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October 31, 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/

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Nov. 4, 2020
Waking to a wake:

Breathe, Democrats: Yes, the Trump trauma is severe — but there's no reason to panic -

This election is an agonizing nail-biter — but not a 2016 rerun. Trump knows that, and he's losing his shit - Digby
We know this. And yet because everything in us recoils from the idea that everything Donald Trump has done has not shaken these people from their fealty to him, it's still stunning when it actually happens. Trump's fans have no problem with tearing children from their mother's arms and putting them in cages, banning immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries, calling Nazis "very fine people," apologizing for terrorists who plotted to kidnap and execute a governor, or a thousand other atrocities he's committed, not the least of which is the mishandling of a devastating pandemic that has resulted in 230,000 deaths — most of which could have prevented if he had the slightest ability to do his job. They still trust him, despite the fact that the economy is in worse shape than at any time since the Great Depression because he treated the pandemic as a PR problem he could solve with spin and propaganda.

However the election ends, white supremacy has already won, Chauncey DeVega

What is actually known with great certainty about the 2020 presidential election is that white supremacy and racism have been reaffirmed and not repudiated.

Despite hundreds of thousands of people dead in the United States from the coronavirus and Trump's sabotage of the relief efforts, along with his cruelty, violence, tens of thousands of lies, treasonous behavior and destruction of the country's economy; despite the many thousands of brown and Black migrants and refugees held in his concentration camps and other detention centers; despite his vast corruption, lawbreaking, racism, white supremacy, and nativism; despite his destruction of America's and the world's environment, thereby imperiling the survival of the human race; despite being credibly accused of rape and sexual assault by dozens of women; and despite his ignorance, stupidity and overall evil, Donald Trump remains remarkably popular in the United States.

Moreover, Donald Trump has the highest base level of support in the history of modern polling in the United States. His political cult members and other followers love Donald Trump precisely because of how horrible he is and not despite it. It is a form of political sadism. Trumpism and America's current version of right-wing politics is a form of political religion binds its followers to the Great Leader and the movement in a deeply existential way.


With the future and democratic reputation of the American republic hanging in the balance, this is not an occasion for bombast. Rather it is time to reach humbly in the darkness, seeking only to summon such measured words as convey the intense dignity of this moment. In short, I think we all feel the hand of history on our pussies.

Donald Trump, America’s howling id, has not lost this election. Then again, Joe Biden has not won it. Shortly before 6am UK time, Biden addressed a rally – never a better time for one, mate – and told the Delaware crowd he was “optimistic”. In split-screen Trump addressed his Twitter retinue, and told them of “a big WIN”, adding “they are trying to STEAL the election … votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed.” Expect him to invade Pole-land in the coming days.

Still, whatever happens now, no one can argue that a result this close was a repudiation of his way of doing business, so anyone expecting the gibberingly loyal Republican party to tack away from its current psychiatric space for the next couple of decades ought probably to get used to disappointment.

Trump supporters replied to this viciously attacking
Twitter CE Jack Dorsey. Read them here.

Click images used in Daily Kos story to enlarge:

Nov. 3, 2020

Donald Trump is a carnival barker, a reality-TV character and a professional wrestling heel, made president of the United States. He is a white supremacist, a nativist and a misogynist. He is an alleged rapist, a pathological liar, mentally pathological and likely guilty of many kinds of criminal corruption. He is ignorant, impulsive and sadistic. He is quite possibly a traitor to the United States, democracy, the American people and the U.S. Constitution. In sum, Donald Trump is evil. His movement is evil. All those who support Trump are co-conspirators with evil and are therefore stained by it.

FLOTUS ‘Owns stock in coronavirus’: Melania Trump mocked for being ‘only person not wearing a mask’ at voting site 

A “lid” is what White House press secretaries use to indicate that there will be no news coming out of the White House that day. It can also be called a “Full Lid.”
The White House sometimes calls a lid when it does not want to release any information about a key topic. They call a lid to give notice to journalists that no questions will be answered.
Although the term has been around for decades, it was popularized by fictional Press Secretary C.J. Cregg on TV show The West Wing.
A presidential campaign can also call a lid when their candidate does not plan any more public events or appearances for the rest of the day.


NY Times (subscription)


NEW DELHI — More than 8,000 miles from the White House, in an Indian village ringed by lush green rice paddies, several dozen people flocked into a Hindu temple, carrying roses and strings of sweet-smelling jasmine, uttering prayers for Senator Kamala Harris.

The village, Thulasendrapuram, has a special relationship to Ms. Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. It’s where her maternal grandfather was born more than 100 years ago.

