May 27, 2023

Can Twitter replace Fox News? Consider what my Twitter page looked like this morning.

By Hal Brown 

Most of you, if I have an accurate sense of my blog readers, are loathe to even click on Twitter let alone actually have an account and post their own tweets there. You probably would be one of the people depicted in the DonkeyHotey image from 2022 above. You can see how he was depicted by caricaturist DonkeyHotey (website) with an impish smile in 2012 to looking mean but oblivious in his grandiose state of smug self-delusion in 2022. 

Yet Elon Musk makes the news almost every day and now, according to a featured article in Salon this morning, wants to have Twitter replace Fox News:

I am not sure how this is possible. I doubt very many people want to turn off their televisions and use their laptops or other Internet devises to get their fix of right-wing opinion. There are ways to watch the Internet on the big screen (seeWikiHow) - but how many people are going to do this? My hunch is not very many. I tried to get my laptop to play through my smart TV with a cable I had for another purpose and after considerable trial and error I manage to get it to work. 

Then  noticed that my smart TV had an Internet setting so I was able to get Twitter there.

This may all seem like techie stuff, but in order for Musk to succeed in making Twitter an alternative to Fox News he has to have numerous people willing to take the steps to put it on their televisions. 

Given that, how many people even open Twitter first thing when they look at what's online using an Internet device? The MAGA world he lusting after, even want to follow the news, are more likely to turn on their television than go to the Internet. If he really wanted to become a media mogul like Rupert Murdoch he would be better off if he purchased NewsMax or One America News (OAN) and try to expand the number of cable stations which broadcast them. This is a bit dated being from 2021 but is relevant: Large Majorities of Newsmax and OAN News Consumers Also Go to Fox News. He'd have his work cut out for him but at least he'd have an opening to break into television.

My morning online routine is to look at my overnight email, then see what HUFFPOST has as their top story, check Raw Story for their articles which summarizes news as it breaks, I scan The New York Times and Washington Post websites, and see what Salon is publishing.

I always have MSNBC on so on weekdays "Morning Joe" is playing in the background.

Among all these sources I try to come up with an original take for my blog of the day.

For those of you who rarely if ever look at Twitter, and may see screen grabs of select tweets in various articles, below are screen grabs of my Twitter page for this morning.

Clicking images will enlarge them and not take you to Twitter.

After skimming the Salon article I thought I'd see what just going to looked like.

The top tweet is from Musk about DeSantis and his announcement on Twitter:
What stood out to me was the Trump-like incoherent sentence "But you what isn't noise?" I assume he meant to write "But what you hear isn't noise" ending with a period rather than a question mark. The sentence after that isn't grammatical either. What would convey what (true or not) Musk meant is that what people heard wasn't noise but rather was DeSantis setting an all-time record for fund-raising.

If you click on Find out more this is what you will see:
You will have to go to Twitter (here) to read their Community Notes Guide.

In order going down the page as it appeared on my laptop are the following mishmash of tweets. I don't know if your Twitter page would look like this. I was struck by the contrast in tweets from liberal Thom Hartmann's tweet with was second under Musk's tweet to Lauren Boebert which was the next tweet. Down the page there was a similar contrast.

While alternative platforms, one of the best known being Mastodon (below)  have tried to replace Twitter, none have lured away the well known posters on Twitter as the screen grabs show.

Today there are tweets from President Biden, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rick Scott,  George Conway, Jim Jordan, and Barack Obama for example.

 So far I haven't seen a post on Mastodon, where I have an account where I've made 952 posts since Nov. 2022 (here) copied onto a news or opinion article they way so many tweets are.

Update: (Ben Collins is a senior reported at NBC News)

May 26, 2023

It is like fleeing an obsessive and brutal regime in another country: She was trans in Texas and her family moved to Oregon

 By Hal Brown

This story was covered on Portland's KOIN TV:

Fearing for their trans daughter’s safety, a Texas family flees to Oregon

This is a poignant story. It has a happy ending.

It is a tale that reminded me of how people fled from persecution in brutal dictatorships where they rightly feared for their safety and in some instances where their lives were in jeopardy.

I won't attempt to wax poetic about Oregon and how, if you are a progressive, it is weird and wonderful. I've done this before, for example recently in my blog "Stop calling the GOP anti-woke hysteria weird. Weird is wonderful. Call it wiggy instead."

I also won't excerpt the KOIN-TV article which describes how the Texas family whose daughter, born physically male, realized at the age of three that she was a girl. 

