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August 1, 2020

Hal Brown Blog

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

Aug. 3, 2020

Aug 2, 2020

Lincoln Project, The Moms of Portland, and everywhere else Trump unleashes his thugs

There's no way Trump cares about this, so somebody with the power to do this is responsible for doing this. It could be Pence or someone of the vice president's staff. It is one of those under-reported stories:

I read this Daily Kos article, A group of Harvard and MIT scientists are snorting an untested COVID-19 vaccineand went to the source (below) and copied and saved the text since it is one of only three you can read on the MIT Review for free. You might want to do the same.

Hong Kong issues arrest warrants for six overseas democracy activists including US citizen, state media reports

Aug. 1, 2020


A breaking news story about a broken tweet, mocked on twitter for having them offer a translation because the words were incompressible :
It is still there so you can click to read
the replies, below are a few good ones:

There were some serious replies but these were the snarky ones.

This includes an 8 minute video plus a transcript:
Donald Trump is losing his grip on his administration, his campaign for reelection, and reality at this point, and his staffers in Washington have just about had enough. They realize now that they can’t keep him on message and that he’s going to do whatever kind of weird stuff he wants to do, and they’ve just decided to accept it. But the problem is that if there is no one to tell him to knock it off, he’s likely to dig his hole even deeper, as Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains.

Found online: These images speak for themselves..
I captioned this one:

Trump is still saber rattling about sending his storm troopers back to Portland:

... he won't like this news...

and if he looks at the replies to his tweets (which I am sure he rarely if ever does) he won't like the one above or this one:

Just for Fun:
A dog that is far smarter than Trump


Our planet is a tiny porthole, looking over a cosmic sea. Can we learn what lies beyond our own horizons of perception?


But what if the universe isn’t just bigger than we perceive, circumstantially, but bigger than we even can perceive? What if it extends in every direction, and then some?

Our everyday experience tells us that space has three dimensions. Front/back, left/right, up/down. In physics, we describe time as a fourth dimension, and wrap the whole thing up as spacetime – a kind of bendy 4D cosmic grid. The malleability of spacetime, a basic tenet of Albert Einstein’s relativity, allows that grid to warp and stretch in response to the motion and mass of everything in it. It’s why space can expand and distort the passage of time, and why time moves more slowly if you’re in a fast rocket or hanging out near a black hole.

However, physicists have been wondering for years whether the three dimensions of space we experience might be only part of the picture. If there are more spatial dimensions, extending out in new directions we can’t perceive, that could help to explain some puzzling aspects of theoretical physics and the behaviour of gravity. Add an extra dimension of space to the Universe, and you find that gravity can ‘leak’ out into it, making the force seem weaker than it really is, and potentially explaining why its strength is so minuscule compared with the forces governing particle physics.

What if an extra dimension can hide an entire universe?

July 30, 2020

Hal Brown Blog

 Click here for just Friday edition  This is a blog with my  opinions on news stories that pique my interest. Search for Hal Brown and Trump

Breaking News: McConnell signal to Republican Senate candidates: Distance from Trump if necessary

Trump Has Been Comparing Himself to Nixon. That’s Hooey. By John Dean (Subscription)

The former president could only dream of wielding the police powers Mr. Trump has seized for himself.

First the images (click below to enlarge), then excerpts:

President Trump has been comparing himself to Richard Nixon, tweeting “LAW & ORDER,” and claiming he learned a lot from Nixon. Others have been comparing Mr. Trump’s handling of civil disorder to Nixon’s. No one will ever tag me a Nixon apologist, but in Nixon’s defense these claims are hooey.

I worked for our last authoritarian president, Richard Nixon — a man who experienced violent protests and demonstrations throughout his political career. In 1968, he ran as the “law and order” candidate, for it was a time of tumult: assassinations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy. Riots ripped Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, Washington and other major cities. Civil rights and antiwar protests closed down campuses large and small. There were nightly news reports of endless death from the killing fields of Vietnam, including the Tet offensive and the My Lai massacre.

Nixon was running on credentials established long before the 1968 presidential contest. As vice president, Nixon and his wife traveled though South America, where they frequently were confronted by protesters. Nixon used those protest situations to brandish his I-am-fearless image by walking among the protesters to make 
The video imagines a young Republican
waking up from a three-year coma and
 being updated by his family about Trump
 illegally paying off a porn star, Mexico not
paying for the wall, Trump praising white
 nationalists after the fatal Charlottesville
 “Unite the Right” rally and his administration’s
 failed response to the coronavirus pandemic.
clear that he was not intimidated, nor would they influence American policy.