On Tuesday, Thulasendrapuram, which is about eight hours’ drive from the southern city of Chennai, pulled together in a special ceremony at the main temple to wish Ms. Harris good luck on Election Day.

Men wearing white dhotis, a sarong-like wrap, and women in bright saris draped Hindu idols with flowers and chanted hymns. As the election began to unfold in the United States, everyone was bubbly with confidence that Joseph R. Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, and Ms. Harris, would win.

“She is the daughter of the village’s soil,” said Lalitha, a housewife, who could barely contain her excitement. “The position she has attained is unbelievable.”

Although Ms. Harris has been more understated about her Indian heritage than about her experience as a Black woman, her path to the U.S. vice-presidential nomination has also been guided by the values of her Indian-born mother and her wider Indian family.

In several speeches, Ms. Harris has gushed about her Indian grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, a civil servant who inspired her with his stories about fighting for the rights of Indians to win independence from Britain.

Trump thanks campaign workers in Arlington - some without masks. Click to enlarge.

Nov. 2, 2020

Nov. 2, 2020

Psychoanalyst Justin Frank charges ‘sadist’ Trump with ‘malignant neglect’ and says he deserves ‘permanent quarantine on November 3’

Related: Trump Promotes Political Violence In Defense Of Supporters Who Swarmed Biden Bus

Days before the election, the president tweeted that his supporters “did nothing wrong” when they nearly drove a Biden campaign bus off a Texas highway

COVID Is Trump’s Undoing. He Truly Thinks He Nailed it.


The missteps were early and numerous. They’ve led the country to a terrible point and Trump to the precipice of political defeat


Publicly, Trump has given himself top scores on his handling of the pandemic, save for one component: his ability to spin it. Asked if he’d do anything different, he’s emphatically said no.

Privately, he has said the same. The Daily Beast asked seven Trump advisers and confidants who’ve spoken to the president about the virus throughout the crisis if they recalled any moment during which Trump expressed even a sliver of regret. All of the sources said no. One person close to the president said he did make sure to mention he wasn’t getting enough kudos from enough people. One senior administration official literally laughed at the idea that Trump would show any contrition over his management of the crisis, and rhetorically asked: “You’re talking about this president, right?”

Among the president’s political lieutenants and the Republican donor class, there is widespread doubt that Trump will emerge victorious in this election, and many of them are placing the blame squarely on his management of the deadly public health crisis. With that blame has come contemplation of what could have been. Trump’s confidants recognize that it is silly to expect him to suddenly become a different person and president. But there is a prevailing belief that he could have defeated Biden, or whoever the Democratic nominee was, easily had he simply acted more swiftly and seriously early on.

“The biggest regret is that the president acted so much like himself during the pandemic,” said a senior Trump administration official who works closely with the COVID task force. “There is nothing that I’m aware of that could have been done to make that un-happen… I fear that his [coronavirus] response will be in the beginning of his obituary.”

Trump Suggests He Will Fire Anthony Fauci ‘A Little Bit After’ Election

“I appreciate the advice,” the president told a crowd in Miami that chanted “Fire Fauci!”

Nov. 1, 2020

The latest row came as one of Trump’s new favored coronavirus advisors, Scott Atlas — whose expertise in epidemiology is heavily disputed by the scientific and public health community — drew fresh controversy Sunday after he gave an interview to Russian state-controlled TV channel RT.

In a tweet Atlas said he was “unaware they are a registered foreign agent.”

“I regret doing the interview and apologize for allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I especially apologize to the national security community who is working hard to defend us,” he wrote.


Oct. 31, 2020

Numbers 3 and 6 should be enough, not just for Jews but for every moral person

3. Trump’s policies are contrary to basic Jewish values of concern for the disadvantaged, the stranger, the hungry and the poor. Rather than working to improve Obamacare, Trump supported legislation that would have resulted in millions of Americans losing their medical insurance, and many others paying higher premiums. Also, rather than support efforts to rebuild the US’s crumbling infrastructure – which was graded D+ by the American Society of Civil Engineers – Trump and Republican legislators pushed through a tax bill that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest Americans and corporations. This greatly increased the US national deficit, giving the Republicans an excuse to carry out their long-time desires to try to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection and healthcare.

6. Trump’s character is hardly commendable. As New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens, a former editor of The Jerusalem Post, wrote, Trump’s character involves “lying, narcissism, bullying, bigotry, crassness, name-calling, ignorance, paranoia, incompetence and pettiness.”

Oct. 30, 2020


Trump's chances hinge on a polling screw-up way worse than 2016

You have to squint to see how Biden’s lead won’t hold up on Election Day.