Time went on and living in Texas became more and more stressful for the family described in the article living under Gov. Greg Abbott's anti-trans policies.

Being a member of an oppressed minority in a state or country is bad enough, but being a member of a group which is targeted for persecution or even prosecution in another matter.

Ultimately fears that Texas children's service could investigate them and even legally remove the child, then 10 years old, from the parental custody they decided to move to Pride proud Portland.

The child, now 11, and her parents, are now living safe and happily in Portland.

I urge that you read either the article or, better yet, watch the 7:41 minute video. 

There are well-known historic examples of how people fled home countries, from NAZI Germany to Cuba to North Africa to Venezuela. Now here in the divided United States (which I wrote about yesterday in "The 2024 Election will be like the new Battle of Fort Sumpter") we have the tragic spectacle of people feeling that to be safe they have to leave, or we could use the word "flee", their home states.

Women are having to temporarily leave the states where they live to get abortions. Students having to consider transferring from a college they love because the governor has decided it's was too "woke" (as in the case of New College in Florida). 

Across the country we have an uncounted number of people who may be seriously considering moving to a state where they feel they will be free from living under the boot of a dictatorship which has targeted them and their beliefs. The graphic below is from this website.

The states shown above, like Oregon, Washington, and New York, which aren't deep blue like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have sections with more conservative residents. Here in Oregon there is even a movement in the eastern rural part of the state to secede and become a part of Idaho.

Click image below to enlarge. The most liberal states are on the top and the most conservative on the bottom.

Whether someone is or has a loved one who is a member of the LQBTQ+ community or who has lost their job like the teachers in Florida who have been suspended for teaching "woke" there are millions of people living in states the government and the majority of residents  would be pleased if they moved. The majority may consider you to be a pervert or groomer. They may think you are a baby killer. They may think you are a communist or socialist. They may think you are merely an elitist. For whatever reason they don't think you belong in their state.

Each person with the means to move who feels attacked for their choices and beliefs has to consider whether it makes sense to stay and fight for their beliefs or chose to move to a progressive state. There are some states where so many residents have their beliefs so entrenched that change in the foreseeable future is just about impossible. 

Of course some people who may want to flee their state are just are unable to move. Aside from not having the money, this may be because of their employment (the family who moved to Oregon was lucky in that the husband's employer was able to transfer him), or having a network of family and friends where they live, or for other reasons. Living where I do in a Portland suburb and having moved from a suburb of Boston I feel lucky. I also feel for everyone who feels trapped in a state where they feel oppressed.

Both in the past and in the present people risked or are risking their lives to escape authoritarian intolerant regimes. People found ways to cross national borders from Germany in the late 1930's, they tried to climb a wall in Berlin, in recent times they are embarking on perilous sea journeys, or trekking thousands of miles from Central American to the Mexico-America border. 

Click above to read article

The logistics for Americans are easier. People can rent a U-Haul and a car hitch and without the danger of getting shot or drowning they can relocate. Unfortunately for those who want to move, it isn't really that easy.

May 25, 2023

2024 election will be the new Battle of Fort Sumpter

 By Hal Brown

Battle of Fort Sumpter, Currier and Ives, Public Domain

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024 the equivalent of the Battle of Fort Sumpter which marked the beginning of the Civil War will begin.  The bombardment of the fort, which is near Charleston, was by the South  Carolina militia. It ended with the surrender by the United State Army. 

Not that anyone reading this blog needs a reminder, but briefly:

The Civil War remains the bloodiest war in American history with over 620,000 deaths. The war began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate soldiers attacked Union bases at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It was fought for four years, three weeks and six days until Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. General Joseph E. Johnston subsequently surrendered on April 26, 1865, while Kirby Smith surrendered on June 2, 1865. Cherokee General Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender on June 23, 1865. (Reference)

When the southern states seceded the country looked like this:

Slave and free states and territories at start of Civil War

There are several slightly different maps showing how the country looks today. Here is one of them. You get the idea.

The issue of the right of people to own people who were kidnapped from Africa (those abolitionists called accurately "slaves") and force them to work for them is what ultimately led to the Civil War.  It could be said to have started with the election of Abraham Lincoln.

The election of 1860 was one of the most pivotal presidential elections in American history. It pitted Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln against Democratic Party nominee Senator Stephen Douglas, Southern Democratic Party nominee John Breckinridge and Constitutional Union Party nominee John Bell. The main issue of the election was slavery and states’ rights. Lincoln emerged victorious and became the 16th President of the United States during a national crisis that would tear states and families apart and test Lincoln’s leadership and resolve: The Civil War.(Reference)

Today children learn to revere Lincoln as the president who freed the slaves... at least this is what they learn in school which teach history accurately.

