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February 3, 2020

Hal Brown Blog Feb. 1, 2020 -

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This is a blog with my own opinion plus some of today's stories that piqued my interest. Click on my photos to enlarge them. They are meant as moments of zen. Email Hal Brown (

Feb. 15, 2020

The science behind past tobacco industry efforts to branch into medicine haven't always matched the hype. Though nicotine has been shown to improve memory in pre-dementia patients, one highly touted treatment failed in four clinical trials — and some efforts to expand research into other conditions haven’t borne fruit.

Feb. 14, 2020

“I talked to somebody from the Bloomberg campaign, they said they’re hiring an expert on narcissism and combining that — no, this is for real — and combining that person with a comedy writer to get in Donald Trump’s head,” Katie Couric reported.

If this is true, I wonder which narcissism expert they hired. (It's isn't me.) Read story

Breaking Valentines Day News: A picture says it all.
Because undocumented people are so dangerous.
Click above to see tweet
The Trump administration is deploying law enforcement tactical units from the southern border as part of a supercharged arrest operation in sanctuary cities across the country, an escalation in the president’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in immigration enforcement.
The specially trained officers are being sent to cities including Chicago and New York to boost the enforcement power of local ICE officers, according to two officials who are familiar with the secret operation. Additional agents are expected to be sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, N.J.
The move reflects President Trump’s persistence in cracking down on sanctuary cities, localities that have refused to cooperate in handing over immigrants targeted for deportation to federal authorities. It comes soon after the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security announced a series of measures that will affect both American citizens and immigrants living in those places.
Lawrence Payne, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed the agency was deploying 100 officers to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducts arrests in the interior of the country, “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security.”

Click above to read comments to this tweet.
Here's mine:

Not a link

If you missed Rachel Maddow last night below is the 8 minutes featured oin HuffPost article People Aren’t Buying William Barr’s Rebuke Of Donald Trump
Click above to view

From Iran:

I think the title of this ("taking off") is hyperbole, however this is still a snapshot of part of the country. This could become a trend once towns in deep red America realize that they have the ability to pass local ordinances which impose penalties like fines for abortion.

New research may explain the weakness of centrism and the religious left

A new profile of the wonderfully foul-mouthed political scientist and rising election prognisticator Rachel Bitecofer describes her theories about voting as “unsettling,” and there’s no question that they’ve been received that way by many. They certainly have caused a stir.

Bitecofer’s model suggests that these questions about identity are what fuel our national politics, and until they’re settled, there will be precious little room for compromise, or even persuasion. Sometimes you just have to make up your damn mind, one way or another. Whatever form the religious left takes in 2020 or beyond, I hope it will help voters do just that.


Modern elections, in her view, aren’t about candidates, or their positions, or compromises appealing to the broadest swathe of voters. They aren’t even about the art of persuasion, when it gets down to it. They’re about group identity, and hating the other guys more than you hate your own. It’s negative partisanship that makes U.S. politics go around, according to Bitecofer: American society is divided into two sprawling coalitions that fear and loathe the other, and the side that best taps into that existential ego threat is likely to come out on top.

Bitecofer’s not necessarily right, and she is only one voice among many in the complex conversation of election nerdery. But her views seems intuitively right to anyone coming out of left-blogdom in the last fifteen years, as I do. What we cynics have seen time after time is Republicans playing the fear card, smearing their opponents with connections to everything from terrorism to racial conflict to sexual predation in women’s bathrooms. And it works! There are limits, but in general, the GOP has managed to parlay an unpopular agenda into stunning political gains and holds.

Feb. 13, 2020

...Trump has never been one to embrace expert opinion, whether on climate change or on windmill cancer. (Does anybody think he'd  care about of understand the article on the right, for example. HB) 
Milbank writes: “By the way, the (corona)virus,” Trump told supporters at a political rally this week. “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”
He told a meeting of governors that he "had a long talk with President Xi” of China. “He feels very confident. And he feels that, again, as I mentioned, by April or during the month of April, the heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus. So that would be a good thing. But we’re in great shape in our country. We have 11, and the 11 are getting better. Okay?”
Maybe he’s right. We should all pray that he is. But the experts have a rather different take. (Dana Milbank, Washington Post)

What always interests me is how the editors decide which photos of Trump they decide to use to illustrate a story. There are so many showing his narcissism, rage, and other elements of his being a malignant narcissist.