On becoming president in 1969, Nixon inherited a global anti-Vietnam War protest movement that had contributed to the decision of his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, not to seek re-election.

From his first day in office, Nixon faced huge demonstrations, which he instructed his White House counsel to monitor closely. When I was appointed to that post 18 months into his presidency, I discovered that all of the key intelligence agencies reported domestic and related foreign intelligence about disruptive protests, demonstrations and civil unrest occurring throughout the country to the counsel’s office, where we digested and shared it with the president and senior staff.

-------------------Dean concludes---------------------

Most conspicuously, for Donald Trump it creates optics he believes he can exploit in his re-election campaign. Indeed, Nixon successfully used images of disorder in 1968, and falsely charged demonstrators in 1972 as working for his opponent when he was running for re-election. But Mr. Trump is provoking disorder by using federal forces, which is quite different.

The reason Attorney General Barr is backing this action is that he believes the president should, in fact, be able to do most anything he wishes, whenever he wants. Mr. Barr is using 200 federal officers here and there today, so tomorrow he can dispatch 2,000 or 20,000. He is making the unprecedented precedented.
Richard Nixon closeted his authoritarianism behind closed doors, and only because he taped himself do we have a good understanding of it. Donald Trump, however, has paraded his authoritarianism in the Rose Garden and at rallies. He wants to be seen as a demagogue.

Nixon did not have an authoritarian Republican Party to support his imperial presidency and was forced to prematurely resign. Mr. Trump has a G.O.P. that seeks to expand his authoritarian presidency. Militarizing federal forces to perform state and local police functions is merely another norm-shattering example.

Mr. Trump’s latest threat is that he will not leave the presidency if he loses. He is making Nixon’s authoritarian behavior look tame.

Best letter to The NY Times:

To the Editor:

Weird Science and Self-Pity From President During Briefing

 (news article, July 29):
Watch video

How refreshing to hear Donald Trump actually show some understanding, even if only partial. Trying to figure out why “nobody likes me,” Mr. Trump concluded, “it can only be my personality.”

Indeed, Mr. Trump, your personality does explain, albeit not completely, your unpopularity. The very fact that you are discussing your unpopularity at a briefing about a catastrophic virus is itself evidence of the narcissism that partly explains that very unpopularity. Yet this horrid behavior is itself insufficient to explain why you are held in such low regard.

A more complete explanation would surely include a consideration of your incompetence; your corruption; your general failure to grasp how viruses, tariffs, science and a host of other things work; your sexism; your homophobia; your support of white supremacists; your contempt for the majority of your constituents; and countless other aspects of your failed presidency.

In sum, Mr. Trump, you are unpopular because of your myriad shortcomings as a leader, and not merely because of your personality flaws.

Jonathan Maskit
Granville, Ohio

Portland sees peaceful night of protests following withdrawal of federal troops, The Guardian

In contrast, the state troopers did not intervene even when the scale of the protest on Thursday night passed the point, as demonstrators shook the fence around the courthouse, at which in early demonstrations the federal agents generally fired teargas, stun grenades and baton rounds.

In the absence of confrontation, and with the state police remaining largely unseen inside the courthouse, tensions quickly eased. Without the federal forces to draw attention, protest organisers kept the focus on Black Lives Matters and reform of the Portland police.

Some in the crowd worked to avoid trouble by stopping demonstrators from lighting fires and shooting fireworks at the courthouse as they had done on previous nights.

"None dare call it treason, but perhaps one day they will," Joe Scarborough addresses his Washington Post OpEd to congressional Republicans enabling Trump. Washington Post subscription.


I know Trump’s devotion to Putin deeply disturbs you, but somehow you swallow that bile and keep running cover for them both. How hard it must have been to keep all of that down when Trump’s foreign policy advisernational security advisercampaign chairmandeputy campaign chairmanpersonal lawyerpolitical consultant and attorney general were all busted for lying to federal investigators or Congress about their contacts with Russians. But you still kept your head down and marched in a single formation behind Trump.