The coming civil war could be said to have started with the defeat of Donald Trump in his attempt to win a second term and the election of Joe Biden. The beliefs in the superiority of white people which come under the general heading of MAGA have been present since the actual Civil War ended but they increased exponentially in the last century as minority groups became more and more empowered and their votes began to influence elections. 

The election of our first Black president brought American bigotry to a simmering boil but by and large it didn't blow the lid of the kettle off. These people breathed a sigh of relief and their kettle of rage and resentment was removed from the stove when Donald Trump was elected.

Trump coined the term MAGA. It was a big tent which included everyone from self-proclaimed NAZI's to Christian nationalists. His regime gave such people a sense of power they hadn't felt, well, since the Civil War.

Giving credit, or blame, where it is due I have to hand it to Ron DeSantis for turning the concept of being woke from something good and beneficial into something evil. Read about his latest bigoted balderdash here: DeSantis says he’ll turn 'woke military' away from 'gender ideology'.

The upcoming election will pit people who are woke, i.e., those with empathy and who believe in accepting everyone, against anti-woke warriors and MAGA forces. It will be a war fought  against those who believe that everyone should benefit equally from living in America and believe in the crucial sentence from The Declaration of Independence no matter whether they believe in God or not:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I'd like to say that it is unlikely that anybody will be killed on Election Day or as a result of a win by Biden. Only one person was killed and one mortally wounded in the Battle of Fort Sumpter. Tragically I can't say that the re-election of President Biden won't be met with violence and death. Just the other day a man threatening the president tried to crash a U-Haul truck though the White House barrier gates.

The quote, rephrased in various ways* "those who forget history are condemned to repeat it" is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana. I could turn this quote around and note that there are those who do remember history, in the case of the United States the history of the Civil War, want to learn from what they consider the mistakes of the Confederacy and try not to repeat them in the civil war they intend to engage in if Joe Biden wins the presidency.


  • * This famous statement has produced several variants:
    • Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    • Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
    • Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
    • Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.
    • Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.


Violence is the new Republican grift, by Chauncey DeVega

Republicans know more death enhances their power


In all, violence in its many forms (which includes random violence, terrorism, hate crimes, intimidation, and vigilantism) is central to the Republican fascists and larger white right and "conservative" movement's project to end America's multiracial pluralistic democracy by gutting the rule of law and the country's democratic and other societal institutions.

Trump's greatest appeal is how he gives his followers and others in the MAGA movement's orbit permission to be their worst true horrible selves. Violence bonds members of a social group together; this is especially true of political personality cults such as the Trump MAGA movement. Healthy democracies discourage and outlaw political violence because it is antithetical to normal politics with its rules-based deliberation and collective decision-making and other ways of attempting to be legitimate sources of authority among the governed.

If you don't see the Disquis comment section below click here.  

Blogs by Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist. More about me.

May 24, 2023

What's with the Nov. 2022 Elon Musk tweet about Trump which I decided to censor?

  By Hal Brown

I found this tweet from Elon Musk posted on Nov. 20, 2022 in this column by one of my favorite writers, Heather "Digby" Parton of Salon:

Ron DeSantis — like Elon Musk's Twitter — is really the second choice

This is the full illustration in the Elon Musk tweet . Above is the tweet with half the image edited out by me. I'm just trying to avoid Google Blogger posting an adult content warning on this story.
Click above to enlarge. I deleted the blog that led to this
 advisory but kept it on Substack here

Digby writes that "Musk begged Trump to come back to Twitter with vulgar memes like this designed to entice the libertine ex-president..."

Of course we know that Ron DeSantis is announcing that he's running for president on some sort of Twitter broadcast with Elon Musk. It appears that Musk has given up on Trump and is all in on promoting DeSantis.

The tweet shows what Musk thought of Donald Trump back in November. It is juvenile and gross but also seems nonsensical. Again, you can view it here or this won's make any sense to you.

What struck me about the image Musk posted wasn't how it was supposed to depict Trump being tempted into a lascivious encounter with a woman perhaps representing Twitter, or perhaps not, it is difficult to say. 

One thing that struck me as weird is that Trump is depicted looking, if not like Jesus, at least like a monk. Why would Musk think this was funny? Then again, Musk has a convoluted sense of humor but still why would he promote the idea that Trump is Divine? 