Feb. 12, 2020

I wondered if there was a hashtag for LordofLiars on Twitter after I read this: Trump lashes out with a dangerous lie at the federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case on AlterNet.
Scroll down the Twitter search page for #LordofLiars and you’ll find lots of non-political tweets from 2013 and then in 2016-2019 there are a few about Trump. 
Alliterations work best in hashtags and of course we see them effectively used in the titles of articles.  Lord of liars just had a ring to it for a description of Trump’s status as the most prolific liar of all time. I assumed it would have been a frequently used hashtag for him on Twitter. I was wrong.
There was only one 2020 tweet about Donald Trump, from LE Jay below, and it included a retweet of a Claire McCaskill tweet which referred to Trump as a stone cold idiot for thinking the home of the Kansas City Chiefs was in Kansas. She should know that it is in Missouri. She served as a United States Senator from Missouri from 2007 to 2019 and the Auditor of Missouri from 1999 to 2007. She is a native of Rolla, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri School of Law.

If you watch MSNBC you’re familiar with former Senator McCaskill because she has been a tireless member of their various panels often on the air until the wee hours throughout the impeachment providing the voice of experience to their commentary.

This is the only other 2020 tweet about Trump:

I decided to make my own tweet (top of page) with the hashtag and take a stab at making it trend.
I know that most of you don’t tweet and some of you don’t understand how hashtags work. This is from Twitter:


How to use hashtags
A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics on Twitter. This function was created on Twitter, and allows people to easily follow topics they are interested in.

Using hashtags to categorize Tweets by keyword

  • People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search.
  • Clicking or tapping on a hashtagged word in any message shows you other Tweets that include that hashtag.
  • Hashtags can be included anywhere in a Tweet.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often trending topics.
My polls on Kos have shown that only a small group of you tweet. I don’t know why since this is a very politically engaged group. (I’ll put a new poll on today.)
I do tweet, often with images which I like to make. I have all of 107 followers. The last time I asked Daily Kos readers who are on Twitter to follow me seven of you did and got me over 100. (Thanks!)

My Twitter page today.
My most recent tweets:
Tweeting is a way to reach people. Typically 60 to 300 or 400 hundred people look at one of my tweets. A few of them have between 600 and1000 impressions. My record was 3,822 for this tweet. 

This will dispel any notion that the Iranian government might not pay attention to what Trump tweets.On the left is what their government tweeted tonight after their attacks.

View image on Twitter

Tweeters can see the analytics but readers can’t.


Just 6% of US adults on Twitter account for 73% of political tweets… and they disapprove of Trump

A small number of prolific U.S. Twitter users create the majority of tweets, and that extends to Twitter discussions around politics, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center out today. Building on an earlier study, which discovered that 10% of users created 80% of tweets from U.S. adults, the organization today says that just 6% of U.S. adults on Twitter account for 73% of tweets about national politics.
Though your experience on Twitter may differ, based on who you follow, the majority of Twitter users don’t mention politics in their tweets.
Despite the fact that most members of Twitter don't tweet about politics just about every politician and political pundit from Nancy Pelosi to Rachel Maddow does. In fact, so does Daily Kos.


