November 26, 2022

15 Seconds: That's how long it would have taken staff at Mar-a-Lago to find out who Nick Fuentes was

15 Seconds: That's how long it would have taken staff at Mar-a-Lago to find out who Nick Fuentes was 

Two updates below

By Hal Brown

Update 2:
Click above for article.

Here's the Wikipedia page for Milo Yiannopoulos

His speeches and writings often ridicule Islamfeminismsocial justice, and political correctness. Yiannopoulos has been accused of advocating paedophilia. The allegation arose from several video clips in which he said that sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men and women can be "perfectly consensual" and positive experiences for the boys

Update 1:

Speaking with host Ali Velshi, (Dean) Obeidallah pointed out a major flaw in Trump's defense: his Secret Service protective detail.

"Donald Trump had a meal at Mar-a-Lago with Kanye West who has had a bunch of antisemitic outbursts recently, and with Nick Fuentes who is a Holocaust-denier among a library of other unsavory things," Velshi prompted. "For a guy who is running for president you think he would lay low and try and clean up its act a little bit but that does not seem to be of any interest to him."


"It's impossible to believe Trump did not know him [Fuentes]," he continued. "First of all, Trump has Secret service; you don't just wander up to Trump. Secondly, Nick Fuentes ran the America First Foundation that Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke at. There they were huge headlines Trump had to see."

I am not sure we can credit Trump with being able to remember who Fuentes was just by sight, or even by name. We don't know what headlines and articles he reads, let alone which stick in his memory.

Click above to enlarge image

The Nick Fuentes story has been in the news since it broke:

Lower right, Tweet from Trump's own ambassador to Israel: "Even a social visit from an antisemite like Kanye West and human scum like Nick Fuentes is unacceptable. I urge you to throw those bums out, disavow them and relegate them to the dustbin of history where they belong. Antisemites deserve no quarter among American leaders, right or left."

It's become a hackneyed observation to say that Trump thrives on doing things no mater how egregious and self-defeating as long as what he does puts him in the spotlight. This characteristic of his grandiose narcissism more than anything else explains why he decided to declare his candidacy for president and if he loses the primary to someone like DeSantis why he won't accept defeat quietly but will run as an independent even though it would assure President Biden or whoever the Democrats run win handily.

Trump doesn't have any so-called "friends" in show business with more star power than Ye. President Biden doesn't throw parties in some tacky resort where he can show off how many A-list celebrities support him. Here are few he could invite if he decided to have a star-studded gala. He'd never do this for attention because this isn't in his nature. Needless to say there are a lot more of them.

If Trump cared about being associated with a loose cannon like Ye he wouldn't invite him to a party which he knew would be covered by the media only because Ye was there. Whether or not Trump knew who Nick Fuentes was or ever heard of him, let alone could identify him by sight, he didn't give a damn about being associated with someone who would prompt even his allies to condemn him. He could have had staff simply screen everyone who comes to his events.

I don't mean having the Secret Service do a background check. A few staff with iPads or laptops could just do a quick Internet search. If they searched Nick Fuentes his Wikipedia page could come up instantly and be reviewed in 15 seconds.

How much of this would a savvy staffer have to read before deciding the optics of this would rule out having him within a mile of Trump?

Nicholas Joseph Fuentes (born August 18, 1998) is an American far-rightChristian nationalist, and white supremacistpolitical commentator and live streamer. A former YouTuber, his channel was permanently suspended in February 2020 for violating YouTube's hate speech policy. Fuentes has described himself as an American nationalistChristian conservative, and paleoconservative. He has expressed antisemitic views, including Holocaust denial.

Fuentes has feuded with Turning Point USA and its founder, Charlie Kirk, for supporting views that Fuentes believes to be insufficiently conservative. On October 29, 2019, Fuentes' followers, known as Groypers, began to heckle Turning Point's Culture War Tour, including a speaking event for Donald Trump Jr., In 2020, seeking to rival CPAC, Fuentes began holding the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).