The other thing I wonder is why he decided to place the image with the Twitter bird where he did? I can see him deciding not to make the illustration too graphic since it might run afoul of Twitter's guidelines about adult content but it is abundantly clear what the Trump monk is planning to do.

Is the the new way Twitter plans to censor adult images?

On the other hand, maybe he believes entering the realm of Twitter through his tweety bird is akin to revealing in the garden feminine earthly delights over where he rules supreme. 

Foreground public domain Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch


I discovered that the Milo Manaro, the artist who drew the picture in the Elon Musk tweet was not pleased with his using his art work:
Click above to read article

This is what he posted on Instagram:

“I wish Elon Musk would be forced to tweet a thousand times:
“I will never use Milo Manara drawings again without permission. I will never again use Milo Manara’s drawings without permission. I will never again use…”

How about I sue him, asking for $44Bn in compensation? Then I could buy back Twitter and give it back to someone else to manage!

In the illustration in the same place that Musk had the Twitter bird Manara had the following:

May 23, 2023

Florida AG wants to outlaw weird orgies, wild weed parties, and unleashed passion

 I read the Raw Story article 

Florida AG — wife of a DEA agent — accused of 'not standing with the people' as she vows to fight legal pot

and was inspired to post this in the comments section:

The poster above, like some of the propaganda shown below, mixes the salacious and lurid with dire warnings of misery (above in a syringe). Notice the pointy fingernails on the hand, presumably of the Devil, holding lust, crime, sorrow, hate, shame, and despair. 

Whoever made this poster thought that nobody would be intrigued by this part:

I wonder how many people were more tempted to try marijuana by this propaganda than were scared by it. These warnings might have been about as effective in their intended purpose as the well-known "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" frying eggs public service ads.

Who knew that John Wayne was in a marijuana movie with James Arness?

Even though Lady Gaga (“The pot leaf is the new peace sign”) proclaims “Baby let’s get high, John Wayne” in her song John Wayne (2016), it is highly unlikely that the actor would have accepted her invitation to smoke a joint together. John Wayne (1907-1979), who still holds the record for the Hollywood actor with the most leading parts (142), was known for his conservative, anti-communist and anti-drugs political view. A clear example of this is his movie Big Jim McLain (1952), where he hunts down communists in Hawaii. The version released in Italy and Germany was retitled Marijuana and has John Wayne chasing drug smugglers instead of communists. From The Hash Museum
Back to Florida...

The campaign to stop the pot legalization ballot petition is the latest, and possibly the most likely to backfire shot in the Florida culture war. It makes more sense politically to fight the initiative than to rail against all the woke issues DeSantis is hysteria hyping. He is going on the assumption that the alleged horrors of children been lured into changing their gender orientation by being dragged into drag shows by their Commie parents will lead to mobilizing voters to help him win the GOP primary. Obviously other Republican governors and legislators are buying into this assumption as the recent Montana ban on gender affirming care shows.

Fred Grimm wrote this in Florida GOP would like pot amendment to go away “Republicans don’t want pot as a running mate to Joe Biden on the Florida ballot because marijuana can do what Joe Biden can’t — rouse the apathetic wing of the Democratic Party... The GOP’s faux populists know ballot questions like these would have coattails long enough to blow up an election.”

The marijuana issue seems to currently be a Florida issue without national implications. If DeSantis wants to beat Trump in the primary he could lose in Florida and if he wins in enough other states he could end up as the GOP presidential candidate.

What will be interesting to see is how robustly DeSantis supports his attorney general in fighting the demon weed ballot measure. If he adds fighting pot to his culture war it could make his fight against Disney look like a minor blunder. Consider the following:

An overwhelming share of U.S. adults (88%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (30%). Just one-in-ten (10%) say marijuana use should not be legal, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Oct. 10-16, 2022. These views are virtually unchanged since April 2021. From Pew Research article
So far Donald Trump, either out of political savvy or just because he really doesn't care, has not gone all-caps manic on an anti-woke crusade. He may observe what DeSantis is doing and realize that the anti-woke act does not play well on a national stage. 

I think Trump is reading the sentiment of GOP voters accurately in that he knows his route to victory is to keep doing what he always has done. He basks in knowing that he is the potentate of personality politics and he sees DeSantis in being as bland as unsalted butter. I think Trump thinks the anti-woke DeSantis deluge is dumb.

Assuming Trump is the GOP candidate I'd like to see him include the war against woke in his repetoire since it is a loser.  He's already come out and blamed DeSantis for Disney's cancelling its expansion in Florida. I doubt becoming a DeSantis style anti-woke warrior would give him any more votes than he already has. 

