mouthed patriarch’s outrageous behavior and degrading language as simply colorful.

“We all know Donald Trump makes no secrets about how he feels about things,’’ Melania said. “Total honesty is what we as citizens deserve from our president. Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking.’’ And that, she said with a straight face, is because he’s “an authentic person.”

Ivanka chimed in: “Dad, people attack you for being unconventional, but I love you for being real.”

It was impossible for this to ring true, given that the president’s own sister was heard describing Trump in secret recordings made by his rogue niece, Mary Trump, as “a brat” and a liar with “no principles.” (Or, as Trump’s children would say, a totally honest people’s champion with strong convictions.)

In New Hampshire on Friday night, the president considered his dynastic possibilities. “I want to see the first woman president also,” he said, but called Kamala Harris “not competent.”

“They’re all saying, ‘We want Ivanka,’’’ he said.

Aug. 28, 2020







Above: Notice how just the way he tries to cover when his misspeaks he pretended that his losing his balance was an act.


















RIGHT NOW

A public health laboratory in Nevada reported the first confirmed case of coronavirus reinfection in the United States, and the first known in the world to have caused severe symptoms.



Aug. 27, 2020

I didn't watch any of the RNC, but from what I gather this pretty much captures what it was all about: Click image to enlarge. Why is Stormy Daniels there?



The word "dossier" jumps out in this story: White House threatens journalist with a ‘dossier’ over report exposing Trump’s self-dealing

Can it be lost on any of use that the Steele dossier was anywhere from almost entirely true or if the pee incident really happened 100% true.  If the White House really wants to put together a damning dossier on Washington Post reporter David Fahrentholt want to bet it will be 100% fake?

Excerpt: During his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump promised that he would “completely isolate” himself from the Trump Organization if elected president. But the Washington Post and other media outlets have done a great deal of reporting on the many ways in which Trump’s properties — from Mar-a-Lago in South Florida to his hotels and golf resorts around the world — have profited from his presidency. Some of that reporting can be found in an article that was written by reporters David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey and Joshua Partlow and published by the Post on Thursday morning, and one of the article’s revelations is that a White House spokesman resented the Post’s investigation so much that he was willing to threaten Fahrenthold with a “dossier.”

This tweet by Manuel Roig-Franza, author of 'The Rise of Marco Rubio,' and Washington Post former Foreign staff, Mex
ico bureau chief, now National WaPo Miami bureau chief sums it up:

The most recent Lincoln Project ad:



It's easier to cut off a Zoom interview than walk out of an interview. Watch video:



“We are going to call for a drug test, (before the date) ” Trump told Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York in an Oval Office interview. “It wasn't that he was Winston Churchill (in the primary debates), because he wasn't, but it was a normal, boring debate. You know, nothing amazing happened.”
.........................

"We know it’s unbelievable to Donald Trump, but Joe Biden can speak honestly without a shot of truth serum," Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told Fox News."We’d like to see Trump do the same."

There is a reference to John Gartner's 2019 USA Today article following this story.


Donald Trump Jr. has denied that he prepared for his big Republican National Convention speech by snorting cocaine, blaming his glassy eyes and sweaty forehead on unflattering lighting conditions. Appearing on Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning, the president’s oldest son was asked about social-media speculation that he might have been high when addressing the RNC on Monday night. “I guess there must have been something with the lighting, but they started doing this trending thing,” he said, before bellowing the mock headline: “DONALD TRUMP JR.’S ON COCAINE.” Trump went on to repeat a joke he’d made on Twitter a day earlier and apparently believed to be very funny, saying that people accusing him of taking coke must have him “confused” with Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who has previously spoken openly about living with drug addiction.




Below: 

Trump had public meltdown over missed phone call from Putin, former British No 10 aide says

‘If Putin wants a call with me you just put him through,’ US president yelled according to Theresa May’s former chief of staff


Tear gas sprayed on Portland protesters revealed to contain toxic metal compounds

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality is concerned about environmental fallout from the frequent gassing

Three more positive reviews of #UNFIT - one is by the well known critic Richard Roeper.

Above: Richard Roeper is an American columnist and film critic for The Chicago Sun-Times. He co-hosted the television series At the Movies with Roger Ebert from 2000 to 2008, serving as the late Gene Siskel's successor.[2][3] From 2010 to 2014, he co-hosted The Roe and Roeper Show with Roe Conn on WLS-AM.

Excerpt:

We can’t help ourselves. No matter where we sit on the political and social spectrum, we can’t resist the urge to share certain articles or tweets or newscast footage with our friends on the other side of the fence, with a note attached saying something like, “If THIS doesn’t change your mind, nothing will!”

Spoiler alert: 99 times out of 100, nothing will.

I’m sure some viewers of the sharp and cohesive and illuminating documentary “#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump” will try to persuade their MAGA friends or associates to watch a film that makes a strong case President Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist plagued by narcissistic personality disorder, deep and rampant paranoia, decades of sadistic tendencies, and anti-social behavior. I’m not so sure any pro-Trumper who watches the film will actually have a change of heart about their man. Some might even sit through all the arguments and watch the presentations making the case Trump is unfit and react by saying: And that’s exactly why you’re all so scared of him and he’s the greatest president of all time!






Below: Headquartered in United Kingdom, Fintech ZOOM is an independent Fintech News (e-Payments, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Regulation, Investments, Companies and Digital Bank) publishing platform with a comprehensive ICO listing page, a dedicated real-time live cryptocurrency price ticker page and a jobs section with a reach of over a million users worldwide. They also have a positive review of
#UNFIT


Aug. 26, 2020

Here's why she's my favorite opinion writer:

But there's something incredibly creepy about the way Trump is using the grandeur and power of the White House itself (which is totally unethical, by the way — what else is new?) to greet average citizens so they can tell him to his face how wonderful he is and thank him for his greatness. These scripted episodes designed to make it seem like he actually has human feelings ended up being a loyalty ritual.

In Trump's meeting with frontline workers, a nurse was moved to say this:

I am so in awe of your leadership. Honestly, I know many people have said often interesting things but it takes a true leader to be able to ignore all that stuff and take what is right and not be offended by all the words being said. You really do show that positive spirit to us and as nurses I appreciate that.

The president smiled beatifically. In an earlier time he would have held out his hand for her to kiss his ring.

Even worse, in a similar meeting with a group of former overseas hostages who have been brought back to the U.S. during Trump's term, they went around in a circle to thank him for his benevolence in bringing them home. It wasn't about them. It was all about him as usual.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the meeting he took with victims of gun violence in which he had written notes reminding him to say, "I hear you"







If you were like me and didn't watch the RNC (I watched McLeod's Daughters) here's a good summary:

Aug. 25, 2020

THE TRUMP PLATFORM: MAGIC COVID CURES AND RACISM




Excerpt: Conway is almost as visible on television as Trump himself, and few members of the White House inner circle are more responsible for the hellscape we find ourselves in than she is. There's not a blurt, not a racist policy, not an unconstitutional trespass, not a crime against humanity that Conway hasn't managed to rationalize through her soulless, venom-spitting gift for toxic spin-doctoring. 

And yes, Kellyanne Conway is a master at what she does — she's an expert at turning every brain-searing nightmare from the Trump firehose of destruction into something that sounds almost innocent and commonplace. Her job is to make the deeply abnormal normal. She knows exactly how to play the whataboutism game — the dictum that "if everyone's doing [insert wrong thing], then no one is," perpetually justifying Trump's most horrendous actions by round-pegging her "alternative facts" into the softened, pliable skulls of Trump's fanboys.

Even before assuming a role at the White House, Conway was one of the architects of Trump's 2016 campaign, alongside Steve Bannon, who was recently indicted on charges of defrauding Trump's Red Hats out of millions. In that respect alone, she's a charter member of a small rogue's gallery of Trumpers who facilitated the ascendancy of American idiocracy: a nation on the verge of collapse, with hundreds of thousands dead, overseas dictators on speed-dial and a recession so calamitous that it has shattered all previous records.

But then something weird happened.....


Click below for tweet from Rick Klein, political director at ABC News and replies:







Aug. 24, 2020



What a tangled web

In January 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s former personal fixer Michael Cohen hired Liberty employee John Gauger to manipulate some polls to favor Trump ahead of his 2016 presidential campaign. Several high-level sources at the university told Politico that Gauger was accompanied by Trey Falwell when traveling to New York to collect payment from Cohen.

Cohen alleged he helped Jerry Falwell Jr. get rid of racy photos in someone else’s possession in 2015, Reuters reported in May 2019. Cohen said he then helped arrange Falwell’s endorsement of the president during his 2016 campaign.




It took me many steps to make the illustration for this tweet. Let's see how many people look at it. This all depends on the hashtags and if people retweet it.

Politico Magazine:


Conclusion: 


However long Trump remains in office, whatever damage he does to the GOP, Brooks  (Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute) believes it will be temporary. It’s the “fundamental truth” of a two-party system, he said, that coalitions are constantly shifting, parties are continually renewing, politicians are eternally looking for ways to adapt and survive.

“I actually find it kind of reassuring. With [George] McGovern in 1972, it was a colossal wipeout with a hugely mistaken candidate who was completely out of step with mainstream public opinion. Then in 1976, Jimmy Carter, an honest-to-goodness progressive, wins,” Brooks said. “I mean, Richard Nixon gets tossed out of office for blatant corruption. Everybody’s heading for the hills saying, ‘I never voted for him! I’m not a Republican!’ And six years later, Ronald Reagan wins and then gets reelected in one of the biggest landslides in history. These things can heal really, really fast.”

For Republicans, this might be the only silver lining of the summer of 2020. The meltdown we’re witnessing is foul and frightening. It could result in catastrophic losses up and down the ballot this fall. It could also result in Trump’s reelection. In either case, Republicans would do well to remember that he won’t be president forever, that his grip on the base will come and go, that win or lose there is urgent and essential work to do if the party is to be rescued from itself.

“Healthy parties need to build coalitions around a shared vision that speaks to all Americans,” Sasse told me. “Our current course is unsustainable. We’ve got a hell of a rebuilding ahead of us, whatever happens in November.


Can't get anymore Pants On Fire than this:

But Trump said it was impossible for him to lose unless the election were rigged. That’s simply not the case.

Our ruling

Trump said, "So this is just a way they’re trying to steal the election, and everybody knows that. Because the only way they’re going to win is by a rigged election."

An actual conspiracy to rig the results of a national election would require hundreds or thousands of people working together to commit felonies across many critical jurisdictions. Experts do not consider this feasible, nor do we.

Meanwhile, Trump is an incumbent facing several ongoing challenges: a major pandemic, high unemployment, civic unrest and future uncertainty. Those are significant political hurdles that would be challenging for any president. 

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

Below: Click to enlarge (not a link)



This is what people in the U.K. are seeing: RNC ready! Ivanka Trump leaves her D.C. home in a $2,000 floral dress and matching face mask as she prepares to join her father at the opening night of the Republican Convention - Read story in The Daily Mail

  • The 38-year-old was seen heading to work on Monday morning, wearing a white Lela Rose dress with a blue floral pattern 
  • She accessorized to match, donning a white face mask, white heeled sandals, and a $1,540 white Max Mara handbag 
  • Ivanka had her hair styled in chic waves, and modeled glamorous eye makeup




Here's a new review of #UNFIT (above) and another from Pakistan (below):




Scaramucci says Trump will display 'classic narcissism' at Republican convention


Excerpt:

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Sunday that his former boss will display his "classic narcissism" by dominating the stage every night during this week's Republican National Convention.

In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Scaramucci explained that the president wanted to show that he was capable of running his campaign for reelection without the aid of other high-profile Republicans.

"But, knowing his personality, he thinks it's the right way for him to do it. He thinks it's all about him, him all the time," Scaramucci said. "The classic narcissism is to annihilate everybody around you and then show everybody that you can do it all alone, you can do it by yourself."

"It's all about me and watch me. I'm going to win this without your help," the former White House aide continued. "And so I'm sure he was advised by some smart, somewhat courageous people inside the campaign not to do that. That level of saturation is beyond ridiculous."