OCT. 29, 2020

Most recent stats: Hong Kong surges ahead of the United States, Japan is in third place, Canada is next followed by Russia.
Click below to enlarge: 

Breaking news:

How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge

A 64-page document that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump appears to be the work of a fake "intelligence firm.

Today's Daily Kos story:

New image:

The lame duck period is always a time when outgoing presidents feel free to stir up controversy. Even presidents who care deeply about their legacies and abide by democratic norms often take uniquely unpopular actions in the closing weeks of their presidencies: George H.W. Bush pardoned six officials behind the Iran-Contra scandal; Bill Clinton pardoned more than 140 people on his final day in office — a third of all the clemencies he granted as president — including financier Marc Rich, a controversy that dogged him as he moved into the post-presidency and launched one final investigation of his time in office. Just days before he left office, Barack Obama commuted the sentence of leaker Chelsea Manning.

So, imagine what might happen in a post-election period when Trump — a president who has spent four years demonstrating his lack of interest in norms and practices of a democracy — retains all the powers and authority of the presidency and officially has nothing left to lose?


1) A pardon-a-palooza: If Trump loses, nearly everyone expects an unprecedented flurry of presidential pardons in his last 77 days — a way both to reward friends, protect his family, tweak his opponents and curry favor with those who may help him when he is back in private life.

2) Revenge on the Deep State: The area where a defeated Trump’s transition might look most normal is in its rush and whirl of actions to codify and cement various policies and practices before the clock expires on his presidency — but it’s clear that Trump’s reserving his biggest battles for the imagined forces that have held him back in office, as well as perhaps one final stab at cementing a decade-long tilt to the GOP in Congress.

3) The mass firing of top officials: Trump’s already widely telegraphing that he has a list of people to fire ready in the event of a win. The list includes officials who have rankled him through the year — including FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and CIA Director Gina Haspel — and presumably might include an even wider housecleaning of people viewed insufficiently loyal to Team Trump.

4) The destruction of records and obstruction of the new administration: The Presidential Records Act and Federal Records Act in theory guarantee the preservation of the official history of the White House’s work, presidential actions and staff debates. However, just how closely the Trump White House plans to abide by them remains an open question. 

5) Military conflict or covert action: Up until the final minutes of a presidency, the so-called “nuclear football” remains close at hand for the commander-in-chief, and while presidents have traditionally delayed potentially escalatory actions during a transition to avoid hamstringing their successor, such restraint is merely a norm.

6) Giving up on the pandemic: One widespread concern is that if Trump loses, the White House will just cease any effort to combat the pandemic, perhaps slowing the push for a vaccine or abandoning any congressional push to jumpstart the still-ailing economy — a three-month delay ahead of a Biden administration that might have catastrophic consequences for millions of families and hamstring the Biden team even further as they inherit an even-deeper hole to dig out of in 2021.

Ever since he rode down that escalator, Donald Trump has been the most paid-attention-to person on Earth. Perhaps no other political figure in American history has generated such reams of coverage trying to decipher patterns of behavior.

It has been well-documented that the 45th president operates with evident disregard for norms and rules. But over the past 5 ½ years of reporting I have determined that he abides by a firm code of conduct as predictable as it is confounding. In more than 60 stories in the Politico Magazine oeuvre that came to be known as “Trumpology,” I documented how his unswerving allegiance to a certain set of principles, unprincipled as they might seem to some, elevated him to the pinnacle of global power. If widespread polling holds true on Election Day, these same traits and tics, and rock-ribbed beliefs, might also be the reasons he’s ousted from office.

Rudy Vents to Trump That Bill Barr Is Screwing Up His Hunter Play


The president and his attorney are upset that the attorney general won’t pursue a prosecution about the dubious evidence they’ve pushed around.


The FBI has declined to confirm or deny if it’s even investigating the Hunter Biden-related emails and images, and the bureau and Justice Department have remained tightlipped on the issue. There is a long-standing institutional aversion to publicly talking about these types of investigations this close to a presidential election—though there is still no evidence at the moment that one even exists, much to the consternation of much of Trumpworld.

Were Barr to make any announcement, said Matt Miller, the former director of the Department of Justice’s public affairs office, it would be a seismic politicization of the agency.

“Barr announcing an investigation at this point would make Jim Comey’s actions in 2016 look quaint by comparison. Comey at least wasn’t trying to hurt Clinton and he wasn’t getting involved at the behest of a candidate and his attorney,” said Miller. “A Barr announcement would be a full banana republic-style intervention in the political process. DOJ shouldn’t even be taking any new investigative steps involving either candidate at this point unless there is some reason to believe those steps couldn’t wait until after the election.”

In their private conversations, Giuliani has mentioned to Trump that Barr could be up to something that he and others simply do not know about, but that he thinks it’s unlikely, according to the source close to Giuliani. Trump campaign officials, meanwhile, do not appear to be banking on any intervention.