May 22, 2023

How many women supporting Trump are like Margaret Anderson from "Father Knows Best?"

 My perspective as a therapist who helped women break free from abusive husbands on women condoning Trump's abuse

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist. More about me.

Click to enlarge image

In my 40 years as a psychotherapist I had many women in therapy who were married to men who were abusive. That's why these two articles piqued my interest this morning:

Click above to read
Click above to read (you can subscribe for free)

The salacious and tawdry nature of what Trump did made the coverage of the recent E. Jean Carroll trial more compelling to many viewers. Let's face it, if there were reports of Trump emotionally abusing a wife or girlfriend it wouldn't have received the media attention it did, although Ivana's serious accusations made the news.

Since I worked in a community mental health center I not only counseled many women myself, but all of our clinicians also did.  Our program was in Mason, a rural suburb of Lansing, Michigan and most of our clients were blue collar with many of them working in auto factories. The area was mostly Republican. 

Rarely did we have female clients who were physically abused. By far the majority who came because of marital problems were emotionally abused by spouses who demeaned them, bullied them, had no empathy for their feelings or in the worst cases relished controlling and demeaning them. 

There is one case I can write about since our therapy was referred to in "The Burning Bed" The True Story Of An Abused Wife" which is a book about her. The book is about Francine Hughes. She became famous because she set her husband's bed on fire when he was sleeping and he died. Subsequently she was acquitted of murdering him by reason of temporary insanity. 

Although her husband did psychically abuse her, he also attempted to thwart all of the gains in self-esteem she made in therapy.  We talked about her wanting to advance her education. Then when she started at the  local community college he burned all her books. He did things to her that were much worse, but this act was symbolic and in retrospect his demise could be seen as karma.

If you search "abuse of women" on Barnes and Noble's website you come up with not merely 260 books, but 260 pages of books. If you go to the library or a bookstore you will see a large portion of the self-help section devoted to these books.

As far as I know, what hasn't been the subject of studies is how many of the women who support Trump who believe that he has physically abused women or has publicly demeaned and disrespected them would put up with the same behavior in their spouses or boyfriends. 

I think it would be enlightening to determine what percentage of these women have been or are in relationships with men who abused them, whether physically, emotionally, or both. 

We can speculate that there is a segment of society where women end up putting up with husbands who while not really at the extreme on a scale of abusiveness are still misogynistic. The 2018 NBC News article "Misogyny has become central to the Republican mission — and the GOP is dying as a result: Women are recoiling from the GOP because of Trump, but the problem is not just Trump, and it never was" says that this may hurt the GOP. 


You cannot pivot from your core identity. You cannot reshape a Republican party that likes or helps women, because it would no longer be the Republican party as we know it. The GOP is right to worry about its woman problem, because no party can survive if it loses women. But the Republicans’ best hope, at this point, is that women who have been shocked into new political awareness will become more complacent once Trump has left the picture.

For the rest of us, we can only hope that those women realize their problems go deeper than one bad president — and that their collective anger continues to erode the foundations of the GOP until the whole rotten structure tumbles to the ground.

The political problem with women who will vote for Trump no matter what his behavior with was, or his attitude about women all his adult life has been, is a psychological and societal problem. It is rooted in women's beliefs about themselves and is a combination of their accepting outdated views that women should be subservient to men and low self-esteem. 

A segment of society is stuck in the 1950's when "Father Knows Best" began on radio in 1949, and then aired as a television show for six seasons and 203 episodes.

  • Parents need to know that the classic series Father Knows Best is pretty mild when it comes to iffy topics, but reflects overtly sexist and subtly racist attitudes by today's standards.
  • Everyone gets along and tries to do the right thing. Dad is recognized as the head of the household. "Good" women are characterized as being feminine and not "like men"; the Anderson children are raised according to this standard. 

 Check out the expressions on the stars faces:

Click above to enlarge

I may be reading my own bias into this but it seems to me that Jim is far happier than Margaret. She can't fairly be called "a long suffering wife" because she was depicted as being satisfied with her marriage. Today if she came to me for therapy for depression I would work on how this was related to her self-esteem and how her husband might be holding her back from pursuing endeavors to build her feeling better about herself.

Today no show would be named "Father Knows Best" unless it was a parody.

There is no way that Jim Anderson would abuse Margaret. However, he was a husband of his times and in subtle ways he treated her as his inferior and she accepted this. 

How many Republican women are living their lives as if they are in a re-boot of "Father Knows Best"  is impossible to determine.

Somewhat related:

Click above to read

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