If you simply read the progressive press and liberal media online but rarely if ever write diaries or comment on them you may be among those who don't want to share your opinion with a large number of people. If you post on Daily Kos presumably you do want someone to read what you have to say and react to your point of view. I have heard in private messages from a few people who gave up posting here when they made an effort to write a post which only got 10 comments and no recommendations. I’ve read some of these diaries and think it is a shame the writers gave up after one try,
A typical post which doesn't get on the recommended list is seen by less than 100 people. The recommended posts may be seen, with rare exceptions, by at the maximum 400-500 people.
Given all this I am puzzled as to why more Kossacks not only don't tweet where at least a few people will read their opinions, but they won’t join Twitter so they can follow their favorites, but as another poll showed, won't even look at it. In addition if you have a Twitter account you can post comments to Trump’s tweets which might get your tweet in an article on a progressive website. I haven’t managed that yet but I keep trying.
For example this morning’s tweet...

Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!

… had this response among other highly critical ones:


Trump lashes out with a dangerous lie at the federal judge overseeing Roger Stone’s case

Feb. 11, 2020

Trump’s dead of night tweet bashing his own DOJ leads many to say he’s going to pardon Roger Stone – and Flynn and Manafort


Fueled by Pathological Self-pity, Trump and Netanyahu Plot Insurrections Against Democracy 

Center-left moderates fight right-wing insurgents brandishing torches and pitchforks with legal arguments and righteous indignation

Self-pity, as the meager psychological research devoted to the syndrome suggests, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is associated with neurotic personalities and is often a manifestation of pathological narcissism. People who absolve themselves of responsibility for their own actions tend to direct their anger at external forces supposedly persecuting them or wishing them harm. British actor and writer Stephen Fry described self-pity as “the most destructive vice you can have.” Paraphrasing Oscar Wilde, Fry says of self-pity: “It destroys everything around it, except itself.”

Trump and Netanyahu, each in their own way, have injected their fears, loathing, and incessant self-pity into the hearts of their devoted followers. They have brainwashed their disciples to believe in ludicrous conspiracy theories based on distorted facts and misleading interpretations of reality. They have successfully recast their own greed and misdeeds as virtues, and their investigators and prosecutors as agents of evil. They routinely nurture resentment, incite against minorities, mark “elites” as traitors, and portray liberal democracy with its checks and balances, as an enemy of the state itself.

Trump and Netanyahu have both transformed their hitherto pluralistic political parties into personal Praetorian guards in which criticism is quashed and from which dissenters are quickly banished. In this way, the two leaders have neutered their legislative branches and turned them into their personal rubber stamp. They are liquidating the gatekeepers, undermining the judiciary, purging the civil service, and elevating personal loyalty to the highest order of the land. They brandish the simplistic concept of rule of majority in order to pave their way to unbridled personal power.

The tortured souls of both leaders, wallowing in self-pity and lusting for revenge, maintain a symbiotic relationship with the surging nationalism of the right in the Western world, and its ensuing quest for populist leaders. This singular combination between the paranoias of leaders and the resentments of their followers make Israel and the U.S. concurrently unique on the world stage, countries in which a hitherto strong democracy is under attack and fighting for its very life.

Meanwhile, Trump absolutely needs his 16,241 lies and a massively expensive disinformation campaign to make up for all those aforementioned shortcomings, not unlike the way he needs his hair-helmet, his clown makeup, and his sloppy suit jackets to mask his physical flaws. We've all noticed the vast amount of heavy-lifting being done by Fox News and the congressional Republicans to prop up this weak incumbent. Parscale's Death Star is the latest wireframe to be installed, fortifying the president from totally collapsing under the ponderous weight of his own illegitimacy. It's easy to be intimidated by it all, until we realize how much effort is required to compensate for Trump's impotence.
Coppins concludes by noting that this election is "a referendum on reality itself." Exactly right. As I wrote back in November:
[W]e've found ourselves locked in a fight to defend the very fabric of reality itself. The endgame for the rest of us Normals is to victoriously bend the national discourse back to a place where a functioning supermajority accepts that reality is reality and lies are fiction. This has to be achieved before the mentally disintegrating Mad King convinces his disciples that he can use his unlimited power to arrest dissidents, to execute "invading" migrants, to arrest for murder parents who allow their dying infant to pass away peacefully — to manifest horror shows we can barely begin to contemplate.