By Charlie Pierce
Excerpts so you don't have to use up a free click

I say this with all possible respect: Barack Obama has some formidable natural blogging skills—or skillz, as the kids say. If you've caught him during his recent tour of the 2020 battlegrounds, you know what I'm talking about. We all know Inspirational Obama, and Devotional Obama, and Better Angels Obama, but Snarkmaster Obama is having a ball out there setting up light housekeeping in the president*'s cerebellum. If you're going to shoot the dozens with this guy, bring your A-game. On Tuesday, he was in Orlando, and he took El Caudillo Del Mar-a-Lago downtown.

The obvious joy Obama is taking in trolling the president* makes these appearances appointment television, especially in a country subjected to two or three of the White House wankfests a day. It is excellent TV, and nobody knows that better than our favorite reality-TV president*. At one of his rallies, on Monday evening in Pennsylvania, the president* departed the rails.

I don't even want to guess how deeply that psychopathology goes. There are areas of the human psyche that are SuperFund sites, and that's one of them.

Meanwhile, his predecessor shows every intention of cracking wise at his expense throughout the last week of the campaign. This, of course, violates the first rule of The Ex-Presidents Club: Thou shalt not harsh thy successor's mellow. And one more traditional norm goes into the woodchipper. But hey, the current president* spent four years trying to erase the Obama presidency from the statute books and from the country's historical memory. Obama is getting his own back magnificently and, hell, we all deserve a laugh.

“I have a student who truly believes Wyoming doesn’t actually exist and is only used by the Republicans to gain votes,” wrote one public high school English teacher from Texas. “They said the Democrats are trying to invade it to create their own fake votes for the state. His reasoning? ‘Have you ever actually met anyone from Wyoming?’”

Former Donald Trump staffer says conservative media ‘brainwashed’ her into hating Democrats This video show how ordinary well-meaning people were gullible enough to believe in Trump:

Oct. 28, 2020

'Anonymous,' author of White House tell-all book, revealed to be Miles Taylor, former Trump Homeland Security Chief of staff.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany responded in a statement, calling Taylor a "low-level, disgruntled former staffer" and a "liar and coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading." Disgruntled, okay, but just because he's not a household name I wouldn't call him low level. Here's his Wikipedia page.

My view:
I think it all depends on New York, both state and city. Even if Biden keeps his word not to interfere with DOJ investigations he may select an Attorney General who doesn't want to inflame the divisions in the country more than they are already inflamed. In New York I can see civil indictments and trials for Trump and those involved from the Trump Organization which could result in humongous fines but no prison time. For one thing there is a lower standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) in a civil case than a criminal one (beyond a reasonable doubt). We are already in a civil war. If and when he loses it could get much worse.

I haven't seen this yet though as a fan of Sarah Cooper I plan to do so. I did watch the Borat movie last night. I didn't like gross-out bits because 1) they are not to my taste, and 2) they are an effort, failed in my opinion, to get cheap laughs. I did laugh out loud a few times and the much publicized segment with Rudy Giuliani was excellent showing what a Trump sycophant and worm he is. Also, his narcissism made him incredibly gullible. It did prompt me to look up to see how many of the other segments used real people. He really did crash a CPAC event where Mike Pence was speaking.

Below: More comedy - a parody so real seeming it could be real

 Ivanka Trump praises her dad for ‘doing the YMCA’ as Americans die from COVID -watch video below

Michigan Judge Accused of Jeopardizing Safety and Democracy With Reversal of Open Carry Ban at Polling Places 

Citing her "sworn duty to protect every voter and their right to cast the ballot free from intimidation and harassment," the Democratic secretary of state vows to appeal the judge's injunction. 

New Study Suggests COVID-19 May Age Some Patients' Brains By 10 Years

Ny Times 

We’ve all heard how U.S. leadership failed its citizens with its pandemic response. We had the playbooks, we had the money, we had the experts. We just … didn’t use them.

But it turns out, other countries did. Because U.S. public health leaders and scientists have been planning for a catastrophe just like Covid-19 for decades, and, in typical American fashion, we didn’t just write the pandemic playbook — we exported it around the world.

In this video, we went searching for evidence that the public health innovations and scientific progress this country is famous for are still alive and well. Our journey to find lifesaving American initiatives introduced us to some interesting people: from a virus hunter in the bat caves in Thailand to a group of South Korean epidemiologists who just might have predicted this pandemic.

What we found doesn’t change the fact that more than 220,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, but it sheds light on a part of the U.S. pandemic response that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention: that America’s decades of pandemic planning actually did save lives. Just not at home.