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January 26, 2018



Jan, 31, 2018
Not much better unless they meant a new White American First
On the other hand
From HuffPost story
Internet Burns Washington Post Over Its Front Page On Trump’s Speech

Jan. 30, 2018
 My reaction
Photo from 6 takeaways from Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech CNN

What got to me the most was how Trump put on display the grief of the family who had two children murdered by gang members, supposedly by members of the terrfying MS-13. Real tears of the kind Trump would never shed flowed down their faces. The man is shameless. Furthermore, his using several true heroes as props was more show biz. 

Trump has to love MS-13 because he can make them into his Willie Hortons.

Does Trump create his own reality and believe it is true? Watch Video.

Read Article


According to a new report by Axios, a very close ally to Donald Trump said that those closest to the President are worried that he’ll commit perjury if he interviews with the Special Prosecutor because he has a tendency to “create his own reality” and that “he believes it.” Investigation aside, that statement alone causes an entire host of problems, and raises even more questions about Trump’s mental state.

Over the past weekend, the news site Axios, which frequently posts articles using sources within the White House and other DC insiders, they posted an article where they talked to a very close Donald Trump ally who says that they’re terrified of Donald Trump testifying before the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, because — and this is according to the Trump ally — Donald Trump has a tendency to create his own reality, and more worrisome than that is that he actually believes that his reality is true. Now, okay, let’s build off that little story right there. Let’s forget the part about the investigation and testifying. That really doesn’t matter at this point. What’s important here is that this person who Axios spoke to, who says they are a Trump ally, they’ve known him for a long time, they’re one of his closest allies, if this person is telling us that Donald Trump creates his own reality, and then believes whatever it is that he has created, to me, that’s the bigger part of the story.
Not that they’re worried he’s going to perjure himself, but that they admit that he is so mentally unstable that he just creates his own world inside of his brain, and that becomes what’s real to him.
I think there is a part of Trump which has with amorphous frequently changing foggy boundaries. Trump has no stable core self where reality testing is sometimes intact and other times is severely impaired. I see him functioning in a hazy blur where in order to maintain and sustain his malignantly narcissistic sense of identity he enters a kind of dreamy world which doesn't quite meet the criteria to say he is psychotically delusional. 

The closest thing I can think of to this state of mind in people with unimpaired reality testing is when you awake from a vivid realistic dream and are still in a kind of twilight sleep. Occasionally I've had the experience when, for just a moment, I'm not sure whether the dream was real or not.

But then, what do I know?

Just saying, not a lnk
What my Oregon readers slept through on Morning Joe today: 

Video - Linguistics researcher reveals how Trump’s speech is declining into a ‘narrower, harsher and more unhappy’ state

Ecerpt: Mental health experts have cautioned that President Donald Trump appears to be declining, but Kurt Andersen isn’t sure the president has changed all that much. 

During a discussion with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Andersen explained how he researched Trump’s speaking style, frequently used words and pattern of phrases to help write a book with Alec Baldwin in the voice of Trump. The author of “the definitive guide to speaking Trump,” according to co-host Mika Brzezinski, has compiled the lexicon for The Atlantic on “How to Talk Trump.”

National affairs analysts John Heilemann asked about the frequent “ticks” some see in Trump increase over time and the need to repeat the same stories over and over again. 

“I think he is — it’s not that he’s declining in his verbal fluency,” Andersen said. “The emotional affect is narrower and harsher and angrier and more unhappy. It wasn’t as though he was talking about reciprocal responsibilities that we have with our many allies abroad 30 years ago and now he’s just saying ‘disgusting and crooked.’ But he does, I think, return to his safe words, his favorite words, somewhat more frequently.”

Jan. 29, 2018
On MSNBC Richard Painter just said that if we behaved like this during the Cold War we'd all be speaking Russian today.


Beyond the understandable focus on Mueller’s job security, both disclosures struck me as getting at a perilous truth for the Trump White House one year into his presidency: Not only is the Russia investigation not going away, but questions associated with it are multiplying, whether it’s the new evidence Warner says his committee must now investigate or the revelation that the special counsel himself is on the long list of those, like fired FBI Director James Comey and the current deputy FBI director and deputy attorney general, that Trump has made very clear he wants out. 