It all begins by obliterating the truth.
Too stupid to realizes he's being mocked:
In the episode, the notoriously prickly David discovers that people want nothing to do with him when he wears the MAGA cap so he dons it as a “people repellent.” The cap gets him out of a lunch meeting he had been trying to avoid, and helps him keep the seat next to him at a sushi bar empty.
In the clip shared by Trump, David accidentally cuts off a biker, who angrily pursues him, dropping f-bombs along the way. When David dons the cap, the angry biker ― Trump’s “TOUGH GUY” ― suddenly becomes much friendlier.
Last month, sportscaster and talk-show host Michael Kay asked David if he was worried the episode mocking the MAGA hats would alienate Trump supporters.

“Alienate yourselves. Go. Go and alienate, you have my blessing,” David said to laughs from the audience. “No, I could give a fuck.” 

He also thinks Concord, Massachusetts, of Revolutionary War history fame is the same as Concord, New Hampshire.

Feb. 10, 2020


This latest example demonstrates the degree to which Trump will lie to you. On a simple matter where he could have just admitted he, like millions of us, does have a degree of vanity that compels him to tan his skin a bit, he instead calls it “fake news.” He instead wants you to buy into the lie, that he can do no wrong, or that he has no imperfections.
This is narcissism and deception like we’ve never seen before in a president. And it’s dangerous, considering that, if Trump is willing to lie and mislead you on something as simple as this, what else will he — or has he — lied about?
There are documented instances of Trump’s lies that we do know about, that we can say objectively is true or false based on evidence we have at hand. What about matters that we can’t verify or falsify? If the president makes a claim about a foreign nation, for example, that is not so easy to test as true or false, can we take him at his word at all?
Trump’s lies about the little things matter. Their insignificance, and the extent to which he will go to in order to cover up the truth, should make us question the important issues for our nation’s security and prosperity.
If Trump is willing to tell a fib about an image that everyone in the world can see is a lie, we cannot trust anything that comes out from his lips. He is, in short, an untrustworthy leader — and this small lie demonstrates that in perhaps a silly, but still serious, way.

Feb. 9, 2020

Feb. 8, 2020

Click above to read Daily Kos profile
Just an image I made:

The only thing Donald Trump didn't do in his victory-lap appearance in the East Room on Thursday was announce the pending arrest of Adam Schiff or Nancy Pelosi. He did everything else. He told his roomful of hacks and sycophants that the impeachment trial "was all bullshit." They cheered. He called the Democrats and lone Republican who favored his impeachment and removal from office "the crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people I've ever known," "lowlifes," "stone-cold crazy," "evil," "sick," "corrupt," "scum," "bad," "horrible," "vicious" and "leakers." Stammering, wheezing, snorting and sniffling, he said those who impeached him were "mean." His fans applauded. They screamed. They laughed: Fox host Laura Ingraham; Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, whom Trump called "so great, so tough, and so smart"; Rep. Devin Nunes of California, "this congressman who kept going into basements, into files, he'll find any document"; and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a "top, top wrestler." Every single one of them laughed and shouted their encouragement as the man who has told more than 15,000 lies since taking office called his Democratic enemies "liars."
It was Donald Trump unbound. Having stomped on every single "norm" that has been adhered to in Washington for more than 200 years, Trump taped up his bone spurs and stomped some more. Remember Richard Nixon's "enemies list"? Amateur hour. Trump has an enemies binder, a whole fucking enemies database. He's got people over at the IRS lining up audits. He's got deputy attorney generals drawing up subpoenas and crafting indictments. He waited less than 24 hours before he had the Treasury Department release "evidence of questionable origin" about Hunter Biden to Republican senators seeking to open the investigation of the Bidens that was spurned by the Ukrainian government.
Donald Trump is like a kid who gets on an elevator full of people and pushes the button for every floor. He does stuff because it pisses off the Democrats. He does stuff because it "owns the libs" and delights his base. He does stuff because it makes his pathetic, pinched little life a tiny bit bigger. I would say that he does stuff because it makes him happy, but I don't think he's capable of even a scintilla of joy. Mostly he does stuff because he can, and the big question we face, now that we've had an impeachment but failed to remove him from office, is whether he's going to break the great American elevator and bring this country crashing down with him. I hope not, but every day he's been in office he's gotten worse, and it's working for him.
This is a CNN article excerpt (link above).

