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January 28, 2019

Hal Brown blog January to early Feb 2019

This blog contains links to my Capitol Hill Blue columns plus selected news items of the day. 

Feb. 20, 2019 
In progress for CHB later in day

Donald Trump has a reflective defense against charges of wrongdoing, "it's fake news" and when things get too hot he accuses the accusers of being enemies of the people, biased, or corrupt.

Then in the midst of these attacks, his thought process sometimes rerails and the president throws in an unrelated attack against other enemies, for example this tweet was sandwiched between the attacks against the press this morning.

Even during this morning's tweetstorm against the media, Trump demonstrated that he was abusing presidential power to exact revenge against California for leading the state lawsuits against him: "Trump Administration Says It Will Rescind $929 Million In Funds For California High-Speed Rail. The announcement comes one day after California joined a 16-state lawsuit challenging the president’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall. HUFFPOST

He connected the two in a tweet (top) which was later deleted and replaced with another tweet (bottom).

Considering the evidence against him these diversionary tactics would be either laughable or pathetic if they weren't effective with his brainwashed sycophants who demonstrate the same ability for rational thought as a colony of migrating lemmings.

We expect Trump's White House shills to lie for him when they are forced to respond to the press. As for as those who rely on Fox to get their news this is their website's front page as of 10:30 AM Wednesday morning:

You have to scroll down the sidebar to number eight to find a video about the the most important news of the week: Andrew McCabe believes 'it's possible' President Trump is a Russia asset and number nine a Tucker Calrson interview with Richard Painter ,who is highlycritical of Trump, Former Bush ethics attorney wants President Trump removed from office using the 25th Amendment.

The fact that GOP members of Congress are still backing President Trump has moved into the realm of being accessories after the fact in crimes up to and possibly including treason.

18 U.S. Code § 3 - Accessory after the fact

Whoever, knowing that an offenseagainst the United Stateshas been committed, receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment, is an accessory after the fact.

Except as otherwise expressly provided by any Act of Congress, an accessory after the fact shall be imprisoned not more than one-half the maximum term of imprisonment or (notwithstanding section 3571) fined not more than one-half the maximum fine prescribed for the punishment of the principal, or both; or if the principal is punishable by life imprisonment or death, the accessory shall be imprisoned not more than 15 years.

While congressional Republicans can never be literally charged with this crime, as long as they persist in protecting the president they are ethically and morally culpable. Eventually, they will be judged in the court of public opinion and many won't be in office two and four years from now.


Feb. 19, 2019

7 bombshells from the NYT’s devastating report of Trump’s ‘war’ on the investigations into him

In a new in-depth report Monday on Trump’s efforts to intimidate and defame the investigators, the New York Times documented many new and revealing details of this campaign. While some of the information has been made public before, its narrative account gives new life to both familiar and previously unknown facts that may one day provide the basis for an obstruction of justice charge against the president. Here are 7 key claims from the report. Click above to read details.
  • 1. Trump pressured Whitaker to install a crony to oversee the SDNY investigation.
  • 2. Attorneys for the president dangled pardons to both Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
  • 3. Even though Michael Flynn resigned voluntarily, Trump pushed the falsehood that he asked for Flynn’s resignation.
  • 4. White House lawyers warned about Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s spreading of misinformation.
  • 5. Trump claims Rod Rosenstein told him the Michael Cohen investigation had nothing to do with him.
  • 6. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other Trump allies decided in July 2017 to actively undermine Mueller.
  • 7. Trump has gone after Mueller and the Russia investigation more than 1,100 times in public.

Let's hope Stone's judge was not amused by the target Instagram post and sends him to jail to await trial.

Roberts pulls court to center

NOT IN MCCABE BOOK: Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said he briefed a bipartisan group of congressional leaders about the FBI’s counterintelligence operation into President Donald Trump in May 2017, and that none of them objected.
“No one objected — not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts,” he said Tuesday in an interview on NBC’s “Today,” ahead of the release of his book about his time at the FBI under Trump. 


On CNN Tuesday, national security expert Samantha Vinograd wondered if the investigation is still ongoing and what that could mean for potential Russian interference in US policy. 
“Is that investigation still ongoing? McCabe has said that the President’s moves to undercut investigations, to believe Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials, to make personnel decisions based on Russia related matters, all led to this investigation,” Vinograd observed. 
“McCabe would have laid that out before the Gang of Eight. But just in the past few days, the counterintelligence red flags are flying a lot higher than they did arguably than when this investigation was first launched,” she pointed out. 

“And that this investigation is continuing and there is still a chance that Vladimir Putin is controlling the White House.

“Four out of ten Americans are still okay with the lies every day, the racism every day,” Joe Scarborough today.