At a minimum, the fact that we continue to learn so much new information after so many months of investigation is a reminder of why it’s important to be cautious about the endless punditry analyzing the prospects of a probe whose substance we still know very little about. For now at least, questions like the ones endlessly debated on cable TV—Will Trump be impeached if the House is retaken by Democrats in November? When and how will Mueller deliver a final report on the allegations, and will he seek the unprecedented step of trying to indict a sitting president?—remain almost pointless speculation. 

And they will continue to be until the basic concerns we started the investigation with are no longer hanging out there, shadowing the Trump White House with serious doubts that clearly infuriate the president: Did Trump or any close advisers actively collaborate with the Russians who sought to sway the 2016 race on his behalf? Did the president or others seek to cover up their dealings with Russians—or promise them concrete actions, like lifting U.S. economic sanctions on the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in exchange for Kremlin help? Once in office, have the president or members of his inner circle tried to obstruct the investigations into those questions?

We may not have the public evidence yet to definitely resolve those questions, but Warner offers a provocative rationale for why it is we are now seeing such a stepped-up campaign by Trump and his defenders against those who seek to provide us the answers. 

“Mueller is getting closer and closer to the truth,” Warner tells me, and “closer and closer to the truth is getting closer and closer to the president.

I woke up 3:00 and decided to turn on the bedroom TV to see if Morning Joe was covering any breaking news. Instead I got Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman talking about the panic sweeping across members of the GOP that Mueller is getting closer and closer to exposing Trump wrong-doing. Alas, I watched the show for the next hour before they changed th subject to other news. Fortunately I managed to fall asleep until 7:30 when the dogs decided it was time for me to get up. Here's a sample from the show:

Joe knows that the president watches the Trump lovefest "Fox and Friends" in the morning. I think it's reasonable to assume that he knows that the Republicans who aren't malignant narcissists who don't require a dose of sycophantic fuel to get their day started watch Morning Joe. In this video he calls out Nunes, Ryan, and McConnell by name for their lying and hypocrisy in protecting Trump. 

A psychotherapist looks at the "Hillary Clinton Let Him Stay" story about her abusive staffer

Click above to read and comment on Daily Kos

This Buzzfeed story getting a lot of coverage and unfortunately, the right is using it as a distraction:
A woman who worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign complained about touching, inappropriate comments, and an untenable work environment created by her boss, a faith and values adviser. He was punished, but not fired, by Clinton. Six years later, he landed the top job at a pro-Clinton super PAC, where staffers say his behavior wasn’t any different.
The psychology of the men who abuse and harass, and the women who tolerate it,  sometimes look the other way when others are subjected to abuse, or actually condone it is complex. There needs to be a national discussion on this as part of the entire #MeToo movement.  
In my 40 year career as a psychotherapist, many of my clients were women in emotionally abusive relationships. I also treated numerous couples where the husband was unfaithful, with about a 50% rate of successful reconciliation because when the husband was willing to engage in therapy half the battle was won. (Rarely it was the wife who was unfaithful. I can recall only one client, but that was decades ago. I read it is more common now.)
Here's what I would have done as the director of a mental health center if I was charged with helping the Clintons.  I would have put together a treatment plan which also included both couples therapy and individual therapy for  Hillary, Bill, in addition to family and individual sessions for Chelsea. 
If Hillary had in-depth insight therapy which was successful in certain ways, I think there's a chance she might have fired Strider as soon as she investigated the allegations and found them to be true. This is very, very complex. No psychotherapy can resolve all a person’s conflicts.  By forgiving Bill,  which was beneficial, she might have been predisposed to forgive Strider.
I don't know what kind of marital therapy the Clintons got. I recall something about spiritual counseling. There are many excellent well-trained pastoral therapists with degrees and clinical psychology and clinical social work,  so I don't want this to sound dismissive. 
Of course, they did reconcile but that doesn't mean Hillary resolved all the deeper issues she might have if she stayed in therapy longer.  
I can imagine that this Strider matter was very troubling to her at the time, and that now that it is public she his dealing with a fair amount of guilt and personal introspection. 
Some of the comments on Buzzfeed are cruel and partisan, and I assume on other websites  where comments will probably reflect a total lack of empathy for Hillary.