Barr Reportedly Told Rupert Murdoch to “Muzzle” Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano

Excerpt:

Attorney General William Barr called on Rupert Murdoch to “muzzle” Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News senior judicial analyst who has been highly critical of President Donald Trump, according to a new book by CNN media reporter Brian Stelter. The book, which dives into the relationship between Trump and Fox News, is set to be released Tuesday but the Guardian obtained a copy.

Barr and Murdoch met at the billionaire media mogul’s New York home in October 2019. Journalists reported on the meeting at the time and there was lots of speculation on what the two discussed considering it took place amid the impeachment inquiry. Stelter claims in his upcoming book, Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth, that during this meeting the two talked about several issues, including media consolidation and criminal justice reform. But the meeting “was also about Judge Andrew Napolitano,” Stelter writes in the book.

Trump was once a big fan of Napolitano, who reportedly told friends the president had even considered him for a spot on the Supreme Court. But the New Jersey superior court judge who joined Fox News in 1998 later became a staunch Trump critic and he said that the way Trump tried to use the power of his office to get Ukraine’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden amounted to “both criminal and impeachable behavior.” When Trump was acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial, Napolitano called it a “personal victory” for the president but “a legal assault on the Constitution.”

Stelter, citing an unnamed source, says the president “was so incensed by the judge’s TV broadcasts that he had implored Barr to send Rupert a message in person … about ‘muzzling the judge’. [Trump] wanted the nation’s top law enforcement official to convey just how atrocious Napolitano’s legal analysis had been.” Although Barr’s plea to Murdoch “carried a lot of weight,” Stelter claims that “no one was explicitly told to take Napolitano off the air.” Napolitano did appear to suffer some consequences for his anti-Trump views though as he “found digital resources allocated elsewhere, saw a slot on a daytime show disappear, and was not included in coverage of the impeachment process,” notes the Guardian.

Another Review: “Unfit”: Trump’s Psychopathology, Why It Matters, and What We Should Do About It


Above: How the mighty Falwell keeps falling.



Bad news: Researchers Document First Case of Virus Reinfection four months after recovered from first infection

“An apparently young and healthy patient had a second case of Covid-19 infection which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode,” University of Hong Kong researchers said Monday in a statement.

The report is of concern because it suggests that immunity to the coronavirus may last only a few months in some people. And it has implications for vaccines being developed for the virus.

The 33-year-old man had only mild symptoms the first time, and no symptoms this time around. The reinfection was discovered when he returned from a trip to Spain, the researchers said, and the virus they sequenced closely matched the strain circulating in Europe in July and August.




Aug. 23, 2020

From friends in New Zealand
Click to enlarge


Not a link

Above and below: Not links
Here's a tweet I posted Trump's claim he is leading in the polls:

“You can end this controversy right now,” the Fox News host told Meadows. “Does the president disavow, does he condemn QAnon?”

“Well, listen, we don’t even know what it is,” Meadows said without immediately condemning the group. “I find it appalling that the media, when we have all of the important things that are going on, a list of top twenties, that the first question at a press briefing would be about QAnon that I had to actually Google to figure out what it is.”

What Chris Wallace should have done is looked it up on Google and opened Wikipedia (here) and then ask Meadows "What did you learn about it? Did you read the lengthy Wikipedia entry? I have it here if you'd like to take a look."



Trump ‘Has No Principles’ And ‘You Can’t Trust Him,’ His Sister Reportedly Said On Tape -  HuffPost summary 


You don't really have to read this story because the title conveys the meaning (two states with pot on the ballot he only won by a slim margin in 2016), but click anyway since the illustration is a cool animation:



My Comment took issue with just part of this article which otherwise makes sense:

I agree Trump behaves in ways that are currently self-defeating. He panders to a small base for his own narcissistic needs and he cannot win with them alone. I do not see any proofs in his history that he is very intelligent. I dismiss his having been admitted to Penn since there is strong evidence he paid for someone to take his SAT and I think he probably cheated on his exams and term papers there.

Based on my knowledge as a psychotherapist of how IQ is measured by standardized tests which included measures of logical and analytic thinking, reading comprehension, and general knowledge I think he as an average IQ. He has made bad decisions in his business career and this supports my contention. His willingness to trust people at Fox News and to believe conspiracy theories suggests lower than average IQ.

I do think he has had what could be called street smarts. However, truly street smart people change their behavior when it doesn't produce the desired long term results. Here's where the premise of this article contradicts the notion he is smart.

I don't know enough about Melania to say she is exceptionally smart though I see no signs in her history to suggest she is.


Nasty joke found on the same story comments:

Donald Trump and Barack Obama ended up at the same barber shop.

 
As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken.

As the barbers finished their shaves, the one who had Trump in his chair reached for the cologne.

 
But Donald was quick to stop him, s
aying, “No thanks. My wife, Melania, will smell that and think I’ve been in a brothel.”

The second barber turned to Barack and said, “How about you, Mr. Obama?” 


Barack replied, “Go right ahead, my wife Michelle doesn’t know what the inside of a brothel smells like.”




Aug. 22, 2020

All four nights of the Democratic National Committee Convention featured the Pledge of Alliance. And all four nights the words “under God” were included.

But President Donald Trump on Saturday falsely claimed the phrase was omitted. 

“The Democrats took the word GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democrat National Convention. At first I thought they made a mistake, but it wasn’t. It was done on purpose. Remember Evangelical Christians, and ALL, this is where they are coming from-it’s done. Vote Nov 3!” Trump tweeted early Saturday morning.

“That’s a misleading accusation. The central programming of the convention featured the entire pledge, complete with ‘under God,'” the Associated Press reported.


"In secretly recorded audio, President Trump’s sister says he has ‘no principles’ and ‘you can’t trust him’" It's worth a subscription to The Washington Post just for this. 


Excerpt:

Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I’ll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

Lamenting “what they’re doing with kids at the border,” she guessed her brother “hasn’t read my immigration opinions” in court cases. In one case, she berated a judge for failing to treat an asylum applicant respectfully.

“What has he read?” Mary Trump asked her aunt.

“No. He doesn’t read,” Barry responded.

In the weeks since Mary Trump’s tell-all book about her uncle has been released, she’s been questioned about the source of some of the information, such as her allegation that Trump paid a friend to take his SATs to enable him to transfer into the University of Pennsylvania. Nowhere in the book does she say that she recorded conversations with her aunt.

In response to a question from The Washington Post about how she knew the president paid someone to take the SATs, Mary Trump revealed that she had surreptitiously taped 15 hours of face-to-face conversations with Barry in 2018 and 2019. She provided The Post with previously unreleased transcripts and audio excerpts, which include exchanges that are not in her book.

Conclusion:

One of the most emotional conversations between Mary and her aunt occurred when they discussed the 1999 funeral of the family patriarch, Fred Sr., at Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue in New York City. During that ceremony, Donald spoke more about his own accomplishments than his father’s life, Barry said.

“Donald was the only one who didn’t speak about Dad,” Barry said. She told Mary that “I don’t want any of my siblings to speak at my funeral. And that’s all about Donald and what he did at Dad’s funeral. I don’t know. It was all about him.”

“I remember,” Mary responded.

Mary Trump said she has not talked to her aunt since the book was published. She said in the Post Live interview that she would not be surprised “if she never contacted me, and I think that’s fair. I understand why she would not want to.” 



RNC ‘split-screen convention for the ages’ with 2 hurricanes making landfall: ‘Basically God endorsing Joe Biden




Click above IMAGES to enlarge (not a link)




There were two villains in the mental health profession as far as I'm concerned. One was the head of the American Psychiatric Association 2016-2016, Maria Oquendo, and the other was Allan Francis. (I emailed him and he responded saying he'd made up his mind and he refused to consider my argument). I was glad to see Gleiberman begin his review with this: 

"The issue of whether Donald Trump is mentally unfit to be president — or, to put it more bluntly, whether he suffers from a serious mental disorder — isn’t one to be taken lightly, yet it sometimes seems destined to be tinged with comedy. In 2017, when speculation about Trump’s mental state was first reaching full boil, Allen Frances, the psychiatrist who wrote the criteria that defines narcissistic personality disorder, published a righteous letter in The New York Times insisting that Trump was not an example of that syndrome. I looked up the criteria on several prominent medical websites, and guess what? Trump meets every one of the criteria. (Don’t take my word for it; look it up yourself. That letter to the editor read like Freud coming back from the dead to insist that the Woody Allen character from the ’70s was not, in fact, neurotic.)". 


For those who, like me, can't watch Sarah Cooper's videos too many times:

Below: Guilty pleasure, I actually watched and enjoyed the faux reality show The Osbornes.
Except:

It’s an election year, which means that Ozzy Osbourne has revived the “Ozzy for President” T-shirt he first rolled out in 1984. Of course, he could never legally become the United States’ commander in chief since he was born in England, so he’ll just have to continue being the Prince of Darkness. Nevertheless, if he were allowed to campaign for the Oval Office, he knows what he would do first.

“If I was running for president, I would try and find out a little bit about politics,” he tells Rolling Stone. “Because the fucking guy you’ve got in there now doesn’t know that much about it, I don’t think. The Constitution says that anyone can be president. But it’s not like anyone could be a fucking heart surgeon and just go in with a scalpel. You have to know what you’re fucking doing. And anyone who runs for office, I think there should be an age limit. Eight years to us is nothing but to us, but if you’re fucking 76, eight years is like death.” Osbourne adds that there’s another reason why he would never be the president: “I’m honest enough to say I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.”

Although he declines to pick a preference in the upcoming presidential election, he’s been disappointed with Donald Trump, especially regarding the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “In my lifetime, I’ve never known anything like this,” Osbourne says. “It’s getting worse, not better. And this guy’s acting like a fool. I don’t really like to talk politics that much, but I’ve got to say what I feel with this guy. There’s not much hope left. Maybe he’s got a trick up his sleeve and he’s going to surprise us all, and I hope he has. [Recently], over a thousand more people died in one day [in America]. That’s fucking crazy. People got to get with this social distancing and mask-wearing or else it’s never gonna go away.”

Democrats have a plan to disrupt Trump’s convention and cripple his message


According to a report at the Washington Post, “The party is attempting to cast everything about Trump as chaotic and disruptive, from the way he runs the presidency to what appears on his Twitter feed, from his approach to the coronavirus pandemic to the speaking lineup for his nominating convention.”

With that in mind, Democrats will “release videos each day highlighting what they view as Trump’s biggest failures and showcasing the stark contrast between the president and his Democratic rival.”

Democrats will also try and get under the president’s skin and take him off-message with speeches by Trump foes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) of Michigan among others who will speak every day during the Republican convention.

Aug. 21, 2020

Donald Trump's desperation is pathological — and deeply dangerous for the nation - Salon

As a clinical psychologist, I see these final weeks before the election as perilous for Trump — and all of us, By Alan Blotcky

Excerpt : Donald Trump knows his re-election fortunes are fading. He knows his time is about up. He thinks he is entitled to eight more years "because they spied on his campaign." He thinks he is "the greatest of all presidents." He thinks he has "done more for women than just about any president in history." These grandiose and false statements belie a man who is scrambling, flailing, agitated and plainly desperate.

The truth is that Donald Trump is a malignant narcissist who is also antisocial and sadistic. He is tied up in knots because he knows he may be facing criminal charges once he leaves office; he has already been named as an unindicted co-conspirator. He is desperate to hang onto his power and control and constant feeding of adoration by his supporters. He has thrived on his greed and corruption as president.

.......................

Malignant narcissists develop a scorched-earth mentality when they are cornered or exposed or rebuffed. Trump will deliberately and purposefully try to hurt people and institutions if he goes down. He will strike out in narcissistic rage. He will not go down alone.

Upon losing the election, Trump will file motions and lawsuits in order to turn the election results upside down. He will not concede. He will not assist in the orderly transition of power to Joe Biden. He will not leave the Oval Office. He will scream from the mountaintops that he is the victim of a "rigged election."And he will point fingers at his usual foils, including Barack Obama, the Democratic Party and virtually all non-white Americans. 

Sadly, Trump is capable of inciting and promoting violence by his supporters. There could be riots in the streets. He will describe it as the "silent majority" rising up in his behalf. He will clamor for a new election. He will get a sadistic rush from witnessing the turmoil and chaos that he alone creates.


