February 18, 2023

As a dauntless opinion writer I was tempted to join Truth Social

 By Hal Brown

Above: Truth Social is America's "Big Tent" social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating on the basis of political ideology.

Currently I depend on various websites to report on what Trump posts on his Truth Social platform. For example Raw Story has a story about a particularly unhinged and wack-a-toon post:

Trump obviously hoped to make money from Truth Social.


He also no doubt wanted bragging rights about how many millions of followers he had there compared to when he was on Twitter.

The failure to achieve these goals have turned out to be irrelevant because Trump now has his own megaphone. He totally controls it. While not everything he posts there is widely shared in the media he can throw random shit at the wall and see what sticks in the media.  

Trump isn't on Twitter. Elon Musk, no doubt wanting him to start tweeting again to boost Twitter's statistics, reinstated him. His most recent tweet is from January 8, 2021 when he was supposedly permanently banned.

I doubt Trump would go back to making Twitter tweets because he has an agreement with Truth Social to post there six hours before he posts anywhere else. Not only that, but he would have to admit that Truth Social failed and Elon Musk had more business acumen than he did.

Just as all major media outlets have staff assigned to watching Fox News and keeping up with other right-wing media, and finding tweets to add to articles which are relevant to the subject being covered, they have staff assigned to monitoring Truth Social. It's nice work if you can get it, and can stand watching Tucker Carlson if you're assigned to Fox News, since you can do it from home.  

I could get on Truth Social for free. I could watch Fox News. I could check out all the online right-wing websites. I probably would come up with ideas for what I hope would be an original and perhaps particularly snarky take on something for this blog.

This would mean devoting a lot of time suffering through watching and reading, to put it bluntly, a lot of crap. I am retired and nobody has decided offer to pay me to do this, plus if they did it would have to be lot of money for me to even agree to devote a few hours a day to doing this.

If I joined the platform, aside from writing about Trump's Truth Social posts, I might wile away some time screwing around with Trump by replying to his posts with over-the-top fawning replies dripping with thinly veiling sarcasm aimed at stroking his ego. I wouldn't be critical of him, what's the fun in that? He'd probably never see my posts. All that would accomplish is trying to see if I could get kicked off the platform and that would only get me a subject for one blog.

The fun of flippant fawning would be to try to get Trump to "re-Truth" (his version of a re-tweet) a reply he thinks is complementary to something he posts when in fact it comes from someone who thinks he might be gullible enough to believe I am a member of his cult.

Therefore, here's my decision: 

Sorry, MSNBC, Raw Story, HUFFPOST, Daily Beast, et. al, I'm not going to accept bundles of cash to be one of your work-from-home right-wing media monitors. Besides, I figure most of you are using interns to do this.

Tempted as I am, I won't join Truth Social, and "truth" be told, part of the reason is that I am a little afraid I might enjoy posting there so much I'd become addicted to this useless endeavor.

Addendum:

Remember this guy?

Truth Social is run by Trump Media & Technology Group, and headed by Devin Nunes. In 2022, Talking Points Memo stated Nunes' remuneration was $750,000 per year.

From Newsweek:  

Devin Nunes' Cow Celebrates Congressman's Resignation 


February 17, 2023

I'm (almost) 80. I want to die knowing America is safely a democracy.

  

By Hal Brown

Click above to enlarge

Reading the following got me to thinking about being a year shy of my eightieth birthday and not living to find out if America as been plunged into a fascist dystopia.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough doesn't think Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will run for president in 2024, and he doesn't think he should.

The Republican governor has generated some excitement among donors and has polled strongly against the former president, who has already entered the race, but the "Morning Joe" host cautioned DeSantis against launching a challenge.

"Why in the world would it make sense for Ron DeSantis to run in 2024 if Donald Trump is running?" Scarborough said. "Here you have a guy who is raising hundreds of millions of dollars. He's got the stage in his state that he completely dominates. He won by a landslide in 2022 because the Democrats didn't challenge him. He now has a run of the entire state top to bottom. He could serve his second term, keep holding his press conferences, keep raising money, keep upping his game, let Donald Trump run in '24 and lose yet again, and then Joe Biden leaves and the '28 election -- I'm just speculating if people are advising him." (Raw Story)

I think that the current most likely GOP candidate, Trump, is the most beatable if he runs against President Biden. Despite his cult following he is becoming more and more deranged and his unhinged behavior is turning off moderate Republicans and Independents. Put another way, the nomination is his to lose and he is well on his way to losing it.