Fuentes was an attendee and speaker at events preceding the 2021 United States Capitol attack.  He also attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally.

Trump practices performance art, although I am reluctant to call what he does art even though if there are cameras there and he knows that if he does something outrageous it will most likely get media coverage. A rational politician would tell those in charge of an event that will be reported in the media to "keep the crazies out" but the key word is "rational" as defined here (not that you don't know what it means but in any way, shape, or form can you apply this to Donald Trump?)

 based on or in accordance with reason or logicI'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation• (of a person) able to think clearly, sensibly, and logicallyAndrea's upset—she's not being very rational• endowed with the capacity to reasonman is a rational being.

Ye is in his own way a pathetic figure with psychiatric problems who is basking in the kind of attention he'd never have were he not in a relationship with Trump who is using him as much as Ye uses him.

Ye made noises about running for president himself until Trump told him not to do this:

Ye has one thing going for him that Trump doesn't. He admitted he was diagnosed as having the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Trump would never admit that, whether you want to say he's a malignant narcissist or not, that he has a mental condition that impairs his judgment.

In a way Trump being able to judge who is mentally unbalanced is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.  I don't mean this in any way to be a reference to Ye's race so I will put another way. it is like having the the person in charge of admissions to a psychiatric hospital being an unmedicated back ward patient. 

November 25, 2022

My modified migration to Mastodon

My migration to Mastodon

By Hal Brown

Update: Dec. 12, 2022

This is what Twitter is doing to those who tweet a link to Mastodon 

This is what someone posted on Mastodon:

If you’re wondering about Mastodon’s impact, Twitter is now automatically marking links to mastodon as “sensitive” (aka dangerous) and forcing users who get them to “appeal” the claim. In case Elon didn’t seem desperate enough for you already…

Below is a screen grab of what they tweeted with their identity blocked out by me.

Those who want to view or join Mastodon can do so at web addresses for Mastodon servers including these

Anyone who wants to promote Mastodon on Twitter may be able to avoid their algorithm tagging their tweet by 1) not using the word Mastodon 2) trying to outfox them by tweeting something like "I have a new home." 

Original Story

This is what my Mastodon profile looks like:

In case you haven't heard, Twitter is in trouble. Two alternative sites I joined are Tribel and Mastodon. I will focus on Mastodon here because I find it to be the most engaging  and interesting of the two.  People I respect and am familiar with like Robert Reich, George Takei, Kathy Griffin,  and Joy Ann Reid are posting there.

As far as I'm concerned if Kathy Griffin was the only celebrity posting there I would be hooked on the platform. I don't think I ever missed an episode of her "My Life On The D List" TV series.

She recently made the news by being suspended from Twitter by Musk:

He then reinstated her the next week:

Many people post under their real names as I do. A number of them would not be familiar to most people but have profiles on Wikipedia, for example Jennifer Taub, Matt Blaze, Jeff JarvisTanja Bueltmann, and T. Ryan Gregory

 Stephen Fry posts there. His name might sound familiar.

He's the English actor, broadcaster, comedian, director and writer known for among other things playing Jeeves in Jeeves and Wooster.

If you are curious about the background of someone who posted (or "toots") there you can click on their name. Most of them are candid about their backgrounds.

I had a seven part dialogue with one poster who actually had business dealing with him about whether Elon Musk was autist or not. 

I don't know how many there are but there's a large group of former Twitter employees who post on Mastodon.

There's a news section which highlights articles being discussed on Mastodon:

If you are curious enough by now, you can try Mastodon out by joining here

If not read more about it. Mastodon has been in the news. For example, click images to read articles:

Many users of Mastodon and Tribel have closed their Twitter accounts entirely. I haven't because I like to monitor what is going on there and keep an eye on what Elon Musk is doing. At resenting he's using polls to determine whether or not to reinstate banned accounts. This is from HUFFPOST: 

Oh Look, Elon Musk Is Letting More Banned Accounts Back On Twitter

Chief Twit rules by polling now.

