August 12, 2023

The only way judges can give Trump lockjaw is to lock his jaws


DonkeyHotey, lock added by Hal Brown

By Hal Brown

This is what Trump posted:

I hear that RACIST Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney “Phoney”Fani Willis, who weakly presides over one of the deadliest communities in the U.S., with thousands of murderers, violent criminals & gang members roaming the streets while going untried, free, & are treated with “kid gloves,” is using a potential Indictment of me, and other innocent people, as a campaign and fundraising CON JOB, all based on a PERFECT PHONE CALL, AS PRESIDENT, CHALLENGING ELECTION FRAUD - MY DUTY & RIGHT!

So far Trump hasn't been attacking Judge Tanya Chutkan or ranting about his DC case. It appears that for the present he has been hesitiating to vent his rage in his usual way because he isn't certain how much he can get away with before Chutkan moves to the next level. I doubt he believes she'll actually hold him in contempt and put him in jail but he may have been told that she could schedule the trial to begin sooner (see article)

He also doesn't want her to score anything that may be construed as a victory against him. This is a better safe than sorry strategy that is, to state the obvious, very un-Trumplike. 

Yet he can't shut up (it's not in his nature, blah, blah, blah) so he does the next best thing and attacks Fani Willis. He's a pressure cooker and he has to vent or he'll blow his lid off.

While these  attacks are not aimed at the DC case is he so stupid to think that since Judge Chutkan is monitoring all his Truth Social posts she won't see these and know what he is doing in the Georgia case? He isn't violating her order but he is demonstrating why she issued the order. 

A judge hasn't been selected to try the case in Atlanta, but when one is posts like these could (and probably will) prompt Fani Willis to ask for some kind of gag order because they are an attempt to influence the jury pool at the least.

The only sure way to lock Trump's jaws or his manic Truth Social typing fingers is to literally make sure that he's sitting in a cell behind a literally padlocked door.

Recent blog posts here

August 11, 2023

Trump's aspirational defense rests on his being either an imbecile, delusional, or both

Top: A man's head seen from the front and back showing large ears and a deformed scalp by George Edward Shuttleworth, 1842-1928. Both images public domain

By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist

It should be becoming clear to Trump's lawyers that the First Amendment defense just won't fly. This seems to leave him with two viable defenses.

Consider this from 

Not just the coup: Trump used the "aspirational" defense in the E. Jean Carroll rape lawsuit by Amanda Marcotte

There was no conspiracy to overturn the government. Trump is just a delusional old man babbling at people! And empty chatter ain't no crime! 

Trump himself is leaning hard into the argument that he's too big of an imbecile to take seriously as a threat.

There are two words above, delusional and imbecile, which alone or together can be used and indeed have been used successfully to keep people either from being tried for a crime or on being convicted from being sent to a regular prison.

This has to do with laws about competency to stand trial:

It is a denial of due process to try or sentence a defendant who is “insane” or incompetent to stand trial.1 When it becomes evident during the trial that a defendant is or has become “insane” or incompetent to stand trial, the court on its own initiative must conduct a hearing on the issue.2Although there is no constitutional requirement that the state assume the burden of proving a defendant competent, the state must provide the defendant with a chance to prove that he is incompetent to stand trial. Thus, a statutory presumption that a criminal defendant is competent to stand trial or a requirement that the defendant bear the burden of proving incompetence by a preponderance of the evidence does not violate due process

 You can more read about the relevant laws here.

The term imbecile was once used to denote a category of people with moderate to severe intellectual disability as well as a type of criminal.[1][2] The meaning was further refined into mental and moral imbecility.[7][8]  (Wikipedia)

We all remember stories like "Tensions escalate after Tillerson calls Trump ‘moron’" from 2017 using another old medical term now slang for to insult someone either with low intelligence or who may be smart but who does something stupid. 