Russian super-missle hype was a con.

Feb. 18, 2019
CHB story still highly relevant, now updated with video and transcript link to McCabe "60 Minutes" interview. New comments below.

This is what I added to my Feb. 16th story:

McCabe said Rosenstein raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump out of concern about the president’s “capacity and about his intent at that point in time.”

The key words, above, from a mental health perspective, are “capacity” and from the concern over President Trump’s loyalty, “intent.”
For once I agree with Lindsay Graham (on CBS “Face the Nation”):
Graham called the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment “beyond stunning.”
Indeed, the very idea that Trump’s psychological impairment might justify removal from office is beyond stunning. That there was evidence being taken seriously by experienced  intelligence experts to ponder taking such a step is staggering and mind-boggling.
Then, there’s this:

Trump insisted intelligence reports that North Korea had launched an ICBM were incorrect because Putin had told him that North Korea did not have that capability, the book says, per The Washington Post.

The most innocent explanation of this is that Trump does not have the judgment to think rationally about an issue vital to national security, that he took the word of the leader of a nation which is an adversary over his own intelligence experts. Is it any wonder that those aware of this were considering invoking the 25th Amendment because of mental incapacity?
Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff for the Defense Department and the CIA under Barack Obama told Michelle Wallace on MSNBC today: “Think about this, Putin says to an American president, ’I don’t want you to take seriously the threat of an ICBM from North Korea.’” He said that Putin’s motives would be to “undermine U.S. intelligence. More  fundamentally, the Russian Federation has had a long-standing agenda to stop the United States from building national missile defenses because those defenses could defend our territory from Russian ICBMs.” He said that Trump heeding Putin’s advice represents a “very dangerous situation.”

Watch Ivanka Trump sit in stony silence as Germany’s Angela Merkel rips her father’s trade war with Europe

Feb. 17, 2019
I decided to put a story about Bernie Sanders on Daily Kos. My first story there in months. Click to read and comment.

Feb. 16, 2019 

McCabe book reveals FBI suspected Trump was mentally unfit, and Sessions’ racism, by Hal Brown

Feb. 15, 2019

 This story is still very important and remains a hot topic in the news. Andrew McCabe may be called before Congress and is just beginning his book tour.  My article focuses on the fact that a few months before Comey was fired, the event which led to grave concern in the intelligence community, mental health professionals were going public about invoking the 25th Amendment. 

If you already read my Pence / Perry Mason moment column here is the update I added today:


Andrew McCabe’s latest revelations show how Trump is his own worst enemy

Excerpts (emphasis in bold and red for danger which I think are indicattive of Trump's psychopathology added):

McCabe’s account adds further detail to a picture of a president who is his own worst enemy. Again and again, Trump’s narcissism and insecurity led him to put himself in more jeopardy than he was already in. Had he been able to control himself, he might have gotten away with a lot more...........
And at every step along the way, when any sensible person would have exercised care and restraint, Trump has acted like a guilty manlying about everything, launching screeching attacks on anyone who’s critical of him and saying those who cooperate with prosecutors are “rats.” It’s no accident that both Comey and McCabe came away from their conversations with him thinking that he reminded them of a mob boss.
Of all Trump’s manifold character flaws, his bottomless need for validation and the unhinged way he reacts to criticism may be what gets him in the most trouble. Again and again we’ve seen that the targets of his pressure tactics and attacks, rather than backing off, become more convinced that they have to hold him accountable. And there are only so many people he can fire.

Here are my tweets of the day:

Pundits keep using words like "mercurial" to describe personality & that he makes decisions based on what he hears from the last person he talks to. Mercurial means subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind. This is psychopathology.

After listening to 50 minutes of the ramblings of Trump:

This one is personal:

Feb. 14, 2019 

Feb. 13, 2019
Astronaut Mark Kelly isn't a shoo-in to run against Martha McSally, by Hal Brown

‘How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?’: Trump on owning a dog

While admiring a German shepherd’s abilities to sniff out drugs, President Trump said he couldn’t see himself with a dog during a Feb. 11 rally in El Paso

Video: Trump explaining why he doesn't own a dog.

El Paso: I watched the reactions of the audience when Trump made excuses for why he didn't own a dog. For the first time it looked like many of them were confused and didn't know how to react. Anybody else see this?

I've read a few comments on Twitter and Facebook that people wouldn't wish Trump on any pet. I can think of one pet he could have:

My tweet to Rachel:
 Prompted by this amazing story:

‘What is going on in the head of the president’: MSNBC’s Maddow mocks Trump’s ridiculous belief that he just invented the 4th of July parade

Cases for and against impeaching Donald Trump - Finanical Times reviews three books

Feb. 12, 2019

Just saying: 
I watched the reactions of the audience when Trump made excuses for why he didn't own a dog. For the first time it looks like many of them were confused and didn't know how to react. Anybody else see this?