I believe everybody can benefit from psychotherapy. Having personal therapy is standard for anyone who endeavors to become an accomplished therapist themselves. Of course, not everybody needs therapy and the era when the dominant schools of insight-oriented therapy, psychoanalytic and humanistic, waned in the mid-1970’s with managed care and symptom oriented psychotherapy making therapy for self-knowledge prohibitively expensive for most people. 
I think anyone who wants to be president should have therapy whether they need it for symptomatology or not  — but then look what happened Thomas Eagleton.
When I began to work in community mental health we could see clients for years, even after their original symptoms abated. All of my elder therapist friends look back at those times as tremendously gratifying because we could, corny as it may sound, help people grow and be more than they ever thought they could be.
 I think public figures should have a trusted top-notch therapist they can turn to even after their primary course of therapy is completed. In fact, I’ve always been an advocate for therapists making it clear to clients who terminate successfully that they are always welcome to come to see me for a check-up, and most certainly if they face a life crisis.

Jan. 28, 2018 
Friends: President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 30, at 6 pm Portland time. Anyone who wants to watch it and the follow-up coverage on MSNBC let me know and I’ll have a pop-corn party at my house. Two large screen TV’s, plenty of room.

Sunday Quote comes from Maureen Dowd’s NY Times column: 

Trump could humiliate his wife by being a big, horny pig, but he is the one who comes off as the embarrassment. He’s an embarrassing husband and an embarrassing president and an embarrassing leader of the free world. Barack Obama was always calling to our better angels. Donald Trump is paying off porn stars and denigrating struggling countries that send minorities to the U.S. as “shitholes.” How did we drop so far and so fast from class to crass?

“No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far,” Trump told Morgan. “I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone.”
“I have tremendous respect for women. You see all of the women I have working around me and working with me. Tremendous respect for women.”  Read story here

«Нет, я бы не сказал, что я феминистка. Я имею в виду, я думаю, это было бы, может быть, зайти слишком далеко, - сказал Трамп Моргану. «Я за женщин, я за мужчин, я за всех».

«У меня огромное уважение к женщинам. Вы видите всех женщин, с которыми я работаю, и работаю со мной. Огромное уважение к женщинам.

Millions of Americans Believe God Made Trump President (And no doubt, Trump believes it too, HB)

A surprisingly fascinating book explains why.

Here's what I'd like to see included on a public opnion poll about whether or not people support Trump and believe he is doing a good job. The results should be correlated with the poltical answers.

    • 1 A. 
    • B. 
    • C. 
    • D. 
      Over 100
    • E. 
  • 2. 
    Who was the 23rd president of the US?
    • A. 
      Abraham lincoln
    • B. 
      George washington
    • C. 
      Barack Obama
    • D. 
      Benjamin Harrison
    • E. 
      George Bush
  • 3. 
    • A. 
    • B. 
    • C. 
    • D. 
    • E. 
  • 4. 

    • A. 
      Lance Armstrong
    • B. 
      George Washington
    • C. 
      Neil Armstrong
    • D. 
      My mom
    • E. 
  • 5. 
    How many men does it take to dig half a hole?
    • A. 
    • B. 
    • C. 
      Not enough info
    • D. 
      0 you cant dig half a hole
    • E. 