Trump's bet is to avoid being tried at all with the claim that he's too incompetent to particpate in his own defense.  If found guilty of felonies and sentenced to incarceration The Federal Bureau of Prisons can accommodate him and provide apropriate treatment and programs:

This Program Statement provides policy, procedures, standards, and guidelines for the delivery of mental health services to inmates with mental illness in all Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) correctional facilities.

For the purpose of this Program Statement, mental illness is defined as in the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

“A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinical significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational, or other important activities.

Classification of an inmate as seriously mentally ill requires consideration of his/her diagnoses; the severity and duration of his/her symptoms; the degree of functional impairment associated with the illness; and his/her treatment history and current treatment needs. Mental illnesses not listed below may be classified as seriously mentally ill on a case-by-case basis if they result in significant functional impairment. Reference.

Trump could go down in history as the most famous felon who ever served his time in a prison psychiatric hosptial. He'd be on the list with John Hinkley (who tried to assassinate Presdient Reagan and spent 34 years as a prisoner being treated at St. Elizabeth's Psychiatric Hospital) and Boston Strangler Alberto DeSalvo who spend years in the DOC psychiatric facility Bridgewater State Hospital before he escaped and was sent to the maximum secutiry Walpole Prison.


Recommended reading for Trump if this happens to him:

What Life Is Like for the 'Criminally Insane' at a Maximum-Security Psychiatric Hospital


How and why do people end up in forensic psychiatric hospitals? 

All the patients have committed crimes and have been sent there by a judge, but they’re not actually criminals—they’ve been judged not responsible for their crimes.

Some are there because they’ve committed serious felonies and are being held for competency evaluations, to see if they have the capacity to stand trial. Some are inmates who come from other state psychiatric facilities because their behavior has been violent or aggressive and they meet the criteria for involuntary commitment. Most, however, have been found incompetent to stand trial or convicted of a crime that was committed when they were under the influence of a mental illness, like Brian.

Can they ever get out? 

They’re sent there until they have recovered or are considered stable enough to gradually return to the community—no matter how long that takes. For some of them, this never happens, and they stay in the hospital until they die. There’s no federal agency charged with monitoring them and no registry or organization that tracks how long they’ve been incarcerated or why.

August 10, 2023

You may be able to convince Trump cultists mermaids aren't real, but de-programming them from believing Trump is innocent of crimes is far more difficult


By Hal Brown

Thom Hartmann wrorte 

How to de-program Fox News watchers on the Trump Indictment

I have admired Thom Hartmann (Wiki profile), who like me is a MIchigan State University graduate and a resident of Portland Oregon, ever since I got a car with Sirius radio and listened to his radio show. I rarely if ever disagree with him. In addtion to his radio show Thom writes for Raw Story + (where this article also appears) and Salon. He has his own blog The Hartmann Report and for a fee you can subscribe to podcasts.

Today, however, I think he is being unrealistic.

In his blog column he explains how to de-program Fox News watchers on the Trump indictment. I assume he means all the consumers of Trump supporting media. Aside from my understanding from a friend who regularly checks in with Fox News the station is barely covering news of the the legal jeopardy Trump is in. I won't tune in to Fox News on TV but do sometimes look at their website which, as you can see below, has no stories about the indictments.

This being noted, obviously whatever is being reported about the Trump indictments is bascially that they are bogus, politically motivated, and anything that Trump did was justifed because it was free speech. Meanwhile as their website shows they engage in a combination of what-aboutism (Joe and Hunter Biden stories) without mentining Trump's legal troubles, and distraction (the death of some kid, NASCAR, and the Lady Gaga story for example).

Thom lays out the reasons why what Trump did wasn't free speech was in furterance of a criminal conspiarcy to overturn an election and then writes as if addressing believers in the Trump claims in bold:
As you can see, this wasn’t an exercise in free speech: it was a planned, organized, carefully executed conspiracy to defraud Biden voters in those seven states out of their right to have their votes counted.