Feb. 11, 2019
"Trump, O'Rourke: So near, yet so far." By Hal Brown
Beto vs. Blowhard: Aburrido o emocionante batalla de los gigantes en El Paso 

Dueling speeches 9 PM EST, 6 PM Pacific
This story is in the news today, at least on MSNBC. I can't imagine Beto getting crowds less than Trump's, and may very well get more. Boring vs. Boffo (Aburrido o emocionante) -  Seems like it is a win win already for Beto. My prediction is that as a true son of El Paso he will pull this off even without Willie. 

‘I did inhale’: Kamala Harris admits she smoked weed in college, “Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” she said to gales of laughter. When asked whether ever experimented herself, she replied, “I have, and I did inhale.”

“I think that gives people a lot of joy,” she continued, “and we need more joy.”

Feb. 10, 2019
by Jennifer Rubin:
No one would plan a presidential kickoff in a snowstorm, but in the case of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who will run as a politician with “grit” as she described herself from the heartland of America, the grace with which she and other Minnesota politicians handled the infamous Minnesota winter conditions could not have been more helpful to her presidential chances. 
The contrast with a deceitful president, a man who inherited wealth and avoids physical challenges (whether it was the war in Vietnam or a rainy day at a World War I cemetery), could not have been more stark. Klobuchar stood without a tent, an umbrella — or even a hat. “I don’t come from money” was the perfect line for someone running as a proudly middle-class American — with just the right amount of pride and defiance. (“I have family. I have friends. I have neighbors,” she continued. “I have all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of the winter, all of you who took the time to watch us today, all of you who are willing to stand up and say people matter.”) She vowed, “I promise you this: As your president, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will focus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. And no matter what, I’ll lead from the heart.” It evoked Jimmy Carter’s promise after Watergate that he would never lie to the American people. 
The weather certainly helped drive home the impression that she is the grounded-in-reality, hard-working gal who sees challenges as opportunities. “Let’s stop seeing those obstacles [e.g., technological change] as obstacles on our path. Let’s see those obstacles as our path,” she said, pointing out that the weather was just such an example.

Feb. 9, 2019

"News enough to give me vertigo. I already have it." By Hal Brown
This column is basically a compilation of the stories below.
I didn't have a specific topic to write about today, but yesterday was such a shitstorm of news. This was combined with the fact that I had a bad vertgo attack and was pretty much immobilzed 😧😫😫 as I was riveted to the TV watching Matthew "Your Five Minutes Is Up"  Whitaker trying to decide which Trump teat to suckle. The end result was this column which I wrote for Capitol Hill Blue after I figured out how to post an image of myself onto Trump's new Twitter page.

Sen. Wyden Seeks to Legalize Marijuana on a Federal Level With Introduction of S. 420 Bill

The review of Mar-a-Lago is in The Washington Post which you need a subscription to read. Email me if you want me to send you the article.  How Mar-a-Lago’s denizens nurtured Donald Trump’s ego

The article begins: 

Palm Beach is a horrible place. According to Laurence Leamer’s book “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace,” the Florida enclave is populated by snooty old-timers and egotistical arrivistes, social climbers and brown-nosers — all of whom are willing to tolerate and even reward the most egregious behavior if it means basking in the nuclear glow of the latest buzzy power player. It’s a town where wealthy husbands fight petty battles in court and middle-aged wives fight wrinkles and weight gain as if their marriages depend on it, because they so often do. It’s a wretched village filled with grotesque anti-Semitism and casual racism, but with striking ocean views. 
Just saying. Click to enlarge.
Excerpt: In 1993, in an effort to rankle old society, Trump hosted a bachelor ball at Mar-a-Lago on the same night as the International Red Cross Ball, which was considered the height of the town’s social season and one of its most important charitable events. Charity, however, was no match for sports stars and pretty women.
Trump invited “pro football and basketball players, many of them black, busloads of models, Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, a smattering of the usual social suspects, along with scores of reporters and paparazzi. Not invited were the gentlemen sitting at the bar next door at the Bath and Tennis Club having a few stiff ones before heading over to the Red Cross Ball at the Breakers. They could condemn Trump’s garish vulgarity all they wanted, but what man didn’t want to be at the Bachelor Ball?” 

Feb. 8, 2019

Click to enlarge

Yale psychiatrist: Trump is increasingly divorced from reality and scrambling to prevent an emotional collapse 

The Montreal test (shown above) is readily available online so Trump easily could practice taking it in advance. Of course Dr. Lee is correct that a complete neuropychological assessment requires a battery of tests. Theynshould be administered and interpreted by experts, often clincial psychologists, behavioral neurologists, or psychiatrists who specialize in this, not a family doctor. 