The tip-off was the fake, breathy voice — call it Mister Rogers-on the-dark side — that the President uses whenever he is enraged but wants us to think he’s calm. He smiles and leans forward, and then spews venom in a treacly tone. Although he called it a “celebration” of his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, Trump’s hourlong ramble in the White House on Thursday sounded more like a recriminating diatribe.

President Donald Trump recapped the many investigations against him over the last three years and directed his vitriol at those who dared oppose him. They are “evil and sick people,” said Trump.

Rep. “Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person,” he said, and Speaker of the House “Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person.” Mitt Romney “used religion as a crutch,” Trump said, after Romney cited his Mormon faith in his decision to become the only senator in US history to vote to remove a president of his own party. Trump went on and called the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections “bullsh**.”
Even his decision to hold up the front page of the Washington Post, displaying the headline “Trump acquitted,” struck a sour note, since it reminded the world that he is only the third US president to be impeached — a process that has sown deep divisions in the country. Let’s not forget — the trial was rigged. His acquittal had been guaranteed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before it even began. Boasting about it was akin to former North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il bragging about the 11 holes-in-one he scored in a round of golf.

Like Kim, Trump is not like most people. We would expect any other president in his circumstance to express relief and perhaps a little happiness before promising to heal the nation’s wounds.

Trump, true to his deviance, chose to babble on about his years-ago election victory, and to curse his opponents and critics. You would hardly know that he was the billionaire who occupied the highest office in the country and had just dodged a bullet the size of a bunker-buster.

Unfortunately we still don't have an anthem for our era like "War", "Imagine", "Give Peace a Chance", "Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die", "Blowin In The Wind" and "Eve of Destruction" or "Alice's Restaurant." This isn't it, but it is a start.

Photo of Trump's shockingly orange face launches a thousand memes

Donald Trump's face is making America do a double take again.

On Friday, photographer William Moon, who posts his photos on the Twitter account @photowhitehouse, captured a photo of the president walking across the South Lawn of the White House after returning from Charlotte, North Carolina, and boy is it unsettling.

You'll immediately notice that Trump's face is glowing orange. I'm talking Big Tangerine Energy here. Definitely more bronzed than usual. Not only is his face clearly covered in tinted makeup or tanner of some sort, but there's also clear line where the makeup ends. Trump's hair is blown back a bit, and his pale scalp halo hovers above what looks like an orange mask.

also here:

Feb. 7, 2020

Feb. 6, 2020

Feb. 5, 2020

This was the most defiant, most boastful,
 most ostentatiously theatrical, most 
overtly campaign-oriented, most 
am-I-hearing-this-right? outlandish
the most flamboyantly bizarre—
State of the Union Address of All Time.

Not my endorsement of Bloomberg

“I think we ought to sue,” said (Christian activist Dave) Daubenmire. “Would that halftime show, would that have been rated PG? Were there any warnings that your 12-year-old son—whose hormones are just starting to operate – was there any warning that what he was going to see might cause him to get sexually excited?”
“Could I go into a courtroom and say, ‘Viewing what you put on that screen put me in danger of hellfire’?” he continued. “Could the court say, ‘That doesn’t apply here because the right to [produce] porn overrides your right to [not] watch it’? Yeah, well, you didn’t tell me I was gonna watch it! You just brought it into my living room. You didn’t tell me there were gonna be crotch shots! That’s discriminatory against the value I have in my house. You can’t just do that. I wanna sue them for about $867 trillion.”
Actually the opposite may be true. He may not be taking his Adderall: This combination medication is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - ADHD. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brainAmphetamine/dextroamphetamine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants. It can help increase your ability to pay attention, stay focused on an activity, and control behavior problems. It may also help you to organize your tasks and improve listening skills.