I also don't think DeSantis, who is the second most probable GOP candidate as things stand now, would prevail over Biden. Trump had the star power but DeSantis is as bland as unseasoned tofu. Flo from the Progressive Insurance TV commercials has exponentially more charisma than DeSantis.

This doesn't mean that he couldn't hone his act to appeal to a national audience if he doesn't run for president now and, as Joe Scarborough suggested, run next time.

My biggest fear is that Joe Biden won't be able to run again. The Democrats obviously don't have a viable backup candidate. The likely choice would be Kamala Harris. While she was the obvious choice to represent the United States at the Munich Conference I hate to say that the interview she gave with Andrea Mitchell, one, wouldn't reach a huge audience, and two more significantly while she demonstrated the chops to be president she wasn't, dare I say, on fire in her delivery.

Since I am currently physically and mentally healthy I expect that I have a good chance of living with my cognitive faculties intact for a few more years.   

I will most likely to be around blogging like a wordaholic and closely following the news  right up to the election. I will find out who wins the next election for president and whether the Democrats maintain control of the Senate and regain control of the House.

If the next president is a Republican, any Republican, I know I will be scared shitless about the future of our democracy.

If, at the least, Biden or another Democrats wins I will be able to breathe a gargantuan sigh of relief even if it is a close election, which is likely. 











February 16, 2023

Salon's Brian Karem's best line: "...extreme members of Congress, with their cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive..."

 By Hal Brown


I am always on the lookout for writers I'd call snarky wordsmiths. They not only have a lot of original thoughts to express but they convey them in compelling, often snarky and clever ways. They often come up with an original turn of phrase which really grabs me as describing an individual or group in a way I'd say was deliciously nasty. 

I think Salon has some of the best wordsmiths of this ilk. Heather "Digby" Parton and Amanda Marcotte are two of my favorites. (You can see their columns at the links.) I also particularly like Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. 

I am not meaning to suggest that there aren't superb writers posting online descriptions of people like, for example, Frank Bruni's of Ron DeSantis in The NY Times:

It brings me no joy to make those observations. It gives me the willies. I’m rooting hard against DeSantis, a flamboyantly divisive and transcendently smug operator with the chilling grandiosity to cast his political ascent as God’s will and a rapacity for power that’s one of the best arguments against giving it to him.

I am referring to the particularly powerful but also sarcastic, sardonic, and satirical ones.

Brian Karem (all columns) is another wordsmith like this who I admire. 


He has some really good descriptions in his essay today:

We went nuts over a balloon! Thank you for saving us, Rihanna


If I had to select one description from his essay which I thought was his best it is this:

... extreme members of Congress, with their cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive...

This struck me as a great way to describe the GOP zealots in Congress even though I wasn't sure whether cocaine eyes were those with tiny or enlarged pupils. I looked up the term (here):

The photo in the lower right is of a cocaine eye.

I assumed that I knew what "speed-freak jive" was, but I figured I'd look it up since I was writing this blog. I discovered it really was a "thing" in pop culture and more than just someone speaking very rapidly and incoherently.

Click above to enlarge. This is a web search on DuckDuckGo.

It is in the lyrics to The Rolling Stones' song Can't You Hear Me Knocking:
Yeah, you got satin shoes
Yeah, you got plastic boots
Y'all got cocaine eyes
Yeah, you got speed-freak jive, now

Note that both cocaine eyes and speed-freak jive used together comes from this song. Brian will have to respond to me on Twitter or Mastadon to confirm this is where he got the idea to use it in his essay.

Musician Howling Waters has a song with that title. You can watch the video here.

Other parts of the Karem essay I particularly liked in addition to the main message which is conveyed in the subtitle about the balloon hysteria that:

It ought to be a "teachable moment": This country is deeply unhinged.

It is possible to be sidetracked by the clever jabs. What he is saying is very important.