  • At first glance, in the wake of the roars of approval President Trump received from Republican lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, it may seem fanciful to think the president might be forced out of office by members of his own party. At second glance, too. Yet sometimes things that seem impossible one moment become inevitable the next.
  • Being sane, we understand why the prospect of Mr. Trump’s being forced to resign or face impeachment and conviction before the end of his term is unlikely. His losing a renomination fight seems only slightly more likely. After all, his ejection depends on a significant part of the Republican Party turning against him — and right now it belongs to him.
  • Mr. Trump’s hard-core base is large enough to dominate the Republican Party, at least for now, but it is not large enough to dominate the country.
  • Meanwhile, chaos is consuming the Trump administration. The president, cowed by his base, engineered a very unpopular government shutdown for which most people held him (and his party) responsible.
  • In December, his mercurial decision-making drove his widely respected defense secretary to quit in protest. Scandals and corruption besiege the president on every side. His administration is being investigated by a special counsel, by the Southern District of New York and soon by House Democrats armed with subpoena power. The president’s behavior is becoming more erratic and bizarre, and his own aides have confided that he is “unhinged.”
  • What, then, might flip Mr. Trump’s removal from impossible to inevitable? The most likely possibility is also the most obvious: the collapse of his support among center-right Republicans who so far have wavered but not completely turned against him.
  • If some combination of criminality, incompetence or crisis moves the center-right against the president, his end could come quickly. If that happens, Mr. Trump might step down to avoid impeachment, particularly if he were promised clemency for himself and his family. Short of outright resignation or removal, he could suffer enough defections so that he might announce he will not seek re-election.
  • The party has abandoned its core commitments to constitutional norms, to conservative principles and even to basic decency. It has allowed itself to be hijacked by a reality television star who is a pathological liar, emotionally unsteady and accountable only to himself. And it has embraced presidential conduct that, if engaged in by a Democrat, it would have been denounced as corrupt, incompetent and even treasonous.
  • The incontestability of his psychological defects and character flaws has finally sunk in. What remains to be done is for Republicans to prevent what many of them privately know is quite likely for their party if Mr. Trump remains their leader: a crash landing.
  • Of course, Mr. Trump’s exit is a long shot. In democracies, sick political parties usually need years in the wilderness before they can heal. We have not talked ourselves into being confident, or even particularly optimistic, that the Republican Party will treat its own fever. But if there is one thing that the age of Trump has clarified, it is that “unimaginable” and “impossible” are not at all the same thing.
Trump’s Twitter feed tells you everything you need to know about the state of our union - WaPo
But we knew this two years ago!
If you wanted to understand the actual state of our union, the last place to look was in Trump’s rhetorical dud. Teleprompters, boilerplate blah-blah-blah and the limp language of Stephen Miller don’t tell you much about where we are at as a country.

If you want to understand what really moves Trump, there’s an easy way to do it: Just look at his Twitter feed. His tweets provide an unfiltered window into what he actually cares about. They show a man who cares about himself but cares little for others. They show a man who whines about every injustice done to him but remains silent about the injustices he inflicts on others. And they show all this with mathematical precision, because it’s easy enough to simply count up how often he tweets about any given subject. And when you analyze the 280-character outbursts on his feed, the results are as damning as they are objective.

First, there’s the narcissism. With Trump, it’s all about him, all the time. Since taking office, Trump has tweeted 51 times about “ratings,” be it his TV ratings for his inauguration, his approval ratings, or the “Fox & Friends” ratings. He’s boasted about his “crowds” on Twitter 44 times.

Click above to read article

Here's an interesting theory on Trump's silence about the Bezos blackmail story.

Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business and an Amazon expert, told MSNBC on Friday why he thinks President Donald Trump is involved in the National Enquirer’s alleged blackmail of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Host Stephanie Ruhle asked Galloway to elaborate on his statement from Thursday night, in which he said Trump was probably “directly involved” because the president “never misses opportunity to mock enemies… Also he is petty, immature and terrible role model for youth.”
“A key tell among law enforcement officials is when someone is driving 45 miles an hour in the fast lane, that they’re hiding something,” Galloway explained. “The president’s silence on this is eerie.”
“He tweeted about Bezos calling him ‘Bozo’ January 4th — but this is someone who never misses an opportunity to mock someone he perceives as an adversary via Twitter and he hasn’t said anything and I think that’s — that’s a tell here”

“And like with a Facebook hack or any scandal involving the president, the only thing we know for sure is that it’s almost worser, always worse than we originally thought. I think this is going to be one of the biggest stories of 2019 and there are several cards still to be turned over here.”