Trump told 6.6 times as many self-serving lies as kind ones. That's a much higher ratio than we found for our study participants, who told about double the number of self-centered lies compared with kind ones.
The most stunning way Trump's lies differed from our participants', though, was in their cruelty. An astonishing 50 percent of Trump's lies were hurtful or disparaging. For example, he proclaimed that John Brennan, James Clapper and James Comey, all career intelligence or law enforcement officials, were "political hacks." He said that "the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close." He insisted that other "countries, they don't put their finest in the lottery system. They put people probably in many cases that they don't want." And he claimed that "Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities."
The Trump lies that could not be coded into just one category were typically told both to belittle others and enhance himself. For example: "Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for reelection in Tennessee. I said 'NO' and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement)."
The sheer frequency of Trump's lies appears to be having an effect, and it may not be the one he is going for. A Politico/Morning Consult poll from late October showed that only 35 percent of voters believed that Trump was honest, while 51 percent said he was not honest. (The others said they didn't know or had no opinion.) Results of a Quinnipiac University poll from November were similar: Thirty-seven percent of voters thought Trump was honest, compared with 58 percent who thought he was not.  Read article
Link above

Drawing on never-before-released papers, historian Daniel Pick uncovers the extraordinary story of British psychiatrist Henry Dicks, who was sent to examine Rudolf Hess in a British military safe house, at theheight of the Second World War.
In May 1941, Nazi Deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess suddenly appeared in a field in Scotland, having flown solo from Germany on what appeared to be a peace mission. 
Much of this story is well known, but now Daniel Pick, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, reveals documents which provide a fresh insight into this extraordinary episode - and cast new light on the role of psychology in the battle against Nazism.
Soon after Hess' capture and incarceration, Dr Henry Dicks, a British psychiatrist, was sent by the British authorities to meet him. His mission was to see what his specialised training could glean about this senior Nazi's thinking - without revealing he was a psychiatrist.
Dicks first encountered Hess in 1941, at the eerie military safe house in Surrey where the erstwhile Deputy Fuhrer was being held. And in this programme, Professor Pick reveals the contents of the notebook in which Dicks kept a record of his encounters.
He sets their contents in the context of the Second World War with the help of Professor Richard Overy.
He listens to a rare recording from the US National Archives of Hess being interrogated at Nuremberg.
And after the war, the lessons of encounters such as Dicks' meetings with Hess were still being pressed into service to combat extremism. 
As Dr Jessica Reinisch tells him, even as Hess was consigned to prison in Berlin, psychological insights into Nazi thinking were helping to shape the drive to de-Nazify post-war Germany.

Jan, 27, 2018
This is trending on Facebook:
.... and the wolf chewed up the children and
spit out their bones... But those were Foreign Children
and it really didn't matter.

 - A few of the top stories about Trump's mental health, and one about Timothy Leary and Richard Nixon.

Excerpt: There is a tension between these two paths. In the hypothetical scenario in which Trump’s mental impairment warranted invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, that same impairment might also render him incapable of having criminal intent.

In situations of “diminished capacity,” which could mean an abnormality such as dementia or a personality disorder, a person may be incapable of forming a mens rea, or “guilty mind”—the intention and understanding behind a crime. The federal case United States v. Brawner, from 1972, recognized the “diminished capacity” defense, and other courts since have also treated dementia, and even “mild cognitive impairment,” as relevant to a person’s competence to plead guilty, such as Alvarez-Jacinto v. United States, in 2010.

Mueller’s investigation likely focusses on obstruction of justice, which demands proof of corrupt intent; in that case, the remarkable public discourse around Trump’s mental unfitness would surely be helpful to the President’s legal counsel. If there is reasonable doubt as to whether Trump could have formed the mens rea to obstruct justice due to mental disease, or if he appears mentally incompetent to be tried or to plead guilty, then Congress may be even less willing to decide to impeach and convict him for high crimes. And, of course, Congress cannot impeach on grounds of mental incapacity. 