Trump caught on tape bragging about low Black turnout helping the GOP: ‘It was great’


He told POLITICO, “The first thing that I can never forget was how when you walked in, (Trump) name-drops all these Black celebrities and tries to give the illusion that they’re his friends.”

Inside Trump Tower, Trump told the group that he had “so many” Black friends who “are so incredible, and everyone knows that.” At the top of the meeting, he showed off NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal’s sneaker, world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s belt and Sugar Ray Leonard’s boxing glove. (He also flaunted Tom Brady’s Super Bowl helmet and his own chair from “The Apprentice.”)

And during the 45-minute meeting, Trump asked the attendees if they were “surprised that Hillary lost so badly” and boasted that he won 11 percent of the Black vote in 2016. Trump lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million and only won 8 percent of Black voters, according to exit polls, 81 percentage points behind Clinton. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and John McCain, the 2008 GOP standard-bearer, won 6 percent and 4 percent of Black voters, respectively.


The illustration is by Hal Brown, article below.

Below: Requires subscription 
Excerpts

  • At a White House signing ceremony this month, President Trump lamented the “deep-swamp things happening” in the nation’s “deep state.” Speaking to workers at a Whirlpool plant in Ohio a few days later, he promised to “drain the Washington swamp once and for all.” There’s just one niggling complication: More than 3 1 / 2 years into his presidency, Trump is the straw-haired avatar of the swamp..... Typically, presidents run for reelection on the achievements of their first term: the policies deployed, the gains notched, the victories achieved, the goals to fully realize in the next four years.
  • But Trump has, from that first golden-escalator ride, campaigned, governed and wallowed in grievance, never once wavering from his outsider ethos.
  • Yet the decision to position himself as a permanent outsider is less strategic than pathological, say people close to the president, reflecting a man who since childhood has lusted after an elite that never truly welcomed him.
  • Trump's sense of himself — as an outsider with something to prove — doesn't just propel him. It also binds him to his core supporters, who also feel spurned by the establishment.
  • But deploying the same argument against Biden that he used against Clinton is harder, even Trump's allies concede, now that he's been in office for nearly a full term. "I do find it kind of funny that he makes that argument that this is Joe Biden's America and the country is on fire," said one outside adviser, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. "Well you're the president, so I guess it's kind of your America right now."
  • Recently, even in interviews with friendly media outlets, the president has struggled to articulate his top priorities should he win a second term. When Fox News's Sean Hannity asked him about this in June, Trump betrayed the difficulty of running against the establishment. He boasted about his "experience," explaining that while he had never even spent the night in the nation's capital before his election, "now I know everybody." He had come full circle, becoming the self-described politeratti he disdains.... Trump seems to know that his outsider ethos is a kind of performance.
  • There is no clear historical example of a sitting president running as a total outsider, said Kathryn Brownell, an associate history professor at Purdue University and the author of “Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life.” Even Richard Nixon — who, like Trump, campaigned in 1968 on the idea of law and order, offered a dark vision of American carnage and was “very anti-media, very suspicious of the bureaucracy” — ran for reelection presenting “a very cheery version of all of his accomplishments,” Brownell said.

From Jennifer Rubin in her Washington Post OpEd: 

Just imagine the answers Trump will give in the debates

Any number of his ridiculous assertions become fodder for the presidential debates, potentially launching him to spew one word salad after another. It is also possible that he will have a fit if asked perfectly reasonable questions. Alternatively, he might just confirm his crackpot ideas:

  • Why didn’t you follow Obama’s pandemic road map?
  • How did Obama manage to create more jobs than you?
  • Why do you accept the support of QAnon, a conspiracy labeled by the FBI as a domestic terrorist threat?
  • Would you withhold aid again to a foreign power to get damaging information on a political opponent?
  • Do you think if everyone votes, Republicans will never win?
  • Why would you file a lawsuit to take away Obamacare during a pandemic?
  • Why did you let your daughter and son-in-law make millions of dollars and not liquidate their holdings when they worked in the White House?
  • You said the police kill more Whites than Blacks, but aren’t Blacks killed at a rate disproportionate to their population? Do you think there is no systematic racism?
  • What attracts so many convicted criminals to your campaigns? Or do you seek them out?
  • Do you still think there were very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville?
  • How do you reconcile paying off two women with whom you had extramarital affairs, separating families at the border by force and deporting parents of “dreamers” with “family values”?
  • You promised the families of children killed in Parkland, Fla., that you would support tougher background checks. Why did you break your promise?

The topics are nearly endless; the opportunities for hilarious pratfalls plentiful. And that brings me back to my underlying suspicion that he might think up some excuse not to show up to all (or even any) debates. (Rigged! Biased moderators!) I for one hope he shows up. Biden might even let Trump have all his time.




Most of my friends have iPhones. I didn't have this feature enabled. Now I do.  Click below to enlarge.

To silence unknown callers: 

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Find and select Phone from the list of options. 
  3. Scroll down until you find Silence Unknown Callers and slide the switch to the On position. 


Aug. 20, 2020

Click here to enlarge image:



An explosive new report published in Vanity Fair claims that many staffers at Fox News feel they’re “trapped” in a “cult” surrounding President Donald Trump — and even Fox host Sean Hannity worries about the president’s mental state.

The report, which was written by CNN’s Brian Stelter, documents how Trump frequently talks with Hannity, who serves as an informal adviser and political strategist.

However, Trump’s erratic behavior has proven at times too taxing for Hannity, who has been one of the president’s most reliable defenders for the past four years.

“Hannity would tell you, off-off-off the record, that Trump is a batsh*t crazy person,” one person described as a Hannity associate tells Stelter.


Scroll down for my story about Trump, the exemplar of the Dark Triad

Excerpt:

My image courtesy of DonkeyHotey and Disney:

Ten months ago, the Washington Post highlighted "the remarkable universe of criminality surrounding President Trump," and that was before the list grew longer.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, the number of criminals is important, but so too is the degree to which this dynamic conflicts with the message Trump has been eager to trumpet. As regular readers know, the president presents himself as being aggressively "tough on crime." which he frequently tries to incorporate into his agenda. Last year, for example, while making the case for a border wall, the Republican declared, "The Democrats, which I've been saying all along, they don't give a damn about crime. They don't care about crime.... But I care about crime."

Of course, given recent events, it's hardly unreasonable to wonder whether he cares about crime or about surrounding himself with people who've committed crimes?

The president's newest campaign manager, Bill Stepien, recently argued, "I think you need to judge Joe Biden by the people he's surrounding himself with." I'm curious whether he'd encourage voters to also judge Donald Trump by the criminals he's surrounded himself with.


The drawing I made last night led me to write this story. I posted it on Daily Kos but took it down because only 40 or so people read it. I replaced it just with the cartoon above.



Screenshot2020-08-20at8.17.44AM.png

Yesterday I saw clips of Trump’s press conference where Shannon Pettypiece asked about QANON. She was just on MSNBC but I missed getting a photo of her on my TV. On the right is a picture of her reporting from the White House lawn. Below is the part of the press conference with my emphasis added.

NBC News correspondent Shannon Pettypiece (12:28)

During the pandemic, the QAnon movement appears to be gaining a lot of followers. Can you talk about what you think about that and what you have to say to people who are following this movement right now?

Donald Trump: (12:40)

Well, I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. But I don’t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity. And from what I’ve hear is these are people that when they watch the streets of Portland, when they watch what happened in New York city in just the last six or seven months, but this was starting even four years ago when I came here. Almost four years, can you believe it? These are people that don’t like seeing what’s going on in places like Portland and places like Chicago and New York and other cities and states...

And I’ve heard these are people that love our country and they just don’t like seeing it. So I don’t know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me. And they also would like to see problems in these areas, especially the areas that we’re talking about, go away. Because there’s no reason the Democrats can’t run a city. And if they can’t, we will send in all of the federal, whether it’s troops or law enforcement, whatever, they’d like. We’ll send them in. We’ll straighten out their problem in 24 hours or less.

Shannon Pettypiece (13:57)

The cause of the theory is this belief that you are secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals. Does that sound like something you are behind or-

Donald Trump: (14:12)

Well, I haven’t heard that. But is that supposed to be a bad thing or a good thing? I mean, if I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are actually. We’re saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country. And when this country is gone, the rest of the world would follow. The rest of the world would follow….

….blah blah blah, there was no followup and he ranted on… you can read the transcript here.

Trump feigned ignorance about QANON and then changed the subject to brag about how he’s saving the world. It was classic Trumpian narcissism.

Then I read about his calling for a boycott of Goodyear:

Trump calls for Goodyear boycott after company bans MAGA attire among employees (Politico)

This is another classic of Trumpian psychopathic thinking. If you click above you can read the many replies. You can also just search Twitter for Trump and Goodyear here for more tweets about this.

These two things led me to revise the illustration I made for my Dark Triad diary.

Screenshot2020-08-20at9.48.19AM.png
I was also prompted after writing this while frittering away time I made another illustration  to show how Trump resides in the triangle of The Dark Triad.

A lot of my time, and the time and effort of other mental health professionals including most recently Mary Trump, has been spent on trying to analyze what drives Donald Trump. We’ve had critics who told us in comments that we didn’t need to bother with this. They said that it didn’t matter that he was a malignant narcissist. This is the combination of severe narcissism and sociopathy which the great thinker Erich Fromm described as a "severe mental sickness" representing "the quintessence of evil". Fromm characterized the condition as "the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity". 

It may matter from an academic point of view what psychiatric diagnosis psychohistorians have come up with the despots of history like Stalin (example), Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, and of Hitler (example) and others. However, after the fact do we really really need to know whether they had inner demons which drove them to commit unspeakable acts? This understanding only becomes relevant if people learn from history and never let such people come into power.

The way I am seeing it now in regards to Trump these insights only would have been useful if they led to action to remove him from office. The 25th Amendment was never going to be initiated, and the GOP run Senate had their chance. I believe most of the GOP senators knew how unstable the president was, some knew he was mentally ill, but only Mitt Romney who voted to convict on one, crossed party lines. (Correction: I originally wrote that Joe Manchin was a Republican. He’s a Democrat.)

It remains to be seen whether it will have dawned on people who voted for Trump in 2016 now see that he is — fill in the blanks — mentally ill or batshit crazy. They would have made up their mind about this on their own because only an insignificant few would have read articles like this or those published on Salon, or have seen the mental health professionals who have been interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell.

If Trump’s manifestly unhinged behavior proves to them that he is mentally ill and therefore unfit to be president and convinces a significant number of people who might have voted for him otherwise to vote for Joe Biden then truly we can say Trump was hoist by his own mentally ill petard.

A related diary I wrote on July 31st: PSYCHOLOGISTS AND POLITICAL PERSUASION: Mary Trump and the other therapists writing about Trump and another from August 4th about Trump’s reaction to the death of John Lewis.

The Poll:

By progressive media I mean venues where people who have already read articles about Trump’s psychopathology. I preclude articles in media like USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, or any TV network other than MSNBC. I’m not counting Psychology Today because while not a political magazine I doubt it is widely read by typical members of the Trump MAGA cult. Recently it published “Psychiatry and Society: Q&A with Dr. Bandy Lee.”

As far as I know USA Today is the only general circulation publication which has published an article about Trump’s psychopathology.  That was “Donald Trump's malignant narcissism is toxic: Mental health professionals have a 'duty to warn' about a leader who may be unfit to serve” by the founder of Duty to Warn Dr. John D. Gartner way back in May of 2017.  

He wrote: 

If you take President Trump’s words literally, you have no choice but to conclude that he is psychotic. A delusion is “a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.” Despite all evidence to the contrary, Trump asserts that his New York office was bugged by President Obama, and that his inauguration had the biggest crowd size in history. Before the election, Right Wing Watch publisheda list of 58 conspiracies proclaimed by Trump.

Is it all for effect, to rile up his base, deflect blame and distract from his shortcomings, or does Trump really believe the insane things he says? It’s often hard to know, because as Harvard psychoanalyst Lance Dodes put it, Trump tells two kinds of lies: the ones he tells others to scam them, and those he tells himself. “He lies because of his sociopathic tendencies," Dodes said. "There's also the kind of lying he has that is in a way more serious, that he has a loose grip on reality." Is he crazy like a fox or just plain crazy? Not a question we want to be asking about our president.