Feb. 4, 2020

 at least there's this good news:

Devin Nunes’ Hometown Newspaper Slams His Donald Trump ‘Obsession,’ Endorses Rival

These people are effing idiots


Feb. 3, 2020

The "pee tape"

Watch the Super Bowl halftime show here,
22 million + views on YouTube

I didn't watch the Super Bowl. Instead I watched this.

Read the comments to this:

Although deleted HuffPost saved some of the comments to this tweet.

Fox & Friends defended Trump’s embarrassing Chiefs tweet, because of course they did

Good old Lamar! That would be Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee — known for that exclamation point after his name, his plaid shirts and his quixotic presidential campaigns. Well, Lamar! threw his reputation and legacy into the fetid compost heap of Donald Trump's presidency last Friday. Alexander is retiring after this term, so I guess Republicans figured he was the most expendable human sacrifice to step into the breach and betray his oath by casting the deciding vote refusing to hear witnesses in the president's impeachment trial.

I'm not sure why anyone expected him to do anything else. Alexander is known to be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's BFF in the Senate, and McConnell's entire strategy for the trial was to cover up as much as possible and get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. The idea that enough Republican senators would have an attack of conscience, or even the rationality and decency, to call for witnesses in a trial was always a long shot. And frankly, Alexander was one of the longest shots of all.

Feb. 2, 2020


You can see this with Donald Trump. I don’t want to talk about him too much, but I think that’s part of what’s going on with him. If you insult virtually everybody, they're going to throw the shit back at you.

Sean Illing 

Well, I’m not going to call the president an asshole here, but I will say that he’s checking all the asshole boxes you’ve set forth in this book.

Robert Sutton

Yeah, I won't call him one either, but I agree with your assessment.

Sean Illing

What’s the surest way for someone to recognize that they’re being an asshole? I assume that most of us are occasionally assholes but prefer not to be. 

Robert Sutton

Absolutely. There's some evidence in the book about how few people will say that they're assholes compared to how many people will say they're oppressed by assholes. There's a huge disparity. The main thing this research on self-awareness says is that the worst person to ask about someone’s assholeness is the asshole himself, and the best people to ask are the people around him or her who know that person at least fairly well. Bottom line: Assholes need someone in their life to tell them they’re being an asshole.

Under the Radar in both meanings of the phrase: ‘Crazy’: FOIA’d emails reveal alarm and frustration among top NOAA officials over Trump’s ‘doctored’ Hurricane Dorian map

Feb. 1, 2020

Click above to view on Twitter where 240 people have already looked at it.

Joe Scarborough Comes Up With Scathing New Way To Describe Donald Trump’s Legal Team

Joe Scarborough on Tuesday mocked President Donald Trump for having “a  confederacy of dunces” defending him during his Senate impeachment trial over the Ukraine scandal.

Scarborough, who appeared to be channeling John Kennedy Toole’s novel with his swipe at the defense attorneys, called out the statements and arguments made by Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi and Ken Starr.

He reserved particular scorn for Starr’s complaint that we are now living in “the age of impeachment,” given his key role in the 1999 impeachment trial of then-President Bill Clinton.
If irony weren’t already dead and buried years ago, it was Ken Starr yesterday talking about how abuse of power is not sufficient to impeach a president, you need a crime. He literally dragged the corpse of irony out of the grave. He meticulously tied the corpse’s neck bone to the back of a tractor, and he ran that tractor throughout the graveyard of stupidity and ran over every headstone. Before once again kicking dirt on the corpse of irony again and putting its bones back into the ground one by one by one.
“These people lowered the collective IQ, not only of America, but of the Western world, by at least 24 points every hour they spoke on the Senate floor,” Scarborough concluded.

Can you guess what this is a still photo of? Click image to find out. Don't forget to click to see the actual video.

Plymouth, Mass.