I couldn't resist putting on a reply to the most recent tweet from earlier this morning:

It's highly unlikely he'll see my reply considering there were over 30,000 replies, but perhaps a few people will. I think if you use an illustration more people may look at what you tweet. It took a brief web search to find these two drawings.

November 24, 2022

Want to send a message to far-right Hobby Lobby? Shop for arts and crafts at Michael's.

 Want to send a message to far-right Hobby Lobby? Shop for arts and crafts at Michael's.

By Hal Brown

The national arts and crafts store chain Hobby Lobby and their Supreme Court case is in the news again. This is a good thing because hopefully it will lead to a Senate investigation of the religious bias of the Supreme Court in so-called "religious freedom" cases and cases where so-called "Christian values" come into play. 

Click above to read article

If you're reading this there a good chance that you have already decided that if you want to shop for arts and crafts supplies you will boycott Hobby Lobby in favor of the other national chain, Michael's, which carries the same products or a small independent store.

If you live in an urban or suburban area like I do in a Portland, Oregon suburb, both stores are nearby. If I drive for 15 minutes in one direction there's a Hobby Lobby and if I drive for 15 minutes in the opposite direction there's a Michael's. I have never set foot in the former and have shopped in the later about a dozen times.

The staff is always friendly and helpful. If I was a good reporter I'd check out a Hobby Lobby for actual comparison. I know I am letting my bias influence my imagination, but I envision a staff at Hobby Lobby having a glazed Mike Pence look in their eyes that suggests that they are working not for their bosses but for a higher power.

By Hal Brown using InPixio and BeFunky

A side issue: It is interesting how Christians have anthropomorphized God and Christ and how depicting Mohammad in art is a major point of contention in Islam.

You can find lots of artist renderings of Muhammad with a web search. This show the very human need to put a human face and form of their deities. This notion that a spiritual higher power, a being one worships and prays do, has no actual physical presence is something many religious can't conceive of. Perhaps this is behind the basis of Christianity which is that God sent his son in the human form of Christ to be his emissary on Earth. The belief held by some religious scholars that the historical Christ was merely a prophet is considered blasphemy by most Christians. 

In the Islamic religion Muhammad is considered to have been a divinely inspired prophet whose mission was to preach the monotheistic teachings of AdamAbrahamMosesJesus, and other prophets.


November 23, 2022

If Kari Lake is Trump's VP he better get a better food taster.

If Kari Lake is Trump's VP he better get a better food taster.

By Hal Brown

Reading this article in The Bulwark prompted my writing this:

Currently there are two likely GOP candidates for president in 2024, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Anybody but DeSantis seems like a long shot. In reverse order here's how The Washington Post ranked them last week.

10. Sen. Rick Scott

9. Gov. Chris Sununu 

8. Mike Pompeo

7. Nikki Haley

6. Sen. Ted Cruz

5. Sen. Tim Scott

4. Gov. Glenn Youngkin

3. Mike Pence

2. Donald Trump

1. Gov. Ron DeSantis

Honorable mentions: Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Donald Trump Jr.


Previously on this list, at No. 6: Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who — like many MAGA candidates this cycle — ultimately lost her very winnable race and lagged much of her party on the same ballot.

It seems to me that between the front runners only one is fairly easy to suck up to. Not that DeSantis doesn't have an overblown ego, but Trump is the most susceptible to flattery. DeSantis would see through it and select his vice presidential choice as someone who would enhance his chances of winning.

If by some cruel cosmic joke Trump won and someone like Kari Lake was his vice president she'd be very different than the pious Mike Pence whose presidential ambitions faded when he proclaimed his devotion to Donald Trump.

Anyone on The Washington Post list could decide to attempt to curry Trump's favor so they'd be his vice presidential choice should he win the nomination.