Follows are some excerpts that grabbed me:

Millions of people jumped to conclusions, declared themselves experts in downing high-altitude balloons or were too quick to blame Joe Biden for an overblown crisis that would've made a great plot point in "Seinfeld." It was like accidentally tossing a Junior Mint into an open incision during an operation. (Of course people not familiar with that episode wouldn't appreciate this.)

and... 

Speaking of Ron DeSantis, that's why many people speculate he will upend Donald Trump and claim the GOP nomination in 2024. In other words, some are betting Ron DeSantis is the flatulence that is actually a bowel movement. He keeps smelling bad and won't go away, rather like Trump, but he's a fresher squeeze of the cheeks.

I like his describing Nikki Haley this way:

Nikki Haley has now tossed her political Medusa tentacles...

He also wrote about her:

She has a better chance of shooting down a high-altitude balloon with a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun...

I'd add to that reference that it is probably an homage to the line in the classic movie "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie says he was this BB gun for Christmas and is told he'll shoot his eye out with it if he has one.
Read more about this here.

When I read creative clever wordsmiths like these I wonder why I even try to write my blog.

Below: Please comment and share on social media.

February 15, 2023

Just for fun: Stephen Colbert on Trump's new name for DeSantis: Meatball Ron, plus Billy Joel video


By Hal Brown

Above: caricatures by DonkeyHotey, illustration by author, click image to enlarge.

I think that the Meatball Ron story was first reported in The New York Times on Feb. 12th.

Link above, subscription

Excerpt:

Since November, despite the criticism he faced at the time, Mr. Trump has periodically hit out at his potential rival, albeit to a relatively small audience. He posted his most recent innuendo about the governor on Truth Social, where he has just under five million followers. And he has insulted Mr. DeSantis in casual conversations, describing him as “Meatball Ron,” an apparent dig at his appearance, or “Shutdown Ron,” a reference to restrictions the governor put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The media jumped all over this story so Trump got lots of free publicity (see news search for Meatball Ron)

Click above to enlarge image

This was covered by Fox News here:

Click above to read 

Although I read that Trump was going to try out his new nickname for Ron DeSantis, Meatball Ron, I hadn't seen the Stephen Colbert segment about this where he sang the Billy Joel 1983 classic, Uptown Girl, with new lyrics. This was referenced with a link to the music video of the song in this  article in Raw Story.

Click above to read article

I watched his 10 minute segment here, and then watched the Billy Joel version (scroll down). Colbert was very funny especially in his skewering of Nikki Haley. His singing his Meatball Ron lyrics to the tune of Uptown Girl was inspired.

Click above to watch, song is at seven minutes
The official music video form 1983 has been viewed 208 million times. The YouTube channel for the song has over 45,000 comments.
Click above to watch
Billy Joel is currently on tour playing some events with Stevie Nicks. Click here for the Billy Joel website.
Fans can view a photo album here.

Earlier posting of the blog misspelled Colbert's first name.

Postscript (reply on Twitter):




Addendum:


February 14, 2023

Reading that Trump mulled over televising executions reminded me of my message to Trump that "24" isn't real.

 By Hal Brown

I originally posted this on Daily Kos. I am reposting it here after reading this in Raw Story:

Trump mulled televising executions of death row inmates: report


By way of introduction: This revelation is entirely consistent with Trump being a sadistic malignant (sociopathic) narcissist. He may not have acted out his sadism in violent ways (aside from sexually assaulting women) but I have no doubt he has violent sadistic fantasies. This report is similar to his asking about whether immigrants trying to cross the border could be shot in the legs (reference link). We also know he envisioned a border moat filled with snakes and alligators (reference link). He seems to have relished putting children and families in cages and separating kids from their parents.

The original story:

24-waterboarding.png

We know Trump lives in world where alternate reality and reality gets mixed up on what seems to be a daily basis. We know he doesn’t read and loves to watch TV. We know it seem like he lives in episodes of The Twilight Zone. He also may live inside TV shows which play on his paranoia. After all, he considers the clinically paranoid Alex Jones (of InfoWars and Prison Planet) one of his pals. Watch his “explosive” 2015 interview with Jones. Or don’t, just check this out:

Alex Jones, a voice of the so-called "alt-right" and perpetrator of conspiracy theories, told listeners that he received a call from President-elect Donald Trump over the weekend thanking Jones and his supporters for aiding in his victory. 