When it was revealed that Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign was “sweeping and systematic,” you shrugged your shoulders. You later learned that Russian nationals with connections to the Kremlin promised Trump’s family dirt on Hillary Clinton, and that they were excited to learn it was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” You remained motionless, numb to it all, when federal investigators later revealed that Russia’s GRU began hacking Clinton-related email accounts hours after Trump announced this: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

By this time, you began mindlessly regurgitating the former reality TV host’s propaganda about the “Russian hoax,” and hoped Americans would be stupid enough to ignore the mountains of damning evidence against Trump. Your singular focus turned to the Steele dossier’s most lurid tales, and you believed then, and now, that Christopher Steele’s fantastical claims could erase a multitude of Trump’s sins.

 You repeated the lies of Attorney General William P. Barr and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey O. Graham when they falsely claimed the FBI’s investigation began with Steele’s dossier. And you kept repeating this idiotic defense even after it became painfully evident that Trump’s team welcomed Russia’s interference in American democracy and then tried to cover it up. You still refuse to criticize the Trump team’s use of material stolen by Russia during the last month of the campaign, just like you and your president continue turning a blind eye to any Russian bounties.

None dare call it treason, but perhaps one day they will.

And then there's Jim Jordan

Does the screeching Jim Jordan ever watch videos of himself? Does he realize 1) that he comes across as unhinged, and 2) that his political agenda is so obvious. Number 3) would be a stretch to assume he might know that his logic if you can call it that is flawed.

 Here he is haranguing Dr. Fauci who at first remains matter of fact  to being baited to say Black Lives Matter protesters should stay at home top protect themselves from Covid. He's fairly stoic the beginning, but ends up looking from side to side almost laughing at Jordan. Watch video
Jordan went off on a rant, loudly asserting, “You make all kind of recommendations. You made comments on dating and baseball and everything you can imagine. You just said protests increase the spread — should we try to limit the protest?” “No, I think I would leave that to people who are more in a position to do that,” Fauci replied while beginning to smile and look from side to side as Jordan went off on a rant about churches being forced to close, finally answering the congressman and telling him, “I’m not favoring of anybody over anybody. I’m just making a statement that’s a broad statement that avoid crowds of any type no matter where you are because that leads to the acquisition and transmission, and I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd. when you’re in a crowd, particularly if you’re not wearing a mask.”
This article has some good tweets about "Gym Jordan" the sexual abuse enabling former wrestling coach.

How about this quote from CNN:

The co-founder of the conservative Federalist Society said Thursday in a blistering New York Times op-ed that President Donald Trump's tweet musing about a delay to November's presidential election is grounds for impeachment
Steven Calabresi, a Northwestern University law professor who has offered broad defenses of the President in recent years, wrote, "I am frankly appalled by the president's recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats' assertion that President Trump is a fascist."
"But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president's immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate," he said. 
It's a significant break from the co-founder of one of the most influential groups in Republican politics. The Federalist Society has emerged as a leading conservative and libertarian voice in recent years, urging a limited role for judges in society's problems.

No doubt Trump wishes he had the power to do this: Hong Kong postpones legislative elections for a year over coronavirus fears

Under the Basic Law -- Hong Kong's mini constitution -- Legislative Council terms are limited to four years. Lam said she has therefore reached out to the Central People's Government for guidance as to how to deal with this one-year "vacuum." She said Beijing will make a submission to the National People's Congress standing committee for a decision.
Lam said that while it is not up to her, she believes a logical solution would be to allow the current Legislative Council to continue for the next year.
Some pro-democracy activists including Joshua Wong have claimed the government is using the pandemic as an excuse to indefinitely postpone a crucial election for Hong Kong.
They have accused the government of wanting to avoid a potential loss following China's imposition of a new national security law on the city, banning secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. 
The democratic camp had set its sights on winning a majority in the 70-member Legislative Council polls this September.

Hal Brown blog

 Click here for just Thurs. edition  This is a blog with my  opinions on news stories that pique my interest. My Bio here.

All Time Stats, click to enlarge

July 30, 2020 Scroll down for my comments on some of the stories of the day.

If I had to bet, I'd bet that Biden selects Harris to be
his running mate because all of the other black women she
brings him the most votes. It is a shame that some
people are advising him against this for the reason
laid out in this article.