Only one, Kari Lake, jumped out at me as being sociopathic enough to decide the quickest route to the presidency is the untimely demise of the president if she was next in line to be president. President Lake, has a ring to it...

Even though Trump hates losers, he also might find Kari Lake to have charms he can't resist. Who would want looking with adoration at him. Kari Lake, Nikki Haley, and Kristi Noem might be in close competition with each other. After all Trump think's he's God's gift women.

Forget about Ted Cruz.

He'd be likely to identify with Lake's doubling and tripling down on denying both the results of her own and more importantly his election.

She'd also be someone who would make a far better opening act at his rallies than posers like his older sons and Mr. Pillow. After all she shares a television background with him and knows how to talk to an audience through a camera.

The only drawback for her would be that he might find she upstages him. She'd have to be wary so she learns the lesson of being the opening act for a major star: be good but not that good. She could learn from reading "10 Opening Bands That Upstaged The Headliners.' Most of these bands went on to become headliners but she'd have to bide her time.

November 22, 2022

Would it be that "America the Beautiful" was really America the beautiful

Would it be that "America the Beautiful" was really America the beautiful

by Hal Brown

Archives on Right >

All the photos below are mine. Click to enlarge them.


I looked with dismay at a map of 2022 House election results in a HuffPost article which had an interactive red/blue map.  The article was featured as the main story on their website:

It was the map not so much the expected loss of all but two members of the House losing their runs for reelection that got to me.

I live in western Oregon which is a Democratic area that occasionally elects Republican candidates but is mostly blue. 

My partner and I enjoy exploring the lovely countryside around where we live in a Portland suburb. 

From the rolling hills of Oregon's wine country (above) to the small towns with unique restaurants like The Scream'n Chicken in Gaston...

... to the Washington side of the mighty Columbia River we find both beauty and reminders that in some ways we are in alien territory. I took these photos on Washington's Rt. 14 along the Columbia River:

Below: These are in the town of Aurora which is known for its antique stores all in historic homes. We often eat at The Old Colony Pub there. These are two houses in Aurora which are across the street from each other.

We sometime find ourselves in hard-core MAGA areas. Once in a small town we ate in a restaurant where we could overhear a group of men debating which kinds of guns they preferred. 

In our own district five the highly qualified liberal Democrat t Jamie McLeod-Skinner lost a tight race to Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer. Thankfully Democrat Tina Kotek won a squeaker beating far-right candidate Christine Drazen and would-be spoiler independent Betsy Johnson for governor. This is a result of all the right-wing voters residing not only in the very rural parts of the state but also in some of our suburban areas.

Back to the national map...

Looking at it filled me with sadness. So much red and so little blue.  I live in western Oregon, clearly a Democratic area. 

Population centers around the country are blue but many beautiful scenic rural areas vote 60/40 GOP  

The verses of America the Beautiful came to mind. It is a song I think would be a better national anthem than a song about a War of 1812 battle and the US flag.  

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea! 

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea. 

An anonymous blogger in a 2010 post said it as well as I could


This is no new movement.  Although not the National Anthem, America The Beautiful is just as widely recognized by Americans, and has been called the most beloved of all American patriotic songs.   Quoting Lynn Sherr, ABC News correspondent and author of the book America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation’s Favorite Song says this,  “I think it’s simple, I think it’s emotional, and I think it talks about a country, a land and its people — not just about a flag, not just about a battle.  It doesn’t talk about conquest. It talks about the possibilities of this nation.”

America The Beautiful was written in 1893 by Katharine Lee Bates – a thirty-three year old English professor from Wellesley College – as she traveled by train across our great nation.   Her inspiration was her awe for what she witnessed, very much like Francis Scott Key almost a century before.

Perhaps the preference comes down to whether you’re a “spacious skies” or a “bombs bursting in air” kind of person.

I'm a spacious skies kind of person. I wish more Americans were.

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