Much has been written about Trump having narcissistic personality disorder. As critics have pointed out, merely saying a leader is narcissistic is hardly disqualifying. But malignant narcissism is like a malignant tumor: toxic.

That was 2017! He has gotten far worse since then.

It should be noted that about a year earlier, in June, 2016,  “The Mind of Donald Trump Narcissism, disagreeableness, grandiosity—a psychologist investigates how Trump’s extraordinary personality might shape his possible presidency” by psychologist Dan McAdams was published in The Atlantic, hardly a mass media magazine. McAdams didn't delve into Trump’s psychopathology but focused instead on his personality traits and his disposition.


Evidence  grows that children may play a larger role in transmission than previously believed 

As schools reopen in parts of the United States, a study published Thursday found that some children have high levels of virus in their airways during the first three days of infection despite having mild symptoms or none at all — suggesting their role in community spread may be larger than previously believed.

One of the study’s authors, Alessio Fasano, a physician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, said that because children tend to exhibit few if any symptoms, they were largely ignored in the early part of the outbreak and not tested. But they may have been acting as silent spreaders all along.

“Some people thought that children might be protected,” Fasano said. “This is incorrect. They may be as susceptible as adults — but just not visible.”

This is the Secretary of State, click to animate.


The detailed story of the Steve Bannon arrest. I was hoping for a photo of him in handcuff in a perp walk.

Someone show ask Trump what he thinks about this:




Aug. 19, 2020

My reaction to two news items today


Link to Iowa story below:




Click above to enlarge illustration. Click here to read story: 

'Sleepy Joe' Biden set a trap for Republicans — and they just walked right into it

Excerpt:

Joe Biden’s heretofore absence from the campaign trail, when there really was no campaign trail, will be forgotten. But what will not be forgotten is the image of Biden as a feeble-minded incompetent. That is who Trump’s supporters expect him to face.

Unfortunately for them, the Joe Biden who showed up to introduce his running mate Kamala Harris last week seems to have found a miracle drug to cure dementia, because he was on the money. The delivery of classic Biden lines like “as that old saying goes, give me a break” do not exactly suggest that he has jitters about debating Donald Trump, despite what Trump’s supporters might think. 

No doubt that Joe Biden is gaffe-prone. It goes with the territory. But debates are a game of expectations, and by staying out of sight and perpetuating the image of “Sleepy Joe,” the Biden campaign has made useful idiots out of right-wing pundits who conditioned voters to expect Trump to make mincemeat out of a mentally compromised opponent. When they finally face off, should Biden score even a couple good zingers against Trump that put doubt in the minds of voters as to which candidate would best handle the economy, he will have exceeded expectations. Ergo, The Donald loses bigly.

The Trump campaign desperately needs to reset expectations for the coming debates. There are numerous ways to do this, which would be illuminated by the campaign’s internal polling indicating how undecided voters or waffling Trump supporters see the race. But we can offer educated guesses: for example, by positioning Trump to walk into the first debate as an obnoxious street brawler, the President could exceed expectations by showing showing his compassionate side, as he effectively did when he announced cancellation of the Republican convention due to Covid-19.



Click above to read story.

Excerpts:

The GOP of 2015 was a vacuum, bereft of policy and of questionable morality, since the white supremacists and anti-abortion fanatics held a greater sway than previously. Since nature abhors a vacuum, in came Trump. And he pulled out all the stops and sent a rallying cry to the underbelly of the party. His caricature of what conservatism was, worked out just fine for him. And he knew it. His Alabama rally, in particular, was scary. The negativity in the room was palpable. You could feel the vitriol flow as Trump played the crowd like it was an accordian, squeezing the hatred out of them.

........

This election is about the survival of democracy in America. I think it’s safe to say, although by no means assured, that Trump will go down in flames. Hopefully, he will do so by a margin that will offend his narcissistic vanity to such a degree that he’ll slink away in a pout and not contest the results. But that will not restore us to normalcy. No way. If you think it will, you are being naive. A pickle never goes back to being a cucumber. After it’s been in the brine long enough, “it is what it is” and there’s no stopping the process.

Similarly, Trump has led us down a very destructive path and he was enabled every step of the way by the GOP. That has always been the real problem, in fact, the tragedy of this entire misadventure of the past four years. The GOP did this to America. And today, the GOP is still the corrupt, anti-American machine that it was when it put Trump at the top of its ticket. And that’s where the fight in November will begin, after the champagne bubbles go flat and the helium balloons deflate. When the post-election revels end, the real work begins, because Trump is merely the figurehead of a very debased political party and they’re still going to be around. Even if Democrats regain the senate, the GOP is not going anywhere...........

The only way to move forward is to face the reality of what the Republican party has become. Trump is a freak show, yes. He’s an outlier from reality TV, yes. But did he get where he got alone? No. And that has been the takeaway from 2016 and it will be the takeaway from 2020, however it goes. If the GOP really saw the handwriting on the wall and realized an “error” had been made with Trump — they’d pull him off the ticket, invoke the 25th Amendment, whatever needed to be done. Why don’t they? Because Trump is the GOP mascot, a vain, stupid man with a floofy blond comb over and a uniquely bizarre worldview — but not so unique or bizarre that it doesn’t touch on a lot of of their own dark principles. That’s why they keep him around. Trump’s relationship with the GOP has been described as “sullenly transactional” but transactional it remains, sullen or otherwise. Whatever price GOPers pay in dignity — and some of them are going to pay a lot more, when the ballots are counted — they do it for a reason.

They’ll put anybody on the ticket, Trump, or Kanye West, or Alvin the Chipmunk, it doesn’t matter. If the GOP can put a popular figurehead on the ticket and win an election, in order to pursue their agenda, they will

More from Bandy Lee, MD:

Aug. 18,2020



Read story below:
I wonder if he's going to claim he hardly knew Michael Cohen when his book is published.



My comment: I have no objections to what Dr. Lee said in the interview. She is one of the major voices in the mental health profession trying with hardly any success to educate Republicans to just how dangerous Trump's psychopathology is. Anyone who says he hasn't don't anything really bad yet (like start a war) needs to reminded of his locking children and families in cages, using federal thugs to attack peaceful protestors, and causing uncountable Covid deaths for his political purposes. 

Reading what is basically Dr. Lee's CV is worthwhile for those who try to discredit her message. I would add note that in noting eminent contributors to The Dangerous Case book the omission of Robert Jay Lifton known for his studies of the psychological causes and effects of wars and political violence is as well known as Phillip Zimbardo. I also suggest that calling malignant narcissism "pop psychology" ignores that fact that the concept was proposed by Erich Fromm and expanded on by Otto Kernberg. The concept has been popularized since Trump became its exemplar, but one shouldn't trivialize it by the label "pop psychology".

AUG. 17, 2020




People are taking Trump's USPS cheating seriously — and we have impeachment to thank. Amanda Marcotte in Salon

After impeachment, everyone knows Trump intends to steal the election — so the USPS scandal is sparking outrage

Excerpt:

Even former President Barack Obama, who generally tries to stay out of the fray of day-to-day politics, spoke out about Trump's war on voting, denouncing Trump for trying to "to actively kneecap the Postal Service" and otherwise discourage voting at all. 

Trump was able to coast for years on this implicit assumption that the office of the presidency somehow ennobles the occupant, and that it was therefore unfair to assume the president is a liar and a cheat just because his entire career before he became president was based on lying, cheating and defrauding people. Impeachment ended that presumption of good faith, by making abundantly clear that not only was Trump willing to "accept" cheating on his behalf, as he did with Russian election interference in 2016, but he actively sought out opportunities to cheat and actively participated in them.

So it's simply wrong to say the impeachment of Trump failed because the Senate acquitted him. The whole ordeal completely changed the national discussion around Trump's corruption. The question is no longer about whether Trump is corrupt, but more about whether or not voters care about that. Now that his corruption is threatening their ability not just to vote but to receive all the things ordinary people get by mail, there's good reason to believe it will finally come back to bite him. 


SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was initially thought to primarily impact the lungs — SARS stands for “severe acute respiratory syndrome.” Now we know there is barely a part of the body this infection spares. And emerging data show that some of the virus’s most potent damage is inflicted on the heart........................ ............. But myocarditis is not the only way Covid-19 can cause more people to die of heart disease. When I analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I found that since February nearly 25,000 more Americans have died of heart disease compared with the same period in previous years. Some of these deaths could be put down to Covid-19, but the majority are likely to be because patients deferred care for their hearts. That could lead to a wave of untreated heart disease in the wake of the pandemic.

Many patients are understandably apprehensive about coming back to the clinic or hospital. The American Heart Association has started a campaign called “Don’t Die of Doubt” to address the alarming reduction in people calling 911 or seeking medical care after a heart attack or stroke.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been clear that people with heart disease or related conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure are at increased risk for severe Covid-19 illness. The C.D.C. recommends that the more than 30 million Americans living with heart disease practice extra precautions to avoid infection. Hospitals and clinics should work overtime both to ensure they are safe for patients and to bolster telemedicine services so that patients can be cared for without having to leave their homes.

Doctors and researchers should no longer think of Covid-19 as a disease of the lungs but as one that can affect any part of the body, especially the heart. The only way to prevent more people dying of heart disease, both from damage caused by the virus as well as from deferred care of heart disease, is to control the pandemic.

If Trump loses and won't leave, it could get ugly, by Paul Callan


Paul Callan is a CNN legal analyst, a former New York homicide prosecutor and counsel to the New York law firm of Edelman & Edelman PC, focusing on wrongful conviction and civil rights cases. 

Excerpt:

In this speculative scenario, should Trump persist in an attempt to retain presidential power, it would likely be viewed as a criminally treasonous conspiracy under the Constitution. Treason can result in lengthy imprisonment or even the death penalty under US law. Trump undoubtedly knows this because he regularly accuses his opponents of treason. 

He also loves lawsuits so we might certainly expect him to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results on basis of "fraud" if he loses. 

But he would likely be upset to learn that if such a lawsuit delayed the inauguration of a new president past the constitutionally scheduled date of January 20, 2021, the laws of presidential succession would bestow the presidency on his nemesis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, pending certification of a new president by the Supreme Court and the Congress. 

While serving as interim president, Pelosi would undoubtedly order Trump's arrest and confinement in the Tower, the Trump Tower, under house arrest to await his treason trial. 

Under such circumstances, despite the President's bluster about keeping his options open concerning presidential election fraud, Trump will pack his bags and head for his new low-tax Florida home if he loses the election. 

In the world's oldest continuous democracy even a "stable genius" can't outsmart the US Constitution.



WaPo: Trump’s argument: Look how awful things are — now reelect me - Jennifer Rubin, Excerpts

  • President Trump has this bizarre notion that if he can show how chaotic, dysfunctional and dangerous things have become, Americans will reelect him. He sent federal law enforcement into Portland, Ore., seemingly with the purpose of stoking violent confrontations with protesters that could be used to create ad footage for his campaign. He is the only thing standing between you and carnage! Well, except that he caused it. This is on his watch. It is evidence of his inability to maintain order.
  • So it is with the U.S. Postal Service. Trump has been attempting to discredit voting by mail and, to that end, seems intent on wrecking the most popular federal agency.
  • The presidential sabotaging of the USPS — the one federal agency that touches the lives of virtually every American — fits Trump’s unique ability to wreak havoc on his fellow Americans. The pandemic that exploded and the economy that collapsed on his watch, and a revolt against racial injustice unlike any since the 1960s, provide the rationale for kicking out the incumbent president. Many schools are closed, and civic life has ground to a halt. Through incompetence or deliberate destructiveness, Trump has obliterated the case for giving him four more years. What will be left of America after four more years of Trump-induced devastation?
  • When you hold the reins of government, you are tasked with its smooth running and navigation around obstacles. Trump has dropped the reins, jumped from the saddle and shot the crippled steed. He can holler that the vote this fall will be fixed, but responsibility for the path of destruction leading to November is obvious.