Michael Hoffman, author of “In the Land of the Kami: A
 Journey into the Hearts of Japan” and “Other Worlds.”
We know how unbalanced Trump is. From Japan Times, here's a view of Kim Jong Un's instability: Excerpt: 

Some interesting candid takes on my adopted city.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump’s opposite number in the nuclear crisis currently unfolding, is generally regarded as sane. “(He) is a very rational actor,” Yong Suk Lee of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Korea Mission Center told a CIA-sponsored intelligence conference in October. “Kim Jong Un wants what all authoritarian rulers want … to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his own bed.”
That’s possible but not self-evident. Shukan Bunshun magazine, in a special issue devoted exclusively to North Korea, presents a different view. In a report written by journalist Yoshihiro Makino, Kim comes across as erratic, alcoholic and in perpetual fear for his life — the last perhaps accounting for the first two and not, on the face of it, irrational. Men of his stamp make enemies. He seldom appears in public and increasingly, Makino says, takes refuge in wine and whisky — the very finest, notwithstanding tightening sanctions and the poverty-ridden condition of the country at large. Citing unnamed North Korean sources, Makino portrays Kim and his immediate entourage partying “several times a week,” with Kim’s moods as he drinks veering from cheerful to ominously silent to explosive for no apparent reason. Absolute power does that to people. On the verge of passing out, he’ll suddenly snap, “Meeting tomorrow, first thing,” only to wake up next morning astonished to find his aides in breathless attendance.
The Trump-Kim dialogue to date — “little rocket man”; “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” — is on a level that belies what’s at stake, stoking fears they neither know nor care. What is Kim thinking? Trump’s compulsive tweeting gives us a bit of a window on his mind, streaked and opaque but better than nothing. Kim? Nothing. We know what intelligence agents such as Yong tell us they think they know — no more. His own people wouldn’t even know that much. Continued

How he hid out with the Black Panthers in Africa

Excerpt from "Dangerous Donald and the Doomsday Clock: Trump’s derangement could yet kill us all"

Clinical psychologist Craig Malkin similarly writes that “When it comes to the question of whether or not someone who’s mentally ill can function, danger is the key — to self or others. This is where pathological narcissism and politics can indeed become a toxic, even lethal mix. When peace at home and abroad are at stake — not just the feelings of coworkers, friends , or partners — pathological narcissism unchecked could lead to World War III.”
Whether or not President Trump suffers from malignant narcissism (described by Erich Fromm as “the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity”), hypomania, bipolar disorder, delusional disorder, anti-social personality disorder or any other kind of mental illness, it is clear that this president is neither sane nor stable, and he is growing worse by the day. “Trump is bad, mad, and getting worse,” concludes Gartner. “He evinces the most destructive and dangerous collection of psychiatric symptoms possible for a leader.”
In an interview with Politico Magazine earlier this month, Lee, who has received thousands of death threats since speaking out publicly about Trump’s mental health, remarked that “Trump is going to get worse and will become uncontainable with the pressures of the presidency.” One shudders to think how much worse Trump can actually get — and how much damage he can inflict on the world in the process.
On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of the notorious “Doomsday Clock” closer to midnight. At two minutes to 12, the clock is now the closest it's been since 1953, at the height of the Cold War. In a statement by the editors, they note that “hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.” The inflammatory rhetoric and mercurial behavior of President Trump is particularly worrying:
Jan. 26, 2018

American readers: The majority of my foreign readers come from Russia and Ukraine. I am
curious as to who they are. Could they be members of Russian intlligence? Could
they be ordinary Russians currious about Donald Trump and my opinion about them.
I'd be delighted to hear from them via my special gmx email.  All emails, even those
in Russian, will be answered using Google Translate.

Для читателей в России и Украине, пожалуйста,
 сообщите мне о вас и скажите, почему вы читали
 мой блог. Дайте мне знать, если есть что-нибудь,
 в частности, вы хотите, чтобы я написал. 
Я отвечу на все серьезные электронные письма.

The firing of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has long been a red line for most Republicans in Congress who are trying to work with their president.
But it's a red line they'd rather not act on — and now, with news that President Trump actually made moves to do it, they may be forced to.
There are two bills in Congress, both of which have some Republican support, that would protect Mueller from being fired by Trump. But neither bill has been seriously considered by leadership.
Up until this point, Republicans had given Trump the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn't launch a constitutional crisis. From their perspective, why take action and cause a confrontation with the president (and jeopardize their agenda) if they don't absolutely have to?