The online radio host, who casts doubt on the 2012 Newtown elementary school shooting that left 26 people — mostly children — dead, told listeners that he had received a call from Trump, who also spoke with world leaders from the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China in the days following his win. 

Considering Trump’s emphatic belief that torture works, I think it is vital we remind him that TV shows where the heroic anti-hero saves the world by brutally getting a terrorist to reveal where the nuclear bomb is hidden (within a time span of just one day) — if you were a fan you know how many times Jack Bauer did that from one season to the next.

24-not-real-089n.png

Attention Mr. President, Jack Bauer wasn’t real. He was  a fictional character. Don’t believe me, look it up on Wikipedia. He was played by Keifer Sutherland.

Of course Bauer only resorted to torture when he absolutely had to. Cut to the timer on the bomb: 75 minutes 12 seconds, 11 seconds, 10 seconds, and counting.

compassionate-jack-baue.png
Jack showing his compassionate side. From 24 Redemption Behind the Scenes – Kiefer Sutherland and Siyabulela Ramba on www.24spoilers.com/...

Jack wasn’t bad. He wasn’t a sadist. He wasn’t a bully. Mr; President, you could learn that from him.

 He did what he had to do to save the world or the country, and did it eight times over 192 episodes. He was loyal to his friends and had a compassionate side. But then, all of this was penned by talented screenwriters. 

Mr. President, you ought to catch up on Keifer Sutherland’s latest TV series where he plays the “Designated Survivor” who becomes president when terrorists blow up the Capital building during the State of the Union address. He’s be a perfect role model for you to follow as president. He know he’s unprepared, he is willing to admit that there are many things he doesn’t know… and eager to learn.

He’s a reluctant president. Modest, sincere, smart but not a genius.

You could model yourself on  “The West Wing’s” Jed Bartlett (even though he also has a Wikipedia page, alas he’s really Martin Sheen); but that would be too much to hope for.

Related from 2017: 

Donald Trump Wants To Make America Waterboard Again in HUFFPOST

“But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works.”

Stop calling these airborne objects UFOS until we know they are UFOS

 By Hal Brown

One of the first depictions of a "flying saucer", by illustrator Frank R. Paul on the October 1929 issue of Hugo Gernsback's pulp science fiction magazine Science Wonder Stories. Although the term wasn't used before 1947, fantasy artwork in pulp magazines prepared the American mind to be receptive to the idea of "flying saucers". Public Domain

It was amazing to me to see White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explaining that the objects shot down weren't sent by outer space aliens. I am not suggesting she shouldn't have said anything about this although to me the 39 seconds she talked about it seemed too long. It seemed like a riff. 

She could have said simply that the three yet to be identified objects originated from a so far undetermined country. No matter how much she denied that they "things" were alien vessels there would be those who believed it was a deep-state coverup. 

I think that the use of the term UFO in reference to them was unfortunate because in common parlance it is synonymous with what used to be called flying saucers carrying aliens from other planets. 

"Mystery objects" is another I think more fitting term which is being used. General Mark Milley said that he'd just call them objects. Good on him...

Click above to enlarge.

Each time someone, whether a pilot or someone on the ground, sees something in the air they can't identify they call it a UFO and a segment of the public speculates whether it is extraterrestrial in origin. 

Only the first object was identified as a Chinese spy balloon. The three others weren't and they have not yet been identified. Moreover, none of them were flying. They were floating. Obviously all of them were objects.

Some, though not all, of the hysteria over an alien visit, incursion, or invasion could probably have been avoided it these objects were called something like  unidentified airborne objects and then shortened to UAO's. The change of merely one letter might have made a big difference.

Those who watched TV saw UFO on every chyron under reports about the objects.

If a UFO turns out to be an alien vessel what will be call it? It will be an identified flying object, and IFO, but then if and when it lands and isn't flying what will it be called? Alien spaceship or vessel would work. 

If or when aliens actually arrive we can only speculate as to why they came here. Perhaps they are Zorons from planet Xenos on a Star Trek kind of mission: 

To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no Zoron has gone before

Maybe the want to save humanity from itself, put us out of our misery because an advanced civilization deems us irredeemable I am pretty sure they won't announce themselves by floating objects in the atmosphere. 

