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May 2, 2019

Hal Brown blog May 1 to ? 2019

May 22, 2019

Why we should all care about Pete Buttigieg’s big Fox News mistake - read or article of just my take on the gist of it: When a Democrat appears on Fox it boosts their claim that they are a real news network.

Best free legal advice of the week to a f-wad who won't heed it and doesn't deserve it

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on Wednesday advised Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to obtain a personal attorney after he refused a lawful request to release President Donald Trump’s tax returns:

“As somebody that truly believes in the rule of law, as somebody that has practiced law and is an attorney, I would advise you, Secretary, to get personal legal advice because the cover-up of this administration, it goes beyond just providing the taxes. I think you need to be very, very clear about what your role is and what your responsibility is to the American people. This goes beyond just providing taxes. It goes [to] transparency and the fact that no one is above the law. So, Secretary, please seek out legal advice personally about what your obligations are because the Department of Justice is not protecting you, it’s protecting the president.

May 21, 2019

May 20, 2019

May 19, 2019

May 18, 2019

 .... the correct term for “heartbeat” is “fetal pole cardiac activity,” because at six weeks, said embryo doesn’t have a cardiovascular system and, therefore, no fully formed beating heart.

I missed this one from an October Esquire, great photos: 

My Visit to the Trump Dump.... Sorry, Trump Tower

May 17, 2019

Anti-abortion laws: how bad can it get? Mulitply the horrible cases here by 1,000.

The Republican Party is on the road to mass lockups for women who have miscarriages, by Thom Hartmann

May 16, 2019

Trump getting advice from his top advisor, you remember him, the one with the biggest brain?

May 15, 2019

May 14, 2019

How gullibility and cynicism explain Trump voters: The sycophants of a leader who fulfills their narcissistic fantasies will do anything to support him


The thing to keep in mind about President Trump, as he thrashes around like a weak swimmer in a strong current, is that he has no idea what he’s doing. None. Not a clue.
I know that he can be clever politically, in a tactical sense. I know that his lies are often both deliberate and effective. I know that his utter shamelessness can sometimes come off as some kind of warped genius. But the only thing that’s profound about Trump is the truly spectacular depth of his ignorance. As evidence, take a glance — if you dare — at your 401(k)........
....... There are many fitting words to describe the Trump administration. One of the simplest is “dumb.”
One of the dumbest things I ever did:

This brought a memory to mind something truly dumb that I did. I was kayaking by myself in the Elizabeth Islands. These are a string of tiny to small islands off of Woods Hole. I made it past the first island which was close and then set off toward a somewhat larger island. The water was a little choppy but ahead of me I saw water that was glass smooth. I headed into it straight-on and immediately capsized.

I got out of the kayak without any problem and I instantly grabbed my paddle before it was swept away, and managed to swim to the kayak and pull it back to the island I just left.

Too late I realised that the smooth water was a fast ebb current and that the absolutely wrong thing to have done was to paddle into it at a right angle. ...

May 13, 2019

Political prophet Allan Lichtman: Would impeaching Trump help him or hurt him in 2020?

Historian and author Allan Lichtman says an impeachment probe could give Democrats the "keys to the kingdom"

Nancy Pelosi seems to think that some history would celebrate not Catherine the Great, but Catherine the Faint-hearted. She is leading the Democrats down the primrose path of playing not to lose, of being timid, of being afraid, the path that has always caused the Democrats to lose. This is a truly turning-point historic moment in the history of the United States.
We now have a rogue president. Absolutely right about that, but we have a rogue president who cannot be checked by what Nancy Pelosi is proposing. The only way to check this president is to hold him accountable, to strike at his power and his brand, and that can only be done by beginning an impeachment investigation. The argument that the House should not impeach because the Senate might not convict is constitutionally unsound, politically unsound and morally bankrupt. It is not the responsibility of the House to look into a crystal ball and try to figure out what the Senate may or may not do.
Also, don't forget, if the House votes on articles of impeachment, that automatically triggers a trial in the Senate, presided over, not by [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell, but by Chief Justice John Roberts, in fidelity to the law. And the prosecutors from the House can point the finger at Donald Trump, accuse him of impeachable offenses, and force his lawyers to defend him with credible arguments and real evidence, not spin. That's the only way to check Donald Trump.
May 12, 2019