Now they may have to.
Truth be told, Davos Donny, you got this waaay wrong: 
“This is like walking into the Academy Awards, except we have more photographers.” The Academy Awards probably had more photographers, and if you walked the Red Carpet people would be booing and hissing. See video But, wait, wait, do tell me, he was laughed at and booed at Davos too.

Link to Daily Kos Story

"Fake news, folks. Fake news," Trump said when questioned about the revelation as he entered the World Economic Forum in Davos. "Typical New York Times," he added. CNN Report, video also on MSNBC — a clip which will be replayed all day.
I doubt there will turn out to be a hero coming out of the White House giving up the goods on Trump because that's the right thing to do. Those of us who were glued to the TV last night watching MSNBC as Rachel Maddow broke the news coming from the New York Times that Trump wanted to fire Mueller back in June might have wondered if the man who stopped him might be a hero. As we all know by now what stopped him was the threat by White House Counsel John McGahn telling him that if he did so he would resign.

Could McGahn turn out to be this hero? Consider this from this morning's New York Times. (Emphasis added)
I would caution people not to lionize McGahn. He’s been involved in some of this administration’s seedier acts, including the nomination of unqualified federal-judge candidates, at least one of whom had personal ties to him. He also played a role in previous attempts by the White House to muck up the Russia investigation, including the firing of James Comey as the F.B.I. director…. But McGahn acted honorably and bravely when it mattered most. He flat-out refused an order from his boss, which is never easy, let alone when your boss is the president and the order deals with the most explosive subject in politics. He doesn’t deserve to be lionized, but he does deserve praise.

Republican lawmakers seized upon the “secret society” reference this week, claiming to see sinister motives, and it started popping up all over cable news chyrons. But, in fact, it was almost certainly a joke, a bit of gallows humor after an election that featured Russian interference.
So what was that “calendars” reference all about? Out of context, it’s a bit confusing. But the backstory is actually kind of funny. The New York Times first reported that the “calendars,” which the Times said had a “Russia theme,” were a gag gift for those working on the early Russia probe.
A source familiar with the text messages filled HuffPost in on the details. It turns out that, as a joke, Strzok had purchased calendars featuring “beefcake” photos of Vladimir Putin doing manly, tough-guy things like riding a horse.
I doubt a hero will emerge from the White House. More likely one or more people will play the role John Dean did in Watergate. He or she will give up the goods on Trump and his eager executioners to save their own asses. Lest anyone has forgotten the details, Dean was called the "master manipulator of the cover-up" who became a key witness against Nixon. This earned him a reduced prison sentence.


This morning in Davos when asked about the story his answer was predictable: "fake new, typical New York Times, fake news.”


Of course, there is at least one other person who knows if the news is fake and that is Don McGahn.


The question I have will no doubt be answered during the day, perhaps even by lawyers reading this.


Since McGahn is the White House counsel and not Trump's personal attorney, could he be subpoenaed to testify before Mueller about this conversation? After all, it is relevant to whether or not Trump was attempting to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.


Here's are two relevant comments from Daily Kos readers:

I think he could be compelled to testify for at least three reasons.  1) He is not being asked about legal advice or something that was told to him for purposes of obtaining legal advice.  Attorney-client privilege thus does not apply, regardless of whether he is WH counsel or T***p’s personal attorney. 2) The fact that there were FOUR sources for this suggests witnesses.  The presence of others means it did not happen in confidence, or they were later told about it.  Privilege is destroyed/waived. 3) If attempting to fire Muller is obstruction of justice (there is no such thing as “attempted” obstruction of justice—the attempt is the crime), then asking your attorney to carry it out would be using your attorney’s services in furtherance of a crime. The crime-fraud exception would allow the investigators to pierce the privilege.
This would be different than if T***p had instead asked McGahn for his opinion on whether he could/should fire Muller.  That would likely be protected.