I could be wrong about this. Perhaps the last three of these things are a big test to see how humans respond to mysterious objects in the sky and it is just a coincidence that this happened right after the Chinese balloon was discovered.

On the other hand, maybe the aliens have already met with the Chinese and are in cohorts with them.

Click above to enlarge

You can see her assure the viewers that these objects weren't sent outer  space aliens in this 39 second video clip. She did this more or less seriously although there were a few snickers from the reporters in the room and she did end smiling and saying that she loved the movie ET.

I won't bother linking to articles about this. You can look them up by clicking here.

Click above to enlarge

Today's other blog is about Trump wanting to televise executions, here.

February 13, 2023

Who is the mystery man with four pistols pictured all over the web?

 By Hal Brown

This photo was posted on the Duty to Warn Facebook page:

Click above to enlarge

Update: A poster on Mastodon found what may be the first post of this photo here. It is titled "Larry Croft spotted at a Subway in Marion, Iowa." I don't know who this Larry Croft is supposed to be. A search of his name isn't helpful. There is one Larry Croft listed as living in Iowa with previous addresses in Texas.

It could be this real person or this one. This post was viewed over 95,931 times since it was posted in 2020.. It led to 979 comments.

This Reddit post suggests the store is in Marion, Iowa. Note it was posted 14 days ago showing that a photo posted in 2020 has once again become controversial. 


Original blog story:

I did a Google Image search to see where this originated and learn more about it. It has been on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook and a couple of websites. I can't determine who took it and who the person might be.  Whoever took the photo deserves some kudos because this guy might not have appreciated being photographed.


Above is from Google Lens, a part of Google Images, click here to see how it works.

He isn't a cop because he's not wearing a duty belt which would have a radio, handcuffs, a taser, flashlight, collapsible baton, pepper spray, and bullet magazines.


Even a security officer would have more accessories on the back of his belt.

I would find it interesting to interview him to end the speculation about his reasons for carrying four pistols. From the four magazine clips visible he has at least between 80 and 84 bullets on his person.

He has to know people will be looking at him. Is he trying to get liberals to react? Does he really feel he needs these weapons to protect himself? Perhaps he has fantasies of being Rambo.

I live in Oregon where open carry is legal. I have only once seen a civilian carrying a firearm. He had a pistol in a holster on his belt. I This was in the grocery shop checkout line so I waited and followed him out. He got into a pickup truck with a big Confederate flag on the back.

If anybody can track down the identity of the person who originally posted this photo it might help solve part of the mystery. I doubt we'll ever know who is in the photo. 

Because this post is on a closed Facebook page I won't add the comments to this photo. It led to some excellent ones, some serious and others snarky.

There were at last count 29 comments including several of mine. Hopefully those who posted them will give me permission to add them to this blog.

Comments:

From the Duty to Warn Facebook page

I'm trying to figure our a few practical matters.
He has at least 4 pistols. Unless he has simian powers (ability to use his feet like hands for firing pistol 3 and 4), what is he going to use to control 4 pistols ?
Unless he is in habit of dropping his pistols and loosing them, he would be much better to have multiple clips. (the extra pistols do him no good). But them is the question, how many rounds will fit in each of the clips he is carrying (and what about the understandable fear of extended clips ?)

Say the cops were called to the Sandwich Shop. Wouldn't his appearance make him an instant target to the cops ?

...  how very fearful this man must be in his life that he has to gear up like this. How sad for him. My thoughts were that he must have real problems with his own masculinity. In short, I called him a "pussy" with no disrespect to pussies.

Tribel website Comments:

Y.M.C.A. (on Tribel)

He must really be a eunuch to need four guns.

There is someone out there that recognized that ass, a man or a woman. :D And chances are they are 1.Just like him, or 2. too embarrassed to admit they know him. :D 

He's in a Subway. 

Bottom compensating.

Addendum: 

I was an auxiliary police officer for over 20 years in two cities. In those days we carried a revolver and six or twelve extra bullets. Here with one of our cats I am on the balcony at home with our cranberry bogs in the background.

Amazing! Trump just got some bigots pissed off. By Hal Brown, MSW

  I had to read the RawStory article shown above three times to figure out what happened. Trump was showing his supposed support for law enf...