From Politico, two takes on Trump's attacking Mayor Pete by calling him Alfred E. Neuman. Buttigeig said he didn't even know who the Mad Magazine "what me worry" mascot was and had to Google him, and how Mad Magazine reacted to Buttigeig's pop culture ignorance.

Ed. Comment: I assume it's true that Mayor Pete wasn't just making a point about the age difference between him and Trump. I am surprised and disappointed that he didn't know who this cultural icon was. He said "I’ll be honest. I had to Google that. I guess it’s just a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference. It's kind of funny, I guess.” 

I find it difficult to believe anyone as smart and well-educated as Rhodes Scholar Mayor Pete managed to avoid ever hearing even a passing reference to Alfred E. Neuman and his motto but he did say he was being honest and I don't see him as a liar.

Regardless, Trump will get further making fun of how to pronounce Mayor Pete's last name if half of his supporters also don't know who Alfred E. Neuman is. At least the Neuman comparison is a junior high school level insult. Making fun of someone's last name is an elementary school taunt.

Psychoanalyzing history’s meanest men

Ethics and Medicine:

Psychopaths' Brains Show Differences in Structure and Function

Images of prisoners' brains show important differences between those who are diagnosed as psychopaths and those who aren't, according to a study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.
The results could help explain the callous and impulsive antisocial behavior exhibited by some psychopaths.

Comment: These are new studies but the early results are showing that people who are known dangerous psychopaths have identifiably differences in their brains as shown by fMRI scans. So if someone is is showing early signs of antisocial behaviour as a teenagershould parents be offered the possibility of having the kids examined? In a totalitarian state I could see this being mandated (and then the psychopaths could be recruited into the army to be snipers). Considering that psyscopathy is considered untreatable, then what could be done except watchful, very watchful, waiting?

ASnd what about testing candidates for president?

May 11, 2019

Sportswriter recounts a story of Trump shamelessly cheating at golf against a father and son

Trump ended up claiming the son’s golf ball as his own. Reilly recalls, “The son is like, ‘That’s my ball.’ But Trump’s caddie goes, ‘No, this is the president’s ball; your ball went in the water.’ Ted and his son look at each other confused, not sure if this is really happening. And Trump’s caddie says, ‘This is the president’s ball. I don’t know what to tell you.’ Trump makes that putt, wins one up, and declares himself the club champion.” 
Reilly explains that Trump’s actions in golf show how narcissistic he is, telling Illing, “He just wants to tell people he beat your ass. I asked a psychiatrist, and he said that someone with this kind of narcissism—which is really a personality disorder—they just can’t stand the idea that they’re not number one, that they’re not the best. So they have to make shit up.”

Trump was re-tweeting like crazy this morning, but he did manage one original tweet and it was the ecomonically nonsensical "Such an easy way to avoid Tariffs? Make or produce your goods and products in the good old USA. It's very simple!"  

Here it is with George Conway's comment:

May 10, 2019

Editorial Note:

I have been remiss in not using the attribution tag on the photos I have been using on my Daily Kos stories. I generally put attribution directly under the image instead of using the proper formatting.

I am also guilty of using copyrighted images fairly freely thinking it was permissible to manipulate them almost beyond recognition. I’ve been informed that Daily Kos has a license to use Getty Images with proper attribution.   However, even using a Getty picture and modifying such an image is probably taboo.

I am uncertain about whether it is legitimate to take a photo from the television and use it in a Daily Kos story (with attribution of course). I am fortunate that the inimicable DonkeyHotey makes caricatures which can be used with attribution.  There are thousands to choose from.