Short answer:
1. Anyone can be subpoenaed.
2. The real question you’re asking: Could McGahn escape answering the questions by invoking attorney-client privilege?
        Basically no, for two reasons. One is that the things he’d be testifying about did not take place in the context of a one-on-one private consultation between an attorney and his or her client, which is all the privilege protects. If I’m copied in on an email that my client sent to a third party, that’s not protected. (But my email back just to my client, saying, “I wouldn’t go there if I were you,” may be.)
        More significant: There is a clear exception to the attorney-client privilege for criminal conduct. You can’t shield criminal conduct by telling your lawyer about it. That’s especially true here, where McGahn is counsel to the Office of the President, and by definition committing criminal acts is not part of the official work of the Office of the President.
        There was a case some years ago in NH, where I was practicing law, in which a guy accused of murder (or maybe attempted murder?) brought his gun into his lawyer’s office and said, “Here, hold onto this for me, will ya?” and the lawyer put it in his office safe. Held: That’s not protected by the attorney-client privilege, and yes, the lawyer was an accessory after the fact to murder, just as any other person helping hide evidence would be. The privilege is based on policy considerations, not some sort of absolute right, and it yields when other policy considerations outweigh it. (The same is true of doctor-patient privilege, BTW, and if you’ve read all the privacy statements you get from doctors and hospitals, there’s always a law enforcement exception noted. If there’s a warrant or subpoena, yes, the medical people will disclose your alcohol and drug screening, whether you came in with a broken leg the night of the accident, etc.)
        The speculation I’m seeing is that McGahn, or someone working for/with him, is the likely source of the NYTimes story, and that McGahn is already cooperating with Mueller and has given him contemporaneous memos describing his conversations with Trump. I haven’t seen any sign that Dowd or Cobb, as Trump’s personal lawyers, have tried to stop him by asserting attorney-client privilege. It’s not automatic; someone has to say “I refuse to answer. . .” or “I instruct you not to answer because. . . .” 

Friday, Jan 26, 2018 · 9:13:03 AM PST · HalBrown
Breaking on MSNBC and probably elsewhere is that McGahn didn’t tell Trump face-to-face he would quit if directed to fire Mueller. Apparently someone else — or others — conveyed this to McGahn who sent the message back that if ordered to fire Mueller he would resign.
Friday, Jan 26, 2018 · 10:05:34 AM PST · HalBrown
Then there is the provocative point that Mr. Trump’s efforts were parried by the threat to resign of his own White House counsel, Mr. McGahn. White House counsels are not in the habit of bucking their bosses that way; it’s an extraordinarily rare event. Mr. McGahn obviously feared at least a political firestorm; yet if that was all he feared, one would expect him to have saluted and carried out the president’s orders. Concerns about politics aren’t a hallmark of Mr. McGahn’s tenure, to say the least. The threat to resign carries with it the possible implication that he saw more: a crime, even a continuing conspiracy, that he wanted to distance both Mr. Trump and himself from.
That sort of intervention is consistent with more principled motives, and a desire to save Mr. Trump not only from himself but from despoiling the presidency (which the White House counsel in fact represents). It’s also consistent with the Washington tradition of self-serving conduct with an eye toward ensuring that you don’t go down with the ship. Perhaps in this case it was both.
In any event, Mr. McGahn’s pushback starts to look like a John Dean moment in the Trump administration: the juncture when actors in the White House, including the White House counsel, began to realize that there is, in Mr. Dean’s famous phrase, “a cancer on the presidency.” Reports have been rife of a dispirited and paranoid White House, with as many internecine battles as there are combinations of officials. NEW YORK Times Opinion 
Friday, Jan 26, 2018 · 10:27:19 AM PST · HalBrown
From the Washington Post:
The Daily 202: Five takeaways from Trump’s thwarted effort to fire Mueller
1. Trying to fire Mueller is a data point that could be used to build a larger obstruction case.
2. The White House’s credibility gap has become a chasm.
3. This news will create fresh momentum for Congress to take up bipartisan bills to protect Mueller, even if GOP leadership continues to pigeonhole them.
4. McGahn threatening to quit is a reminder that White House staffers do not need to enable Trump.
5. Managing Trump can be a herculean task for his top aides.
Friday, Jan 26, 2018 · 10:50:22 AM PST · HalBrown
Just  two days before the NY Times broke this news here’s what Sarah had to say:

Jan. 23: White House says firing Mueller would not be ‘helpful’ — Time Magazine

After a White House spokesperson again referred to the special counsel’s investigation as a “witch hunt,” Sanders was again asked if Trump would fire Mueller, and she said it would not be “helpful to the process.”