Feb. 7, 2019

Trump says people of faith achieved the ‘abolition of civil rights’ at the National Prayer Breakfast

This makes number four in Virginia, thankfully he's a Republican: 

Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment Edited Yearbook With Blackface, Slurs

Feb. 6, 2019

"Trump's illogical sate of the union," by Hal Brown

Below, Ann (the stick-figure atrocity) Coulter tweets her reaction to the State of the Union address on The far-right Daily Caller. I looked so you don't have to. Click image to enlarge:

Feb. 5, 2019

Sen. Jeff Merkley tells Salon about his SOTU guests: A family separated by Trump

Oregon senator tells Salon this mother and daughter were separated by Trump's "evil," "racist" border policies

Feb. 4, 2019

Feb. 3, 2019

This Jew is woefully ignorant about the Old Testament, let alone passages from the New. However, I was familiar with the one I built this column about. Like all my Jewish friends I can't help but think of the similarities between Trump's inner circle and Hitler's  (scroll down).


Abive, the Trump choir about to break into their version of Horst-Wessel-Lied:

For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!
For the fight, we all stand prepared!
 Already MAGA banners fly over all streets.
The time of bondage will last but a little while now!


Trump is the poster boy for combined dangerous mental illness and dangerous willful stupidity. His tweets, statements, and face say it all.
You don't need him to take a Rorschach test. If he did, responses like "this looks like a dead butterlfy squished under someones heel, and these are two people trying to beat each other to death" I think would ring alarm bells for any clincial psychologist, but what do I know as a clincial social worker?
Snarky Sunday:

Why isn't this a surprise? Insider leaks Trump's "Executive Time"-filled private schedules - Axios

And then there's this: 

Special counsel witness Sam Nunberg claims Robert Mueller has ‘a strong case of a conspiracy’

“When I went to the special counsel for the voluntary interview, it was, ‘Roger, Roger Roger, Roger,'” Nunberg said, referring to Trump confidante Roger Stone.
Nunberg said that prosecutors wanted to know “what did Roger and Trump discuss in their phone calls.”
“I could tell what they were going to do to Roger,” he explained. “I think Roger could tell what they’re going to do to Trump. These aren’t the guys you fuck around with. They have a strong case of a conspiracy.”
Nunberg said that he didn’t believe that President Donald Trump personally spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 campaign.
“But what I do know is that there’s something going on there,” he added. “There’s a lot of stuff to look into.”

Feb. 2, 2019

The governor has an interesting and diverse background which is described on his Wikipedia page which hasn't been updated in view of the breaking news. It says on the top of the page:

This article is about a person involved in a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses, and initial news reports may be unreliable. The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current information. Please feel free to improve this articleor discuss changes on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Feb. 1, 2019 

"Trump's war with his intelligence agencies proves he is unfit for office," by Hal Brown, Capitol Hill Blue

Quote of the day, from Joe Scarborough: "Hey, you know what, New Coke didn’t work, so we’re going to add cat urine to it."

If you just look at vote total in the history of America for any midterm election, (Republicans) lost by more than any other party ever, they lost more seats than at any time since Watergate. Then this (president) decides he’s going to double down on that — remember the strategy going into that election was the fake caravans, the fake border crisis, the fake need to send troops down to the border, right? It failed historically. This is like from Coca-Cola to New Coke.  
Except now we’re moving from New Coke. It would be as if the board of directors in Atlanta, Georgia, for Coca-Cola said, and forgive me for saying it this morning. Hey, you know what, New Coke didn’t work, so we’re going to add cat urine to it. 
It’s the worst it’s ever been in history, the worst loss since Watergate. He’s doubling down on the strategy, and now his answer is — and this is where our cat part comes in — he’s going to continue, but now he’s going to violate the United States Constitution, right, and he’s going to have the Supreme Court most likely overturn his decision (to declare a national emergency) unanimously. 
This is a board of directors that — I mean, they got to step in to save themselves,” he added. 
On being thankful for small things department: Scientists win a few battles

Just saying: 

For a president who watches a lot of TV, and presumably thought "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" was a documentary, he thinks assualt rifles the FBI uses are "AK27's or whatever." First of all, the weapon is an AK-47, also know as a Kalashnikov or just an AK, and second it is a Russian weapon and no American law enforcement agency uses it.

TRUMP: That was a long time. I will say this, I’ve always liked — I like Roger, he’s a character. But I like Roger. For a team of 29 people with AK27s, or whatever they were using, to charge a house like they did at 6:00 in the morning. I think that was a very sad thing for this country.

While on the subject of weapons: The Russian military is getting new assault rifles, and you probably heard it here first, the United States is working on a new super-gun (not a missile) that travels over 1,000 miles and could hit tragets in China. The gun could destroy Chinese warships and military targets on islands across the South China Sea, destroying air defense sites, radar installations, anti-ship missiles and even air bases.