Thom cocludes his essay (his bold):

The media outlets who gloss over Trump’s lies do so because it’s profitable for them: when, for example, Fox “News” stopped supporting Trump’s lies for a few weeks they lost a large chunk of their audience to another TV network that was willing to parrot his lies. Which is why they’re now back to supporting his lies and are again making money.

The politicians who approve of or repeat Trump’s lies do so because they see it as their path to fame and power: they want you to believe those lies and then vote for them.

And the billionaires who push Trump and his lies through their publications, think-tanks, and media outlets do so because they believe if he’s re-elected, they’ll get even more tax breaks and that Trump will continue his efforts to gut the IRS and EPA, which they hate.

The simple reality, dear Trump-lover, is that you’ve been suckered.

Now might be a good time to change the channel…

There's one phrase that leaps out at me: "simple reality," and in that  phrase the modifier "simple" is what I want to briefly address.

It is anything but simple to alter beliefs that are deeply held and supported by family members, friends, and an enomroious group not just composed of talking heads on TV but actual people if you attend Trump rallies.

How could all of these people be wrong? How could so many people you love, like, or are aquanted with be suckers?

It's easy enough to laugh at being suckered and accept it when you go to the county fair and pay 25¢ to see the real mermaid and see the mermaid was a woman with an phony fish tail. (See image above)

When you build an entire belief system around someone like Trump and worship him as a diety, as does a group that makes you feel like you belong (aka, a cult), and realize you've been lied to and bought the liie like a fool, it is far, far, more difficult to admit you've been suckered.

The usual way that people who have been in an actual cult are de-programmed, whether they were in the Moonies or Scientology, or dombday cults like Jonestown, the Branch Davidians (Waco), or Heaven's Gate if you can get them before they kill themselves, is to first remove them pyhsically from the cult. Then with expert de-programmers, ideally with parents and family if they had good relationsips with them, the psychological work can begin. 

How does one de-program members of the Trump cult? Using the de-programming model the first steps would be to remove them from the influence of the pro-Trump propaganda. This would entail not allowing them to use pro-Trump media and not associate with other members of the Trump cult. 

Unfortunately legal education, reason, and logic will rarely be enough. Punitive measures like prison might work, time will tell whether any of imprisioned Jan. 6th insurrectionist will realize they were suckered. 

Our legal system won't allow the kind of Clockwork Orange de-programming where instead of having their eyelids clamped open while watching violent images and getting electric shocks they are forced to watch MSNBC while being rewarded with their favorite sweet treats.

Addendum: I went to the Ringling Circus sideshow at Madison Square Garden,  which was in the basement, twice as a child. I re,meber my father buying a ring from the giant for a quarter who handed it to me (a thrill). It could fit around my 10 year old wrist.  

They didn't have a mermaid. All of the people featured what were disparagingly called "freaks" although, like the Fat Man, Giant, and World's Skinnest Man were just at the extreme end of physical development. Some had a phsycial condition like the Bearded Lady. Others like Tattooed Lady might have done things to make themselves look unusual.

Here's an article about nine famous freak show attractions. 

I never did see Tom Thumb although he and his wife Lavina by chance made their home in Middleboro, MA,. where I lived between living in Michigan and Oregon. There's a appropriately very small Tom Thumb museum than and the house theye lived in is preserved.

Some people made thier living because of a rare genetic condition, perhaps the most famous being the conjoined twins Chang and Eng.

Carnival sideshows like you might go to at a county fair often had a mixture between real people doing intersting thinks like the sword swallower and the snake handling lady and obvious fakes. Many, though not all, featured a "real" mermaid, either a living version or a preserved mermaid corpse.


I never did see Tom Thumb although he was, for a time, part of the Ringling Circus show. He and his wife Lavina by chance made their home in Middleboro, MA, where I lived between living in Michigan and Oregon. There's a appropriately very small Tom Thumb museum there and the house they lived in is preserved. The public library has large portraits of them in their reading room.