Q If it is, Sarah, a witch hunt, as the President has said and others members of the administration have said, why doesn’t the President just get rid of Bob Mueller, just fire him? Mr. Gidley also said today that it’s wasting taxpayers’ money. In that regard, why doesn’t he just end the investigation because it’s wasting the taxpayers’ money?
MS. SANDERS: Look, we want to see this come to a complete and full conclusion. I think we all know what everybody in this room would do if the President did that, and I don’t think that’s helpful to the process.
The President wants to see this end, and he wants to see them finally come to the same conclusion that I think most everyone in America has, that there is nothing to this. They’ve spent the better part — most of you have spent the better part of a year looking, digging, obsessing over trying to find something and have yet to find anything.

Jan. 25, 2018

A story I had to research to make sure it wasn't satire: The White House asked to borrow a van Gogh. The Guggenheim offered a gold toilet instead. (Update, it was just covered on The Beat with Ari Melbler)

EXCERPT: The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: The museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.
Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles, France, with his dog.
The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.
For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited “America” — the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan — in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.

But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.

No Brainer for Today:

Perhaps there really is a clandestine group of national intelligence agents meeting in a back booth at a suburban D.C. Waffle House. But come on, would any member text about it and call it a "secret society" in messages they knew could be monitored?  Give me a break, at least they would have called it the "pancake group" or by another innocuous name. Breaking News: Justice Dept. recovers missing texts from FBI officials

There are those who still hold out hope that this president can be "managed" by members of his cabinet. Our professional experience would suggest, rather, that his dangerousness is likely to increase. Assessing dangerousness is different from making a diagnosis. Signs of dangerousness secondary to mental disorder can become apparent without a full diagnostic interview, and can be detected from a distance. The psychiatrist is expected to err, if at all, on the side of safety when the risk of inaction is too great. Only one person need be in danger of harm by the impaired individual, and the threshold for containment is even lower if the individual has access to weapons (not to mention nuclear weapons).
Physicians are guided by the Declaration of Geneva and the American Medical Association's Principles of Medical Ethics. The former confirms the physician's dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine, while the latter defines honorable behavior for the physician. The physician's responsibility is first and foremost to the patient, but it extends as well to society. When a person poses a danger because of mental disturbance, psychiatrists are mandated to report, to incapacitate and to take steps to protect the public.

I was just talking to a fellow Michigan State University graduate here in the coffee shop about Dr. Nassar’s background. I looked him up in Wikipedia and so much was familiar from when we both lived near Lansing in the small town of Mason.

In 1993, he graduated as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Michigan State. 

I had two DO’s doing medication clinics when I ran a mental health center in Mason Michigan. Michigan State has both a medical school and a an osteopathic medicine school so they share many faculty members.  Michigan is a state where there are numerous highly regarded DO’s.

He went on to complete his residency training in family practice in 1996 at St. Lawrence Hospital, which has since merged with Sparrow Hospital in LansingMichigan

I am very familiar with both of these hospitals. St. Lawrence had a psychiatric unit so I was very familiar with the hospital. 

Nassar lived in Holt, Michigan at the time of his arrest - 

Holt is the town abutting the town where we lived on the way to Lansing via Cedar Street which so I through Holt several times a week.

Is it any surprise that the people under Trump are appointing totally unqualified people to positions in the various agencies? Is it any surprise that some of them are outright bigots?  Is it any surprise some of them are just plain stupid? Here's an example you may have missed. Trump-Appointed HUD Official Just Called Journalist April Ryan 'Miss Piggy' on Twitter Then Deleted It

Here's April Ryan's Twitter feed. Two samples below, but lots more.

And then there's Trump's 24 year old deputy drug czar. He's being forced to resign, no doubt because this embarrassment was one step too far.  In the Trump administration, seemingly imune to embarrassment and admitting they made a mistake, this is a big thing.