It is the oposite of reassuring that Trump will have a new smaller nuclear missile to play with if he's still president by the time it is ready to be deployed.

I  have said that it would be better for the planet if all humans died and all the octupi came out of the oceans and took over. This is a horrifying story and farming these highly intelligent creatures.

First, there’s a lot of research pointing us to the conclusion that octopuses are conscious, capable, and really, really smart. “Once octopuses have solved a novel problem,” the paper notes, “they retain long-term memory of the solution. One study found that octopuses retained knowledge of how to open a screw-top jar for at least five months. They are also capable of mastering complex aquascapes, conducting extensive foraging trips, and using visual landmarks to navigate.” 
However, as Jacquet pointed out to me, it’s not the research literature on octopus intelligence or on consciousness in animals that’s convincing to the general public — it’s the abundant videos available online of octopuses using toolsstealing crabscamouflaging themselves, and solving problems in their environment. People can recognize an intelligent animal when they see it, whether they’ve read the research on octopus intelligence or not.

Jan. 30/31, 2019
"Trump lives in a world of delusions and lies," Analysis by Hal Brown in Capitol Hill Blue

New Poll Indicates Democrats Could Beat Trump by Nominating Whomever the Heck They Want

Bring on  the clowns:

Roe v. Wade Is Under Immediate Threat

If the Supreme Court doesn’t stay a Louisiana law next week, states will have a clear path to nullify the constitutional right to choose.

Shared primarily for the title and the  graphic:
In summary: "But precisely because there are so many legitimate avenues of inquiry, Democrats must proceed with caution to avoid looking as though they’re piling on in a punitive or grossly partisan manner. While many Democrats and not a few anti-Trump Republicans would doubtless be delighted to see the president subjected to daily investigative torture, House Democrats cannot afford to alienate the independents and swing voters needed to send him packing in 2020."

Jan. 29, 2019

On Jan. 28th  Rachel Maddow showed clips from the new movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado (rated R for strong violence, bloody images, and language) which is about Mexican drug cartels. " In the drug war, there are no rules--and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) calls on the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Alejandro kidnaps the kingpin's daughter to inflame the conflict--but when the girl is seen as collateral damage, her fate will come between the two men as they question everything they are fighting for." (Rotten Tomatoes)
Trump also claimed that the criminals had cars which could outrun Border Patrol vehicles and that they found Mulsim prayer rugs in the dessert. All these claims were scenes in the movie. which had a scene depicting a woman being kidnapped, forced into a car, with tape over her mouth. She wondered if Trump saw this movie and thought it was real. It would appear that this is the case because, as Vox reported, the Border Patrol tried to find evidence of this and they couldn't.

(Above, a scene from the movie.) Newsweek reported on the prayer rugs claim in their Jan. 18, 2019 edtion"Was Trump's Prayer Rugs Tweet Really From Sicario:2?" 

Stephen Colbert suggested another placeTrump may have found this information:


Read the update to the Trump duct tape story shown above reporting that Trump's duct tape claim was based on scenes in the movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

What an idiot, Trump gave free publicity to "Team of Vipers" (buy it on Amazon) sure to be a best seller. Review.
CNN  joined  MSNBC  in  shunning   Sanders  briefing
Not to be lost on anybody, if he was just a gofer and signed a non-disclosure agreement why is Trump saying the book is based on made-up stories and fiction? "He is a mess" is a perfect example of projection. By saying I hardly knew him, he is admitting he did know him.

If you watch MSNBC and possibly other cable stations you've seen Jerome Corsi, who the hosts always refer to as Dr. Corsi (he has a Harvard PhD in political science, much I am sure to the embarrassment of his former professors). He has made his living writing paranoid fiction, outlandish conspriacy tall tales. When he is taken seriously it is like Lewis Carroll being interviewed about the politic of Wonderland, or Jonathan Swift talking about how the Lilliputian's govened their country. Read more about him here. 

Jan. 28, 2019
Note my tweet back to Trump:
Social media: 
Twitter recently designated an anti-Trump Twitter account that often comes up when someone starts to search Donald with the word "parody." You can view it here.
There's a private Facebook group which anybody can read with over 55,000,000 members. In order to post you can join. 