 

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) urged the FBI to evaluate whether Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, or Members of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, committed any crimes in light of nationwide delays and issues with the United States Post Office. The letter comes after multiple media reports have shown that actions by Postmaster DeJoy and the Board of Governors have slowed mail delivery, and following the President's expressed dismay that funding USPS will expand voting by mail.

President Donald Trump complained about Fox News' weekend coverage on Sunday before urging viewers to switch over to the even more adamantly pro-Trump outlet One American News Network (OANN).

Though Fox News' opinion lineup has been compared to North Korean state TV for heaping dubious praise on Trump and echoing his talking points for years, the president has repeatedly groused about the network's "news" side for presenting a less rosy view of his administration, seemingly as a way to pressure the network into more favorable coverage.







Aug. 16, 2020



Look what Fox New just reported:
And Trump wants to host a visit from Putin to make nice-nice with him. 




If you read what Stormy Daniels said in her book you'll 
understand the symbolism of the Super Mario Kart  video game Toad. If not read this article.



Aug. 15, 2020

Whenever I think "why do I bother" maintaining this blog I check my international statistics and figure that as long as people find it of interest I might as well keep it going.
Click to enlarge.



Tucker Carlson “triggers some of the crazies in society to start threatening me ... which actually happens.” Anthony Fauci. Read story here.

Trump's malignant narcissism in the news. Remember there was a time when hardly anybody even knew what the term meant?

Trump’s malignant narcissism makes it difficult for him to understand that things impact other people. It’s a trait that makes him uniquely unqualified to govern, and is presently leading him down a potentially disastrous path with his clumsy scheme to undermine the Postal Service in order to make it unable to handle a surge in absentee ballots. We can’t know what’s going on in Trump’s head, but it seems likely that he simply does not understand that he can’t sabotage the Postal Service’s ability to deliver ballots in a timely manner–and stick it to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in retaliation for The Washington Post’s reporting–without also screwing over active service-members, rural communities, people waiting for their Social Security checks and medications, etcFrom RawStory

This reads like fiction, but it is true. 
MORE FROM CRAZYLAND:

Thursday afternoon, Marla Maples, the television personality best known as Donald Trump’s second wife, shared an Instagram photo from notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates cracking up like a cartoon villain. “We get rid of cash and coins,” the overlaid text reads. “We give you a chip. We put all your money in your chip. If you refuse a vaccine, we turn off the chip and you starve!”

“Education is key...Ask questions...Dig deeper…,” Maples wrote over the Instagram Story, which bore the vague header: “The digitalized economy?” If users dug deeper, clicking through to the original post, they could find two clips from an uncited video. The footage splices clips of Bill Gates talking about access to vaccination—playing, for unclear reasons, on a vintage IBM monitor—with disembodied commentary accusing the Microsoft co-founder of seeking “control over our identities...control over our transactions...and even control over our bodies.




Trump says he's done more for women than any other president. He sure did a lot for Stormy Daniel's career.


Above: I combined DonkeyHotey caricatures of Trump and Stormy Daniels to illustrate the following tweet.
Click above for Twitter link and Read HuffPost article with some responses here
Here's my comment on HuffPost (Click to enlarge below):


One person replied by posting this (click to enlarge):





Excerpts: About the bison

One of the motorcyclists in South Dakota for the super spreader jamboree in Sturgis got thrashed by a mother bison

The woman’s injuries were deemed not serious by local authorities, but, as the video shows, she took a beating so bad that it shook her right out of her Levi’s. 

The bruised biker’s offense was simple: Getting too close to the bison’s nursing calf. 

And the woman was just one of many bikers who were trying to mingle with the wild animal herd. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the kind of intellects who would both attend a massive rally with people from every corner of the country during a pandemic and get in the personal space of a nursing mother who weighs a half ton and can be as tall as five feet at the withers. 

Conclusion

Voters do not like desperation for power. What they like even less is desperation to maintain it. As Trump fumes and rages and threatens he does not much seem like a man with the light touch on the reins that voters prefer. 

Biden, who has devoted himself for decades to the goal of acquiring the ultimate political power in our system, manages to seem almost apologetic about it. His posture of reluctant aspirant may not gibe with his real record, but he knows it is one that voters want to see. Biden may be carrying it too far for the sake of avoiding typically terrible live interactions with reporters, but he certainly seems convincing as a reluctant candidate. 

The more desperate Trump seems to maintain power, the more likely he is to end up with a bison horn where he won’t like it. 

Below: Five funny minutes




Aug. 14, 2020

New:
Just landed in New York to see my brother, Robert. We’re going for New York on November 3rd. We’re going to Reduce Taxes, Increase Law Enforcement, and bring it back BIG TIME! #MAGA


Breaking up is hard to do news: Click below to read more replies

Here's one reply


Link to NY Times article above. 


The Michael Cohen revelations about Trump and Golden Showers at Vegas sex clubs led some wordsmith to change "you're In Trouble, Trump" to the Twitter hashtag #UrineTroubleTrump which trended around the world. My friends at Duty to Warn had their tweet featured in the RAWSTORY article.
This is my own contribution:
Below: If Trump ever has a psychotic episode with predominant paranoid features experts will look back and see that there were predictors of this in his tendency to ignore reality and embrace clearly 
delusional beliefs. HB

A reporter asked Trump at a Thursday news conference for his thoughts on a recent claim about Harris, who Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Tuesday tapped to be his running mate. Harris, who will be the first black woman and first Asian American on a major party ticket, now faces right-wing attacks on her eligibility to serve as vice president. Those attacks stem from her parents’ citizenship status when she was born in Oakland, California, and are akin to birthplace conspiracy theories Barack Obama confronted. 

“I just heard that,” Trump said of the baseless legitimacy issue about Harris, published Wednesday in a Newsweek op-ed by a California-based law professor. “I heard it today, that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump continued, adding, “And by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer.”

........................

The following story is a deep dig into the complex relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden during the eight years when they worked together. It is a personality study of Obama more than it is of Biden. There were reasons not explored in the article about why Obama was closer to Hilary Clinton, that they had more of a comfort level with each other than Obama and Biden did. Venturing an analysis of this will be left to psychohistorians in the future.  HB


The following story demonstrates that Pence is willing to jump onboard Trump's insanity train by promoting ridiculous lines of attack. Whether or not he knows he is taking advantage of the gullibility of Trump's low-information and low-IQ base remains to be seen.   HB


Playing to the idoit base who will believe it, Mike Pence Says He’ll Keep Kamala Harris From Meddling With America’s Meat 


The following story relates again to Trump's blurring the lines between reality and fantasy to the point where he comes close to making a case for his having a paranoid delusional disorder. HB

This is a story by John Stoehr from his blog.

Excerpt:

I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is the word “sabotage” is being used more often and with more feeling by leading Democrats and liberals than I have witnessed since the president took office. This is an important development. Too few Americans appreciate the depth of Donald Trump’s malice. If there’s a way to betray the republic, he will find it. The more people understand this, the more prepared they will be when this chapter in our history comes to an end—if it comes to an end.

The bad news is people are seeing only one dimension of Trump’s multi-dimensional sabotage. However, that’s to be expected. It’s not every day a demi-despot blurts out his intentions the way Trump did Thursday on the Fox Business Network. He “explicitly noted two funding provisions that Democrats are seeking in a relief package that has stalled on Capitol Hill,” according to reporting by the AP. “Without the additional money, he said, the Postal Service won’t have the resources to handle a flood of ballots from voters who are seeking to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.” He told Maria Bartiromo: “If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”

Trump, probably: “I’m gonna starve the post office to keep Americans from voting me out, even if that means taking the economy hostage, even if that means kicking meemaw and peepaw out of the nursing home and into paupers’ graves.”


..............................

As Michael Cohen will be telling us, the following story is just another example of Trump being the head of a criminal enterprise. HB

Excerpt:

This week Forbes broke the story that Jared Kushner, “de facto chief” of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, has been speaking “regularly,” “almost daily,” with Kanye West since West’s July 4 tweet declaring that he is running for president. “Regular” conversations between the head of one presidential campaign and an opposing candidate looks like coordination and is highly irregular. Depending on what they’re talking about, they may be breaking campaign finance laws.

A provision of federal law known as the “soft money ban” prohibits candidates and their agents like Kushner from soliciting contributions that exceed amount limits or come from prohibited sources (e.g., foreign contributions). Federal law defines “contribution” broadly to include “any gift … of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office” and “anything of value includes all in-kind contributions.” Contributions from one candidate committee to another are limited to $2,000. And the FEC by regulation defines “solicit” to mean “to ask, request, or recommend, explicitly or implicitly, that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.”

If Kushner has explicitly or implicitly requested or recommended that West spend money on West’s candidacy, with the motivation of having West siphon votes from Joe Biden, then Kushner has arguably violated federal law by soliciting in-kind contributions from West to Trump in excess of the applicable $2,000 contribution limit. Under this theory, every dollar West spends on his campaign with Kushner’s encouragement is an in-kind contribution. And West has spent well in excess of $2,000 on his campaign efforts to date, including, for example, payment of $35,000 filing fee to the State of Oklahoma to have his name on the ballot.

Kushner knows all of this; he’s been through this illegal solicitation business before. As I explained in a summary of a section of the Mueller Report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated Kushner and other members of the Trump campaign for possible illegal solicitation of an in-kind contribution from Russian foreign nationals at a 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Mueller concluded that team Trump’s solicitation of opposition research on electoral opponent Hillary Clinton could constitute an illegal solicitation of a contribution from a foreign national. But Mueller decided not to prosecute Kushner and others, in part, because of a lack of evidence that Kushner knew at the time that what he was doing was illegal (knowledge of the law is necessary for a criminal conviction in this area), and because of possible challenges proving the value of the solicited opposition research.


Night 77: Peaceful march, quiet Justice Center group

Protests in Portland began May 29

Posted:  Updated: 

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 77th consecutive night of protests in Portland took a sharp turn away from nightly clashes with law enforcement as just a few dozen people took to city streets and remained peaceful.


Aug. 13, 2020

RawStory reports it with excerpts:
Rachel Maddow is reading the entire forward:

So many people are reading the forward to Michael Cohn's new book that the site keeps crashing. You can preorder the book here disloyalthebook.com I'm posting the forward here if their website crashes.

Disloyal, The Foreword: The Real Real Donald Trump

The President of the United States wanted me dead.

Or, let me say it the way Donald Trump would: He wouldn’t mind if I was dead. That was how Trump talked. Like a mob boss, using language carefully calibrated to convey his desires and demands, while at the same time employing deliberate indirection to insulate himself and avoid actually ordering a hit on his former personal attorney, confidant, consigliere, and, at least in my heart, adopted son. 

Driving south from New York City to Washington, DC on 1-95 on the cold, gray winter morning of February 24th, 2019, en route to testify against President Trump before both Houses of Congress, I knew he wanted me gone before I could tell the nation what I know about him. Not the billionaire celebrity savior of the country or lying lunatic, not the tabloid tycoon or self-anointed Chosen One, not the avatar @realdonaldtrump of Twitter fame, but the real real Donald Trump—the man very, very, very few people know.

If that sounds overly dramatic, consider the powers Trump possessed and imagine how you might feel if he threatened you personally. Heading south, I wondered if my prospects for survival were also going in that direction. I was acutely aware of the magnitude of Trump’s fury aimed directly at my alleged betrayal. I was wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses and I kept the speedometer at eighty, avoiding the glances of other drivers. Trump’s theory of life, business and politics revolved around threats and the prospect of destruction—financial, electoral, personal, physical—as a weapon. I knew how he worked because I had frequently been the one screaming threats on his behalf as Trump’s fixer and designated thug.

Ever since I had flipped and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller and the Special Counsel’s Office, the death threats had come by the hundreds. On my cell phone, by email, snail mail, in tweets, on Facebook, enraged Trump supporters vowed to kill me, and I took those threats very seriously. The President called me a rat and tweeted angry accusations at me, as well as my family. All rats deserve to die, I was told. I was a lowlife Judas they were going to hunt down. I was driving because I couldn’t fly or take the train to Washington. If I had, I was sure I would be mobbed or attacked. For weeks, walking the streets of Manhattan, I was convinced that someone was going to ram me with their car. I was exactly the person Trump was talking about when he said he could shoot and kill someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it. 