Would-be dictator Donald Trump would be unstoppable in a second term. That must not happen - by three mental health professionals -Salon

Publishers comment: This article doesn't offer anything particularly new. For that we have Mary Trump, the one mental health professional who has, at least informally, examined him in real life. I have nothing against articles like these and I have written dozens which I posted on Daily Kos.

These psychology (or Trumpology) articles have been published mostly on liberal websites. One of the only article published in the mass circulation media was "Donald Trump's malignant narcissism is toxic" by John Gartner, PhD, the founder of the Duty to Warn group.  At first these articles did a service by informing the general public about Trump's psychopathology. Of course they were not read by Trump supporters. Now the term "malignant narcissism" has become well known by those who have been reading about why he is psychologically dangerous. Bandy Lee, MD, the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, distributed copies of the book to all Democrats in Congress and briefed a dozen members of Congress, including one unnamed Republican, on Trump's mental state.   Hal Brown

Herman Cain just died from Covid. 
Not a link

As one of Trump's most prominent black supporters I wonder how coming just after Trump's shrugging off the death of John Lewis how he will pay tribute to someone whose contribution to the back community was being a pizza entrepreneur.

Statue of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, VA, seen at night.
Courtesy of Abstract Concrete Works, not a link.

You need a subscription to read this. Below are a few excerpts:

 I’ve been on the front lines of the protests here, searching for the “radical-left anarchists” who President Trump says are on Portland streets each evening.
I thought I’d found one: a man who for weeks leapt into the fray and has been shot four times with impact munitions yet keeps coming back. I figured he must be a crazed anarchist.

But no, he turned out to be Dr. Bryan Wolf, a radiologist who wears his white doctor’s jacket and carries a sign with a red cross and the words “humanitarian aid.” He pleads with federal forces not to shoot or gas protesters.

“Put your gun barrels down!” he cries out. “Why are you loading your grenade launchers? We’re just standing ——”

And then they shoot.


I’m against all violent attacks on officers, and I worry that Trump’s provocations are succeeding in seeding violence — as we’ve already seen in Seattle, Oakland and elsewhere. Every time angry progressives burn a building down, they win votes for Trump.

That’s what this is about: politics. The big threat in Portland and across America is not anarchists but Covid-19, so Trump welcomes street clashes to change the subject. If he actually cared about the defacement of the federal courthouse in Portland, he would remove the graffiti; instead, he leaves it there for photo ops. It’s the protesters, not the federal authorities, who deploy teams each night in Portland to clean up the area around the courthouse.

It also must be said that while there’s violence from both sides, what I’ve seen firsthand is that the most violent behavior overwhelmingly comes from the federal agents, and indeed the most serious injuries have been suffered by protesters. Your federal tax dollars paid to shoot a man in the face with a “less lethal” munition — an unprovoked assault that left him with a fractured skull and possible brain damage.

If you want to call one side “rioters” or “anarchists” working to create tumult in Portland, it’s the uninvited feds who qualify.

Food for thought: With Trump sometimes a so-called "softball interview" will be more revealing than a tough interview with questions he will evade or deflect from.
WHEN IT CAME TO ASKING THE PRESIDENT about his mental soundness last week, which Fox News reporter extracted the more revealing answer? 
First up was Chris Wallace, the tough Fox News Sunday anchor, who said this about the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test that Trump so proudly passed: “I took the test too when I heard that you passed it,” said Wallace. “It’s not—well, it’s not the hardest test. They have a picture, and it says, ‘What’s that?’ And it’s an elephant.”
A few days later, Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News’s medical commentator, asked Trump about the same topic, but framed his inquiry this way: “Presidential health, or health of the candidate, is going to be on the table.… I’ve seen a lot about your health, being in good health. What do you think should come out…regarding Vice President Biden?” 
Wallace’s question may have been more emotionally satisfying, but it was Siegel—a commentator prone to adulation of Trump—who got the more telling answer: a six-minute meander through Trump’s thicket of self-diagnosis, during which the president mentioned China, Russia, Ukraine, judicial appointments, the Twenty-fifth Amendment, and, most notably, his ability to recite a string of five words while under observation by medical experts. The camera, trained mostly on Trump, occasionally cut to Siegel, who smiled sweetly and nodded understandingly, barely uttering a word as the president repeated “Person, woman, man, camera, TV” four times. 

Birx recommends face shields in addition to masks

Left: Yours truly with my Westie mask and swim goggles.

This is an important Covid-19 article which I think is available without a subscription.