I post my columns there to increase readership. Here's an example:
This one got 122 "likes" which may not seem like much but it is the way a column can build readers
Excerpts from the new book Team of Vipers: from ‘Want to see the Lincoln bedroom?’: Trump relishes role as White House tour guide
  • When President Trump brings senators, New York friends or other guests to the Oval Office, he occasionally opens a door near his desk summoning them to follow. Flashing a grin, he wants his friends to see where Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky reportedly began their sexual encounters. 
  • “We’ve remodeled it since then,” he said on a tour in December, said a person with direct knowledge of the event. In a visit in 2017, Trump told a TV anchor, “I’m told this is where Bill and Monica . . .” — stopping himself from going further...
  • He’d rather roam around and B.S. with people than hunker down.”
  • The president’s desire to show off his abode fits a pattern. At Trump Tower in New York, he would show guests celebrity relics, such as basketball great Shaquille O’Neill’s shoes, signed magazine covers and photos with athletes.
  • Aides said Trump is often gregarious and charming when showing off the residence, rather than displaying the churlish demeanor he sometimes shows in West Wing meetings. 
  • Trump often has groused about flies in the White House and has told groups that his aides have mixed luck killing them. “Swarming everywhere,” he said...
  • Numerous people who have gone on the tours describe a president boasting about the artifacts and art in his temporary home.
  • He often shows off the Louisiana Land Purchase, the Gettysburg Address and other historic documents, visitors say. He has commented on particular presidents — Andrew Jackson, whom he praises, and Ulysses S. Grant, whom he called “not so good,” according to a person who visited the residence in 2018.
  • Trump also has bragged during some visits about the pictures of him on the walls of the West Wing — including one with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and another of his inauguration — and how photos of him get framed and hung quickly by White House staff members when he asks.
  • He is obsessed with the chandeliers in the White House and called the main staircase “beautiful, just really luxurious,” a person who heard the comments said. He brags about how many television sets there are in the West Wing and his fancy system of toggling between channels made for him — he calls it a “Super TiVo,” according to White House aides and Sims’s book..... “I think it’s one of the greatest inventions,” Trump has said, according to Sims. The author said the comment was made “with a smirk, as if to acknowledge his reputation as a television addict.” 
  • .. Trump has exaggerated at times in describing the tours. “They start to cry,” he has told others in explaining how people react when seeing the Oval Office, according to current and former White House aides. Two senior White House officials said they had never seen any visitor cry in the Oval Office.

Jan. 27, 2019 - Two columns today

These photos are from the animation in the Washington Post column by Carlos Lozada:

What it would take

Can impeachment appear legitimate in a hyper-partisan universe?

“Some mode of displacing an unfit magistrate is rendered indispensable by the fallibility of those who choose, as well as the corruptibility of the man chosen.” — George Mason, Constitutional Convention, June 1787
“We’re going to go in there. We’re going to impeach the motherf—er.” — Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Jan. 3
The contrast between these two statements reveals everything about the challenge of exercising Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution and attempting to remove President Trump from office. By now, the “unfit” condition of this magistrate is clear, as is his disdain for the principles and traditions of American public life. But the fitness of Congress, the sole branch empowered to impeach and convict the president, also bears scrutiny.
Even if the new Democratic majority in the House decides to move forward on impeachment, the Senate remains in Republican hands. Reaching 67 senators seems unlikely, except when recalling the Nixon era. “Nixon’s saga reveals that when support for an embattled presidency fades, it cascades,” Engel writes. “Why did so many Americans change their minds so quickly? Because the facts changed.”

That is why, if lawmakers do begin an impeachment process, truth, not partisan fury, must remain the foremost value — and that means offering a full accounting of Trump’s offenses. There is a compulsion on the part of some of the president’s critics to hinge everything on the work of special counsel Robert Mueller, the Godot of the Trump era, as if specific legal misdeeds are the only issue. “Proof that a crime occurred can feel comfortingly objective,” Tribe and Matz write. “It relieves us of the need to exercise judgment and casts a technical gloss over bitterly divisive political questions.”

Obstruction of justice, violation of the emoluments clause, the betrayal of trust to a foreign adversary — any one of these is a significant misdeed that should be core to any impeachment process. Yet they all reflect Trump’s greatest offense against the American public and the American experiment, which is his lack of interest in faithfully executing the office of the president. His biggest lie, out of so many, occurred when he swore the oath and then, in his inaugural address, pledged to be a leader for all Americans. Trump governs for his own interests and those of his family, and for the cheers of his base. His opponents righteously declare that he is “not my president,” forgetting that Trump made that choice for them long ago.