My mind was spinning as I sped towards DC. For more than a decade, I had been at the center of Trump’s innermost circle. When he came to my son’s bar mitzvah, a generous gesture that I found touching, he told my then thirteen-year-old boy that his Dad was the greatest and that, if he wanted to work at the Trump Organization when he grew up, there would always be a position for him.

“You’re family,” Trump said to my son and I.

And I fucking believed him!

Pulling over at a service plaza, I gassed up and headed inside for a coffee, black no sugar. I looked around to see if I was under surveillance or being followed; a sense of dread consuming my thoughts. Who was that FBI-type in the gray coat or the muscle-bound dude a few paces behind me? The notion that I was being followed or stalked may have seemed crazy; but it was also perfectly logical. I wasn’t just famous—I was perhaps the most infamous person in the country at the time, seen by millions upon millions as a traitor. President Trump controlled all the levers of the Commander in Chief and all the overt and covert powers that come with the highest office in the country. He also possessed a cult-like hold over his supporters, some of them demonstrably unhinged and willing to do anything to please or protect the President. I knew how committed these fanatics were because I’d been one of them: an acolyte obsessed with Donald J. Trump, a demented follower willing to do anything for him, including, as I vowed once to a reporter, to take a bullet. 

On the eve of my public testimony, lying in the still of the night in my hotel room, taking a bullet assumed a completely different meaning. That was the level of ruination I had brought upon myself- complete and total destruction. I closed my eyes, wishing the nightmare would end. When I started working for Trump I had been a multi-millionaire lawyer and businessman, and now I was broke and broken; a convicted, disgraced and disbarred former attorney about to testify against the President on live television before an audience of more than 15 million Americans.

“Hey, Michael Cohen, do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” GOP Representative Matt Gaetz tweeted at me that night, to cite just one example of the juvenile idiocy and menace aimed in my direction. “I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

Sitting in the green room on the morning of my testimony before the House Oversight Committee, I began to feel the enormous weight of what was about to happen. For some reason, after all that I’d been through, and all I’d put my family and the country through, waiting in that room was the moment when the gravity of what was about to happen truly hit home. The United States was being torn apart, its political and cultural and mental well-being threatened by a clear and present danger named Donald Trump, and I had played a central role in creating this new reality. To half of Americans, it seemed like Trump was effectively a Russian-controlled fraud who had lied and cheated his way to the White House; to the other half of Americans, to Trump’s supporters, the entire Russian scandal was a witch hunt invented by Democrats still unable to accept the fact that Hillary Clinton had lost fair and square in the most surprising upset in the history of American presidential elections.

Both sides were wrong. I knew that the reality was much more complicated and dangerous. Trump had colluded with the Russians, but not in the sophisticated ways imagined by his detractors. I also knew that the Mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt. Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything—and I mean anything—to “win” has always been his business model and way of life. Trump had also continued to pursue a major real estate deal in Moscow during the campaign. He attempted to insinuate himself into the world of President Vladimir Putin and his coterie of corrupt billionaire oligarchs. I know because I personally ran that deal and kept Trump and his children closely informed of all updates, even as the candidate blatantly lied to the American people saying, “there’s no Russian collusion, I have no dealings with Russia…there’s no Russia.” 

The time to testify nearing, I asked the sergeant-at-arms for a few minutes of privacy and the room was cleared. Sitting alone, my thoughts and heart racing, I had the first panic attack of my life. I struggled to breathe and stand. The pressure was too much; I had contemplated suicide in recent weeks, as a way to escape the unrelenting insanity. Reaching for a seat, I started to cry, a flood of emotions overwhelming me: fear, anger, dread, anxiety, relief, terror. It felt something like when I was in the hospital awaiting the birth of my daughter and son, with so many powerful and unprecedented emotions welling up in anticipation. Only now I was that child being born and all of the pain and blood were part of the birth of my new life and identity.

Trying to pull myself together, I went to the private bathroom and checked my eyes to see if they were bloodshot or puffy. To my relief, they weren’t. I splashed my face with cold water and felt a calm coming over me, and then a surge of confidence and adrenaline. I had pled guilty to multiple federal crimes, including lying to Congress, but I was there to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I knew that Trump and the Republican House members would want me to hesitate, falter, show weakness, even break down. They wanted me to look unreliable, shifty, and uncertain about the truth and myself. This was blood sport and they wanted me to cower. I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction, I decided. I was going to nail it.

“Showtime,” the sergeant-at-arms called out, opening the door. “You’re on Mr. Cohen.”

One deep breath and I stepped into the hallway, into a crush of photographers and TV cameras and the craziness of wall-to-wall national obsession. I made my way alone through the jostle and shove of the surging crowd as I experienced the out-of-body sensation of seeing myself on television screens walking in to testify. It was truly bizarre to be at the epicenter of American history at that moment, to personify so many fears and resentments, to be the villain or savior, depending on your point of view, to speak truth to power in an age when truth itself was on trial. There I was, watching myself on TV, the Michael Cohen everyone had an opinion about: liar, snitch, idiot, bully, sycophant, convicted criminal, the least reliable narrator on the planet.

So, please permit me to reintroduce myself in these pages. The one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that whatever you may have heard or thought about me, you don’t know me or my story or the Donald Trump that I know. For more than a decade, I was Trump’s first call every morning and his last call every night. I was in and out of Trump’s office on the 26th floor of the Trump Tower as many as fifty times a day, tending to his every demand. Our cell phones had the same address books, our contacts so entwined, overlapping and intimate that part of my job was to deal with the endless queries and requests, however large or small, from Trump’s countless rich and famous acquaintances. I called any and all of the people he spoke to, most often on his behalf as his attorney and emissary, and everyone knew that when I spoke to them, it was as good as if they were talking directly to Trump.

Apart from his wife and children, I knew Trump better than anyone else did. In some ways, I knew him better than even his family did because I bore witness to the real man, in strip clubs, shady business meetings, and in the unguarded moments when he revealed who he really was: a cheat, a liar, a fraud, a bully, a racist, a predator, a con man.

There are reasons why there has never been an intimate portrait of Donald Trump, the man. In part, it’s because he has a million acquaintances, pals and hangers on, but no real friends. He has no one he trusts to keep his secrets. For ten years, he certainly had me, and I was always there for him, and look what happened to me. I urge you to really consider that fact: Trump has no true friends. He has lived his entire life avoiding and evading taking responsibility for his actions. He crushed or cheated all who stood in his way, but I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them. I was the one who most encouraged him to run for president in 2011, and then again in 2015, carefully orchestrating the famous trip down the escalator in Trump Tower for him to announce his candidacy. When Trump wanted to reach Russian President Vladimir Putin, via a secret back channel, I was tasked with making the connection in my Keystone Kop fashion. I stiffed contractors on his behalf, ripped off his business partners, lied to his wife Melania to hide his sexual infidelities, and bullied and screamed at anyone who threatened Trump’s path to power. From golden showers in a sex club in Vegas, to tax fraud, to deals with corrupt officials from the former Soviet Union, to catch and kill conspiracies to silence Trump’s clandestine lovers, I wasn’t just a witness to the president’s rise—I was an active and eager participant.

To underscore that last crucial point, let me say now that I had agency in my relationship with Trump. I made choices along the way—terrible, heartless, stupid, cruel, dishonest, destructive choices, but they were mine and constituted my reality and life. During my years with Trump, to give one example, I fell out of touch with my sisters and younger brother, as I imagined myself becoming a big shot. I’d made my fortune out of taxi medallions, a business viewed as sketchy if not lower class. On Park Avenue, where I lived, I was definitely nouveau riche, but I had big plans that didn’t include being excluded from the elite. I had a narrative: I wanted to climb the highest mountains of Manhattan’s skyscraping ambition, to inhabit the world from the vantage point of private jets and billion-dollar deals, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. Then there was my own considerable ego, short temper, and willingness to deceive to get ahead, regardless of the consequences.

As you read my story, you will no doubt ask yourself if you like me, or if you would act as I did, and the answer will frequently be no to both of those questions. But permit me to make a point: If you only read stories written by people you like, you will never be able to understand Donald Trump or the current state of the American soul. More than that, it’s only by actually understanding my decisions and actions that you can get inside Trump’s mind and understand his worldview. As anyone in law enforcement will tell you, it’s only gangsters who can reveal the secrets of organized crime. If you want to know how the mob really works, you’ve got to talk to the bad guys. I was one of Trump’s bad guys. In his world, I was one hundred percent a made man.

Before I could read my opening statement to the Oversight Committee on the day of my public testimony, the Republicans started to play procedural games. It was clearly an attempt to rattle me, I thought, a spectacle that only demeaned them and the institution itself. As I started to answer questions, it was evident that the Republicans didn’t want to hear a word I had to say, no matter how true or how critical to the future of the country. For all the hard truths I spoke about Trump, I wasn’t entirely critical of him, nor will I be in these pages. I said I know Trump as a human being, not a cartoon character on television, and that means I know he’s full of contradictions.

“Mr. Trump is an enigma,” I testified to the committee. “He is complicated, as am I. He does both good and bad, as do we all. But the bad far outweighs the good, and since taking office, he has become the worst version of himself. He is capable of behaving kindly, but he is not kind. He is capable of committing acts of generosity, but he is not generous. He is capable of being loyal, but he is fundamentally disloyal.”

“Liar, liar, pants on fire,” one of the Republicans taunted me, perfectly expressing the stupidity and lunacy of his party’s antics. To drive this point home, they actually made a sign with a picture of me on it. In bold letters, the sign proclaimed, “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire.”

I recognized the childish games, replete with a Trump-like slogan, because I had played them myself. In the pitiful sight of Republicans throwing aside their dignity and duty in an effort to grovel at Trump’s feet, I saw myself and understood their motives. My insatiable desire to please Trump to gain power for myself, the fatal flaw that led to my ruination, was a Faustian bargain: I would do anything to accumulate, wield, maintain, exert, exploit power. In this way, Donald Trump and I were the most alike; in this naked lust for power, the President and I were soul mates. I was so vulnerable to his magnetic force because he offered an intoxicating cocktail of power, strength, celebrity, and a complete disregard for the rules and realities that govern our lives. To Trump, life was a game and all that mattered was winning. In these dangerous days, I see the Republican Party and Trump’s followers threatening the constitution—which is in far greater peril than is commonly understood—and following one of the worst impulses of humankind: the desire for power at all costs.

“To those who support the President and his rhetoric, as I once did, I pray the country doesn’t make the same mistakes as I have made or pay the heavy price that my family and I are paying,” I testified to Congress, exhorting them to learn from my example.

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” I concluded. “This is why I agreed to appear before you today.”

Representative Elijah Cummings had the final word, as chair of the Oversight Committee. I sat in silence, listening to this now deceased man with decades of experience in the civil rights movement and other forms of public service, who as a lawyer had represented disgraced lawyers like me. He understood that even the least of us deserve the opportunity to seek penance, redemption and a second chance in life. Cummings was the lone politician I encountered in all my travails who took an interest in me as a human being. When I reported to serve my sentence, he even took steps to ensure my security in prison. It was a selfless act of kindness for which I will always be grateful. 

“I know this has been hard,” Cummings said to me and the nation, his words hitting me like a kick in the gut. “I know you’ve faced a lot. I know that you are worried about your family. But this is a part of your destiny. And hopefully this portion of your destiny will lead to a better Michael Cohen, a better Donald Trump, a better United States of America, and a better world. And I mean that from the depths of my heart.”

Representative Cummings concluded by saying, “We are better than this.”

Amen, I thought. 

Now, sitting alone in an upstate New York prison, wearing my green government-issued uniform, I’ve begun writing this story longhand on a yellow legal pad. I often wrote before dawn so not to be disturbed in my thoughts when my fellow inmates awoke. I had to report to the sewage treatment plant where some of us worked for a wage of $8 a month. As the months passed by and I thought about the man I knew so well, I became even more convinced that Trump will never leave office peacefully. The types of scandals that have surfaced in recent months will only continue to emerge with greater and greater levels of treachery and deceit. If Trump wins another four years, these scandals will prove to only be the tip of the iceberg. I’m certain that Trump knows he will face prison time if he leaves office, the inevitable cold Karma to the notorious chants of “Lock Her Up!” But that is the Trump I know in a nutshell. He projects his own sins and crimes onto others, partly to distract and confuse but mostly because he thinks everyone is as corrupt and shameless and ruthless as he is; a poisonous mindset I know all too well. Whoever follows Trump into the White House, if the President doesn’t manage to make himself the leader for life, as he has started to joke about—and Trump never actually jokes- will discover a tangle of frauds and scams and lawlessness. Trump and his minions will do anything to cover up that reality, and I mean anything.