August 9, 2023

You'd almost think Trump is running against Megan Rapinoe who literally could run circles around him


By Hal Brown

Read on single page.

This was in Salon today:

Why Donald Trump and the right can't leave women's soccer alone

This is from The Advocate yesterday:
Click above to read
This is from The Advocate in 2019:
Click above to read

Do a Google News search for Trump and Meagan Rapinoe and this is what you see:

Yesterday at a rally in New Hampshire Trump mocked Chris Christie for his weight:

Trump mocks Chris Christie's weight: 'Don't call him a fat pig'

This was Christie's response on Twitter and my reply:

When I posted this I had no intention of writing on this subject. Then I read the article in Salon about Trump and Megan Rapinoe 

I don't believe in fat shaming. If you are reduced to attacking the appearance of someone you don't like it means you have nothing of substance to say. It is also not just petty but wrong so I do it knowingly with Trump with just a smidgen of guilt.

Like in court, if one side opens the door the other side is able to pursue the subject. I'm not sure I would have advised Nancy Pelosi to say Trump was morbidly obese though I can see how she bears a grude against him. (See: Nancy Pelosi called President Trump ‘morbidly obese.’ Is he? ) Remember how Trump Jr. attacked her husband who was literally attacked. Then Trump senior joined the Paul Pelosi conspiracy caucus (article).

Trump, the preening narcissist who has promoted those stupid electronic cards depicting himself as Superman and other lean and muscular macho men is easy to mock for his, dare I say kindly, aspirational fantasies rather than calling them delusions. 

Does one even have to photoshop him to make him look less, let's say, phsycially fit than he really is? (See how kind I am being?)

It shouldn't go unnoticed that when Trump attacks President Biden he will try to hit him on being a communist or Marxist, he'll use versions of "Sleepy Joe", and other ways to say he has dementia or is stupid. He has made fun of Biden who has largely overcome a stuttering problem everytime he stumbled over a word. I'm not sure if he has come up with new attack lines but in 2018 and 2019 when he was still on Twitter he tweeted:

"Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty - you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!"

 "Joe Biden got tongue tied over the weekend when he was unable to properly deliver a very simple line about his decision to run for President. Get used to it, another low I.Q. individual!"

Looks to me like it’s going to be SleepyCreepy Joe over Crazy Bernie. Everyone else is fading fast!

Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying all the way. Don’t threaten people Joe! 

Low IQ, crazy, threatening people, sick and demented, creepy, acting like a tough guy... of course Trump uses a form of projection when he frequently accuses others of things he has done and what he is. 

The only insult Trump hasn't hurled at Joe Biden actually would have a rhyming ring to it. He'd never use it because it is absurb and would open him to ridicule. 

Can you imagine the blowback if Trump call him Fatso Joe?

Here's a web search (click image to enlarge):

A personal note:

I am a fan of Megan Rapinoe Like millions of other soccer enthusiasts I was talking about the heartbreaking loss the American women's team suffered in the World Cup finals to Sweden. The only difference was that my partner and I were having dinner with her daughter, son-in-law, and their 10 year old daughter who is a super soccer player. We were celebrating the fact that her club soccer team just won a third place in a hard fought regional tournament. 

They regularly go to Portland Thorns games (Portland is called the Rose City, get it, Portland Thorns). They are our own professional women's soccer team. In 2022 they won the National Women's Soccer League championship.

Rapinoe  and her sister (who was sidelined due to an injury) were star players for the University of Portland's Portland Pilots so we consider her a hometown hero. Not that very many people in Portland are going to vote for Trump, let another any other Republian who may run for president, but his attacking "our Megan" can't be going over well with too many people here.

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Nixon and Kennedy were evenly matched intellectually in their first debate. Nixon lost because of how he looked on TV. Trump may lose because he "loses it" on TV. By Hal Brown, MSW

  Read: Team Biden bets an unfiltered Trump at the debate can shake up the race GOP pollster Frank Luntz said the June 27 faceoff will be &q...