Just saying: The Daily Mail (UK) just issued an apology to Melania Trump. Curiosity led me to look up the educational backgrounds of modern first ladies:

Jackie Kennedy: Vassar College George Washington University (BA); "Lady Bird" Johnson, St. Mary's Episcopal College for Women University of Texas, Austin (BA, BJour); Pat Nixon, Fullerton College University of Southern California (BS); Betty Ford, (who did some modeling at age 11)  attended the Bennington School of Dance in Bennington, Vermont, for two summers, where she studied under director Martha Hill with choreographers Martha Graham and Hanya Holm; Rosalyn Carter,  attended Georgia Southwestern College, but later dropped out; Nancy Reagan, Smith College (BA); Barbara Bush, discontinued her studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts after meeting George Bush; Hillary Clinton, Wellesley College (BA) Yale University (JD); Laura Bush, Southern Methodist University (BS) University of Texas at Austin (MS); Michelle Obama, Princeton University (AB) Harvard University (JD); Melania Trump,  attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana and studied architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana for one year before she dropped out. 

Jan. 26, 2019
There may be two!

Today's column:

Special for blog readers
Marquis DeTrump or Donald DeSade:

I don't know which name was better. I'm not putting
this into my Capitol Hill Blue colum
Jan 25, 2019 

Nancy Pelosi Knocks Trump: ‘What Does Putin Have On The President?’

The House speaker also took aim at the indictment of Roger Stone, calling Trump’s choice of friends “staggering.”

Following the arrest of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delivered a damning rebuke of the president’s choice of friends, questioning the legitimacy of his election and his ties to Russia.
“The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people,” the congresswoman said in a statement Friday evening. “It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.”

The juiciest morsel in Mueller’s charges against Roger Stone

“This indictment is significant because it alleges coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks,” said Barbara McQuade, a former federal prosecutor who called the language in the paragraph “particularly alarming” because it used the passive voice when describing the campaign officials. “This language is very different from other language we have seen Mueller use,” she told POLITICO. “He usually is careful to use some identifying language so that the person can be referenced easily. One reasonable inference is that the person who directed the senior campaign official is someone who cannot be indicted: the president himself.”
Watch the Coulter - Maher interview: "He is not fucking sane." The last part is the best.

Jan. 25, 2019

Democrats should embrace open borders, by Hal Brown

I added the last paragraph to this Wikipedia page about Frank Pentageli. I thought someone else would beat me to it.

Just observing:
Upper left today

These are my comments to the article:

Dr. Allen Francis said Trump couldn't suffer from NPD: His reasoning: Trump “does not suffer the disorder and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.” Trump meets every other criteria (and those for malignant personality, not an official diagnosis in DSM-5, too). However Trump DOES suffer personally from the disorder as evidenced by his extreme distress whenever his narcisstic self-image is attacked. His rage attacks (look up narcssitic insult and rage) are suffering - reports that he shouts, rants, and raves are proof he is suffering. Whether Trump himself saying "I am suffering" is irrelevant. Over-reacting to what we call narcissitic insults is impairment. He is suffering. 

I emailed Dr. Francis and he responded saying he wouldn't engage me in a discussion on this.

 RE: "To date, no major network, newspaper or magazine has run an in-depth analysis of Trump’s mental health." To his great credit Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC was the first, and continues to be, the most cognizant and insightful TV host when it comes to recognizing that Trump is mentally impaired. He has had Dr. John D. Gartner, founder of the Duty to Warn group of which I was an early member, on his show. He's also had psychiatrist Lance Dodes discussing Trump's psychiatric condition. He had forensic psychiatrist Bandy Lee, editor of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump" on as well. Dr. Gartner and I consider Trump to be a malignant narcissist (look it up), but regardless of the actual diagnosis all of the therapists sounding the alarm view him to be dangrously unfit because of his mental condition. Hal Brown, MSW, retired psychotherapist and mental health center director.

 I hope Allen Francis is reading this and looking at my comments. Here's my third: Dr. Allen Francis is no fan of Trump, quite the contrary. However he has taken a stand that has set the Duty to Warn cmmuity back because of his stature. He wrote the following in a 2017 letter to the NY Times:

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder. 

Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither). 

Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers. 

His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.


Francis misses a major point. It is that Trump's mental instabily makes him dangerous. The diagnosis is relevant for this reason. It is more than merely narcissitic personality disorder. There are elements of sociopathy too.. There are also suggestions he is at times delusional and paranoid. Not only that he is so narcissitic he doesn't heed the advice from experts, often listening to Fox News commentators instead. He is also dangerously impuslive.

In answer to someone who write "Dr Allen Francis is probably the one with the personality disorder... not just Trump." I wrote:

I think he means well but is mistaken about the NPD diagnosis even if he wrote it. He is among many who think that diagnosing someone like Trump stigmatizes those truly suffering from psychiatric illness. A miniscule percentage of those with a psychiatric diagnosis commit bad acts or do bad things. However, among those who do bad things some have a diagnosis which influenced or led to their behaviors, and some don't. People who would be described as mean or nasty, lacking in empathy, are greedy, are insentive to the feelings of others including loved ones, don't usually even have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.