Watching Trump on the evening news in the prison rec room, I almost feel sorry for him. I know him so well and I know his facial tics and tells; I see the cornered look in his eyes as he flails and rants and raves, searching for a protector and advocate, someone willing to fight dirty and destroy his enemies. I see the men who have replaced me and continue to forfeit their reputations by doing the President’s bidding, no matter how dishonest or sleazy or unlawful. Rudy Guiliani, William Barr, Jared Kushner and Mike Pompeo are Trump’s new wannabe fixers, sycophants willing to distort the truth and break the law in the service of the Boss. All this will be to no avail. Trump doesn’t want to hear this, and he will certainly deny it, but he’s lost without his original bulldog lawyer Roy Cohn, or his other former pitbull and personal attorney, Michael Cohen. 

During my testimony, Republican House members repeatedly asked me to promise that I wouldn’t write a book. I refused, repeatedly. It was another way of saying I shouldn’t be permitted to tell my story, in essence giving up my First Amendment rights. It was a clear sign of desperation and fear. I have lost many things as a consequence of my decisions and mistakes, including my freedom, but I still retain the right to tell this story about the true threat to our nation and the urgent message for the country it contains.

One last thing I can say with great confidence, as you turn the page and meet the real real Donald Trump for the first time: This is a book the President of the United States does not want you to read.

Michael Cohen

Otisville Federal Prison, Otisville, New York, March 11, 2020





During an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, President Donald Trump took aim at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), saying that she was a “poor student” at “I won’t say where she went to school, it doesn’t matter.” 

“This is not even a smart person,” Trump added.

Ocasio-Cortez graduated cum laude from Boston University with a degree in political science and economics.




A win at The Supreme Court:

Heather Cox Richardson has an excellent blog which I doubt you've seen.  She is an American historian and Professor of History at Boston College, where she teaches courses on the American Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, the American West, and the Plains Indians. She previously taught at MIT and the University of Massachusetts.

Richardson has authored six books. Her sixth, titled How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America, was published in March 2020 with Oxford University Press.

She is also a founder and editor at Werehistory.org, which presents professional history to a public audience through short articles. Between 2017 and 2018, she co-hosted the NPR podcast Freak Out and Carry On. Most recently, Richardson started publishing "Letters from an American," a nightly newsletter that chronicles the 2019 Trump–Ukraine scandal in the larger context of American history.... more on Wikipedia

Read her blog here:



Aug. 12, 2020

Did the Chinese stop Hongkonger's access to my blog over the past two weeks?


Click above to enlarge image

by Hal Brown

Each day I post a variety of stories that pique my interest, sometimes with my own editorial comment or snarky photo manipulations on my modestly named blog, HalBrown.org. The readership while small (about 7000 click a month) has readers from around the world.

Until a about two weeks ago half to a third of the readers were logging on from Hong Kong as were reading from the United States. On a few days more people logged on from Honk Kong than did from the United States.

This week there were none at all leading me to wonder if the Chinese have cracked down on Internet access from residents trying to read all American websites, even small blogs like mine.

I have been covering the Chinese crackdown on protestors and dissidents in Hong Kong, most recently the story described in this article: Prominent Hong Kong Publisher Arrested Under New National Security Law. I also cover the ethnic cleansing of the Uighur minorities with links to articles like this: China Suppression Of Uighur Minorities Meets U.N. Definition Of Genocide, Report Says.

I generally posted excepts in case readers are reluctant to go to the major media sites out of fear of being monitored by Chinese security.

I have no way of knowing what has happened.

This is also posted on Daily Kos where I doubt very many people will read it.


Psychiatrist Bandy Lee interviews Mary Trump

This is the first interview where a mental health professional interviews Mary Trump.


Excerpt:

Lee: You mentioned in one interview that he could be charged with negligent manslaughter, and I would agree. In fact, I believe he meets the criteria for culpable homicide. Whether that is manslaughter or murder depends on “the guilty mind,” the mens rea, that we evaluate in forensic psychiatry or psychology. But we do have someone who is responsible for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of deaths through wrongful conduct. 

Trump: That is why, in the book, I do not come out and diagnose him because my point is, who cares what his diagnosis is? Look at what he is doing, and look at how his behavior is shaping the behavior of the people around him. That is the problem. If we had a patient who was an imminent threat to herself or others, we would be required by law to do something. This man is directly responsible, and I agree with you, there is culpability and purpose here. He is directly responsible for the death of thousands of Americans, which could have been avoided if he had just taken responsibility.

Lee: Would you like to give any last word? 

Ttump: Listen to people who know. Listen to the professionals. Listen to the experts. Listen to the people with the expertise, who have spent years and decades of their lives, honing their skills as professionals, who understand these things, and pay attention to what he is doing, and look at those behaviors through the lenses we are offering.

Mary Trump to her Uncle Donald's supporters: If you care about him, get him out of the Oval Office - Psychologist and bestselling author says her uncle can't help being cruel — but his enablers should know better

Excerpts from interview conducted by Dean :


Trump: As you just said, kindness was considered weakness, and weakness was an unforgivable sin according to my grandfather. My grandfather's opinion was the only one that mattered, honestly. It wasn't just kindness, it was illness. Physical illness or alcoholism was certainly considered a weakness. Admitting to your mistakes, apologizing — all of these things were considered weakness. We see the direct line from that to how Donald operates today.

But as far as the way cruelty functions, I think it functions on a couple of different levels. One, it distracts. If he needs to distract from some fiasco he's created, which happens many times a day at this point, he's going to do something so outrageous and cruel that it's going to draw people's attention away. It's also a way for him to exercise power over people who are weaker than he is, and I think part of that is also the function that it had for my grandfather, which is that he enjoys it.

++++++


Trump: First of all, don't back down. Don't be deferential. He insults reporters on a daily basis, it's kind of shocking to me that they keep showing up. The other thing, and this is not my original suggestion, I've been hearing this for a while, they need to team up. They need to have each other's backs. I know we can't expect that from Fox or OAN, but other mainstream outlets have to pick up where, if Donald shuts down a reporter, the next person has to ask the same question until he either answers it or storms out. That's it. I'm not entirely sure why they think that there's any purpose to continuing to do what they've been doing. They're basically showing up at campaign rallies now, and there needs to be pushback on that, otherwise I don't see the point.

: Do you think overall that the media has been too timid? One specific example is last week on Fox News when he called Black Lives Matter a Marxist organization. Weeks before that he called it a symbol of hate. He's got a horrific track record of demonizing African Americans. "You can't take a knee in silence, you should be fired for that," he said to black athletes. "If you march in the street, you're a Marxist and a symbol of hate." To me, he's a white supremacist. I have no problem calling him that. Reporters are restrained, to say the least, in doing it. Is that timidity hurting us?

Trump: Of course. It's awful, and it leads me to believe that no lessons have been learned since the horrific coverage of the 2016 election. It leads me to believe that they're more interested in access than they are in journalism or journalistic ethics. The fact that he's continuing to get away with making these broadsides without any follow-up. The follow-up question is: Define Marxism. He needs to be confronted squarely with his racism. He's a racist. His comments aren't "racially tinged." They're not "racial," whatever that means. They're racist. He's a racist. He's endangering the lives of Black Americans every single day in this administration. Why are people continuing to tiptoe around this? And I'm sorry, people I guess have to have respect for the office, but nobody has been more disrespectful to the office that Donald has been. So why should he be treated with respect? It's mind-blowing.

Link photo below embellished by me.

Another photo I was compelled to embellish: Link below


Below: Click photos to enlarge



 Kamala Harris when she was a primary candidate  "So, let me tell you, we need somebody on our stage when it comes time for the general election who knows how to recognize a rap sheet when they see it and prosecute the case so let's read that rap sheet, shall we." CNN 2018 June 22, 2019


Click above. There are numerous good tweets in this article but this is one of the best:




Aug. 11, 2020

Dueling legal bombshells: Barr vs. New York - read story.

Plus: Could Trump go eventually to jail in New York?

Will America soon have its first Shawshank President? Will Donald Trump find himself fending off riots in the Attica mess hall? Tweetless and at the mercy of 2,000 “angry Democrat” inmates?

A number of recent developments show that one cannot rule it out. Things took a decidedly serious turn last week when New York prosecutors told a federal judge that there were “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” They added that they that they may also be investigating possible crimes involving bank and insurance fraud, according to the New York Times, which also reported that Deutsche Bank has been complying with a Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoena for months, turning over detailed financial records in connection with some $2 billion the bank has lent Trump.



This is echoed by Duncan Levin, formerly a senior staff member under District Attorney Vance and an ex-assistant U.S. attorney. Whether the president would actually be sentenced to prison is a political call, Levin said. “Can you imagine an ex-U.S. president actually being sent to prison?” he told me. “It’s inconceivable that Trump didn’t know about the hush money payments. But it’s highly unlikely that he’d be arrested on misdemeanor charges. They would have to be very serious felonies.” False statements to financial institutions would count.

More likely, he added, the DA may be zeroing in at this point on Trump’s inner circle. “Michael Cohen didn’t act alone. He collaborated with people within the Trump organization to cover up the hush payments just before the election,” Levin said. Look, at least initially, for indictments of Trump underlings.

The good news, though, is that Vance will not put off his investigation and possible indictments until after the November election. DA’s proceed on cases irrespective of extraneous events, including a general election, Levin said.

But the hope of many that Trump could finally be held accountable for his crimes may be remote. At most, one can imagine him behind bars at a white-collar correctional facility like that of his former lawyer Michael Cohen, as opposed to hard time at a penitentiary like Attica. For now, though, time will tell. The Americans who want to see justice carried out are more likely to watch this shamed crook-in-chief spending his remaining years out of office consumed in exhausting and financially draining legal battles, fully exposed for the criminal he’s always been.


Unfortunately, Trump felt the need to continue his press conference after he came back (after the Secret Service hustled him away due to the shooting), and sweet Jesus, what a fucking idiot.

Here is Donald Trump saying that in "1917" the Spanish flu (of 1918) "probably ended the Second World War," which was just a "terrible situation," how the "great pandemic" did that, and "probably ended the Second World War." Yeah, that was a total thing, just ask a historian like Dinesh D'Souza, he'll probably tell you how this is absolutely correct...................

................Also try not to laugh at Trump reaffirming his accusation that Joe Biden is hurting God and the baby Jesus. Trump said you just have to "look at the manifesto that they've come up," which ... yeah, we have no fucking idea. Trump either has dementia, or he plays a dementia patient on TV. He also said the "Bernie plan," which is apparently also the Biden plan, is something you just simply cannot put "in the realm of a religious group of people," because that's a good way to say a thing in English. Then he bragged about his poll numbers and talked the "manifesto" (still don't fucking know) and talked about Joe Biden thumping baby Jesus right behind his ears and .................... ............There is no aspect of this election Trump will not work to undermine, like the dumbfuck authoritarian shitheel he is. 

Aren't you glad Trump didn't stay in the bunker hiding, allegedly, but instead came back to finish his press conference? Oh boy, what a treat.


Aug. 10, 2020




Trump mocked in Twitter for revealing Gettysburg as potential RNC speech location: ‘The site of your base’s biggest defeat!’





Quote of the day from Digby's "Art of the tantrum: Trump's bewildering, doomed attempt to play savior"

 The man who sold himself to America as the greatest dealmaker the world has ever known can't bargain his way out of a paper bag. He walks away, holds his breath until he turns blue and then lets the other side decide if they're going to let him take the country down with him. That's the art of the tantrum, not the art of the deal. 


Touched A Nerve? Trump Flips Out After Anthony Scaramucci Delivers Warning On Fox News








The Daily Beast which recently put many of their articles behind a paywall is also publishing Covid articles like this for free.

 


Now, thanks to the pandemic, both the Times and the Post have a large number of coronavirus related articles which anyone can read whether or not they have subscriptions. Not only do they post numerous informational articles but they also post opinion stories related to the pandemic in these sections.  There’s even a video today:  “The Trauma of Caring for Coronavirus Patients” featuring a hospitalist doctor, a physician assistant and a palliative care physician who worked at one of the hardest-hit hospitals in the Bronx.  

Below are the links to the numerous cororavirus related stories from The NY Times and The Washington Post.

Of course many Daily Kos posts reference articles and opinion columns from the Times and Post and the stories on the growing number of paywall websites, as does RawStory. In many instances you don’t have to read the the summaries but if they are included in the free coronavirus sections of the Times and Post you can read the originals.


Some people try to get around paywalls. I prefer not do do this because I think it is dishonest. I know lots of people resent the paywalls so much they have no reservations in thwarting a news organization’s attempt to increase their revenue beyond what they can make by advertising. There's even an article on Medium (below) about how to do this. Ironically Medium only allows readers a limited number of clicks before they too are required to subscribe.

PAYWALL HACKS









Prominent Hong Kong Publisher Arrested Under New National Security Law


Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai and several executives at the media company he founded have been arrested for colluding with foreign forces, the highest profile arrests thus far under a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing just over a month ago.

Lai, 71, is the chairman and majority owner of the staunchly pro-democratic newspaper Apple Daily and its publishing company, Next Digital. Share prices for Next Media surged 300% within hours of his arrest as pro-democracy supporters urged each other online to support the company.

Lai's two sons Timothy Lai and Ian Lai were also arrested Monday morning after being accused, respectively, of conspiracy to defraud and collusion with foreign forces. Hong Kong police said a total of seven individuals — among them Next Media executives — had been arrested on Monday under the national security law for colluding with foreign forces.

"It's a combination of charges. Most are being arrested on some type of conspiracy to commit fraud charges ... but really it's just an effort to decapitate the management as they took out the top senior management with those charges," Mark Simon, a senior executive at Next Digital, told NPR.


Aug. 9, 2020

Trump so nervous about the debates he cut his golfing short



Trump bragged to aides his disastrous Axios interview went well and was ‘great television’👀! 
According to one White House insider, the president felt he did better than presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would have fared, telling the Beast, “He said it went very well and that Biden could never stand up to that kind of questioning. He absolutely was not mad about it.”


Below Amazing title: This is the top story on the Fox New website right now.
Excerpt:

Sane? Clinical psychologist George Simon said then that Donald Trump was such a textbook case of narcissism "that I'm archiving video clips of him to use in workshops." Without Trump, he said: "I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He's like a dream come true."

Informed? Trump imagined he could make Mexico pay for a border wall. Every time he addressed an issue, he made his ignorance obvious.

Competent? He had gone through multiple bankruptcies, while engineering such fiascoes as Trump Shuttle, Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks.

His televised interview this week with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan was an epic debacle, revealing Trump as an ignorant bumbler who has learned absolutely nothing about doing the job he was elected to do — and still may not realize that he has anything to learn.

He bragged about how he well his administration has handled the pandemic, oblivious to the human and economic devastation it has caused. He shuffled papers and cited numbers that failed to prove what he insisted — and may actually believe — they prove.

Most appalling was Trump's insistence that the pandemic is "under control." Reminded that a thousand Americans have been dying every day, the president had a blithe answer: "They are dying. That's true. It is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it."

"It is what it is"? Imagine George W. Bush saying that about 9/11, or Franklin Roosevelt about Pearl Harbor.

Trump walks out of press meet after Paula Reid fact-checks him, Internet says he 'hates strong women' 

Amy Goodman interview with Mary Trump 

Amy Goodman is an American broadcast journalistsyndicated columnistinvestigative reporter, and author. Her investigative journalism career includes coverage of the East Timor independence movement and Chevron Corporation's role in Nigeria. Since 1996, she has been the main host of Democracy Now!, a progressive global news program broadcast daily on radio, television and the Internet. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Thomas Merton Award in 2004, a Right Livelihood Awardin 2008, and an Izzy Award in 2009 for "special achievement in independent media".

In 2012, Goodman received the Gandhi Peace Award for a "significant contribution to the promotion of an enduring international peace". She is the author of six books, including the 2012 The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope,[3] and the 2016 Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America.[4] In 2016, she was criminally charged in connection with her coverage of protests of the Dakota Access pipeline.[5] The charges, which were condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists, were dismissed on October 17, 2016.[6]

She was awarded the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by Harvard's Nieman Foundation in 2014. Wikipedia


The first question:

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you have said that your uncle, President Trump, should face criminal charges for his response to the pandemic. Explain.

MARY TRUMP: It’s hard at this point to give him any slack for not having acted. You know, we now know what to do to mitigate the spread of this very infectious disease, and he’s not only not doing those things, he’s actively advocating against them still and continuing to claim that it’s just going to disappear, it’s still some kind of hoax, using the racist term “China virus” to get himself off the hook. And with over 160,000 Americans dead and rising, how can we not assume that there’s some kind of culpability here? And, you know, he is able to make steps to fix this problem, and since he’s not doing it, that, to me, also suggests criminal culpability.

If it is true that Kushner embraced the idea of COVID-19 deaths as part of a political strategy for Trump’s reelection, there can be no clearer evidence that the Trump presidency fits the definition of a “death cult.”

But Trump’s team is also deeply inept, and its macabre tactics appear to have backfired. If Kushner expected a highly contagious virus to follow his political rules and relegate itself to Democratic-run states, he was proven very wrong, very quickly with Republican-run states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Arizona being among the hardest hit.

For years, the Republican Party has cast itself as a self-righteous force for morality, embraced the “pro-life” movement, and claimed to align with “Christian values.” But just as Trump—arguably the most criminal of all U.S. presidents—has adopted a mantle of “law and order” with no hint of irony, the GOP as a whole has also shown time and again that its embrace of morality and law is a purely political tool. Now, as the nation grapples with mass deaths from a disease that a Republican president spectacularly and willfully failed to contain, conservative politicians appear willing to simply accept it. Their silence is deafening compared to the angry denunciations many Republican lawmakers hurled at President Barack Obama over his response to the Ebola epidemic—a crisis that resulted in a nationwide total of 11 infections and two deaths.

Ultimately it may be Trump’s own base that suffers as it internalizes the president’s mixed and confused messaging on ignoring social distancing guidelines, eschewing protective masks, swallowing hydroxychloroquine preventatively, and even accepting the inevitability of their own death (because “it is what it is” according to Trump). Even after more than 150,000 Americans have died from the virus, a majority of Republicans trust Trump’s coronavirus comments.


Arpaio, lest we forget, was pardoned by Trump. The current county sheriff is a Democrat. Arpaio lost to someone who may be almost as bad.
Jerry Sheridan, the winner of the Republican primary, worked in the Maricopa County Sheriff's office for 38 years before retiring as chief deputy was found in civil contempt in 2016 with connection to the racial profiling case. He was not charged with criminal contempt due to the statute of limitations.

Excerpt:

The clip that was posted to Twitter — and subsequently viewed over 1.2 million times — purports to show protesters invading a church, screaming “Black Lives Matter” and even abusing parishioners. One demonstrator is filmed calling a church member “a dumb fuck.”

The clip was uploaded by Charlie Kirk, one of the leading voices in the Trump Youth Movement, who added his own interpretation of events: “Christians have not been allowed to attend church for months,” Kirk tweeted, referring to coronavirus-related pauses in services. “But when they finally are, BLM inc. rioters are allowed to assault them. Christianity is now under physical assault by radical left wing terrorism. Where is the media coverage of this?”

Kirk, the founder of Talking Points USA, has 1.8 million followers. His chief creative officer, Benny Johnson — who also tweeted the video, has more than 315,000. The video was picked up by a who’s who of conservative and fringe media: Dinesh D’Souza, Nigel Farage, Laura Ingraham, OAN, the Daily Wire, the Blaze, PJ Media, and Mike Cernovich. The Republican candidate for US House District 20 — which includes Troy, New York, where the events in the clip took place — tweeted it. So did RT, the state-controlled Russian propaganda network. The message of the coverage was a variation on the same theme: This is the real BLM, and they’re coming for your churches next.

But like any piece of local media that goes viral on a national level, the video is missing years — in truth, decades — of context. “It’s wild that the national story is that there’s a bunch of Marxists attacking Christians in the street,” one local, who asked not to use her name because of her employment affiliation, told me. “Everyone here knows that this is our Westboro Baptist." (Grace Baptist Church and its pastor declined multiple requests for an interview).

The day of the video, the church was hosting its second AR-15 “raffle” in two days: In the middle of a neighborhood stricken with gun violence, the church was giving away one of the deadliest guns on the market. The Black Lives Matter protesters were invited inside by the church’s pastor, John Koletas, a self-proclaimed “bigot” who has preached against interracial marriage, defends the use of the n-word, and believes that black people, as descendants of Ham and Canaan, are cursed by God. He thinks Black History Month is “communism and Marxism month.” He calls Black Lives Matter protesters “savages.” He places a pork product — a ham or hot dogs — at the door, and requires all church attendees to touch it, supposedly to ward off would-be jihadists. He abhors feminists and gay people. He hates Catholics and thinks Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in the country. He mocks sexual abuse victims and the #MeToo movement. And videos of Koletas preaching these beliefs are readily available on the church’s Facebook and YouTube pages.


Aug. 8, 2020

Trump flees Bedminster press conference after reporter busts him for lying about veterans: Watch video below


Here's what writer Matt Obrien tweeted: 

The mainstream media is always extremely reluctant to say that Trump lies because they can’t prove that he knows something he’s saying is false.
Running away when he’s asked to explain a false statement is pretty good evidence that he knows it’s false—i.e., that he’s lying.

The photos of the crowd at Bedminster prompted me to write this for Daily Kos today.



The excerpt that struck me the most:

The 87-year-old casino mogul had reached out to Trump to talk about the coronavirus relief bill and the economy. But then Trump brought the conversation around to the campaign and confronted Adelson about why he wasn’t doing more to bolster his reelection, according to three people with direct knowledge of the call. One of the people said it was apparent the president had no idea how much Adelson, who’s donated tens of millions of dollars to pro-Trump efforts over the years, had helped him. Adelson chose not to come back at Trump.
The idea that Trump was speaking to one of his biggest donors was lost on him is again indicative that his cognitive ability is becoming more and more impaired.
Greed and buffoonery, and just deal with the fact that he's a pig? You know what I'm talking about. Look at one of the photographs of Trump and his wife Melania alongside their good friends Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and you've got the whole thing in a proverbial nutshell. I mean, do you have any photographs of yourself with a convicted sex offender and someone accused of procurement in a child sex ring? And Donald Trump? He's going to turn into an impeached pig who brags about grabbing women "by the pussy," who pays hush money during his first campaign for president to at least two women to cover up affairs he was having outside his marriage, who is accused by more than two dozen women of various kinds of sexual harassment and abuse over a period of decades, who becomes known for his antipathy for strong women in politics because he simply cannot stomach women who stand up to him and refuse to take his misogyny and racism. If all Trump ever did in his life was to be friends with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, that would be reason enough to consign him to the sixth ring of some kind of hell we haven't even imagined yet. At the very least, he knew who they were and he knew the disgusting, illegal stuff they were doing with little girls. And you know what kind of man that is? A pig like Donald Trump.




Hong Kong News

 Excerpt:

Hong Kong's government said the sanctions were "shameless and despicable" and represented a "blatant and barbaric" interference in China's internal affairs, warning that Hong Kong was being used as a "pawn" in the U.S.-China relationship.

The Trump administration announced Friday it would impose sanctions on Lam and Luo Huining, the head of China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, along with nine other current and former officials that Washington accuses of curtailing political freedoms, following the imposition of a draconian new security law in June.

"The unscrupulous intentions of the U.S. politicians to support the anti-China chaos in Hong Kong have been revealed, and their clowning actions are really ridiculous," China's Liaison Office said in a statement.

"Intimidation and threats cannot frighten the Chinese people."


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