I am a terrible cartoonist, but that’s not the point. For example I remedied two violations from strict adherence to copyright from yesterday’s story so they should be up to snuff. The first barrel image I used to make the Sarah Sanders image was copyrighted. So I figured, how hard is it to draw one and take a photo of it and use InPixio software to put our beloved press secretary into it and draw a few boom microphones to get across the general idea.

You can click these images to enlarge them.

Even the break fire box  (left) which I orginally modified started with a copyrighted image so I made my own.

Now as you see from today's story I am working on drawing my own cartoons. Obvioulsy I don't have a career ahaed of me as a New Yorker cartoonist - one of my dreams when I was a kid. However I don't have to worry about breaking copyright law.

When you use Google images as I do you will find that nearly 95% of the images you may want to use are copyrighted. Creative Commons which has 300 million searchable images allows republishing images with attribiution.

It violates copyright laws to take a photo of the TV screen and put it on your website without permission and I am not about to bother doing this.

Some from websites like Shutterstock require a fee per image or a license based on the number of images you want to use. They are deceptive because they advertise that they have millions of royalty free images in their catalog butin fact they actually charge.

Based on a reading of this I think it is legal to use government photos, and to modify them at will since this should be considered making an editorial comment. Hence I think my version of President Trump’s official photo (above) is kosher. There are some exceptions, one is using the logo of a gevernment agency, something I have done in photoshops. I think it is legal to make a drawing of an agency logo however. Mine was made from a quick sketch enhanced with a program called BeFunky. It is crude but it gets the idea across.

Hallucinogenic psilocybin has a lot of potential as medicine, but we don’t know enough about it yet to legalize it.
May 8-9, 2019

Daily Kos is cracking down on using images that you don't have rights to, even if you manipulate them beyond recognition. They allow you to use Getty Images but even they don't want photo manipulation. DonkeyHotey allow use of his images. Even though my story isn''t on their page now I changed my images for practice. 

I think it is acceptable to use government images and change them, after all we paid for them, and the alterations would seem to come under editorial freedom, hence here's a version I made of Trump's official photo:

I found an interesting critique of it:

What’s so strange about Trump’s White House portrait? Experts explain. Vox

May 7, 2019

Axios Scoop: Senate Intel subpoenas Trump Jr. over Russia matters

Today's Daily Kos story Nascent Evil

New York Senate Passes Bill To Allow Release of Trump’s State Tax Returns

The bill, which would let Congress view the returns, now heads to the state assembly. The state information would mirror much of the federal tax figures.
Photoshopped by Hal Brown - click above for story

May 6, 2019
Story with a slight change to the photo

Today's tweet:
Caricature by DonkeyHotey


We make the same mistake of not acting on the ongoing threats to congressional oversight, to free and fair voting, and to foreign cyberattacks because an election might solve it at our peril. An election may well become the problem. Doing less than absolutely everything possible to reinstate the rule of law in America today in the hopes that there will be less election interference next time, or more benign election interference, or less purposive election interference, is insane.
This isn’t a joke. This is a full-fledged crisis of constitutional democracy and the checking function of Congress. It’s heartening to think that in a year and a half we can vote our way out of our predicament, but it’s a bit like suggesting that we have a good long national think about how things are currently going and tend to it all in 2020, when all the systems that were already broken in 2016 are more broken. If Democrats in the House seriously believe that the attorney general has covered up illegal activity and is refusing to accept congressional oversight, they should model seriousness. Which means that they should do something about it, beyond waiting for the problem to be voted away by large margins.
As Jennifer Rubin noted two weeks ago, Democrats have more than one possible response to Donald Trump’s illegal conduct at their disposal. There is no reason why they need to take any single one of them off the table, and there is certainly no reason why they should announce the plan to do so to the New York Times. Banking on an elections system that is being warped before our eyes is a recipe for disaster, and it’s a lesson that should have been learned by now.

The challenge Pelosi faces is the same challenge faced by Mueller, and by Eric Holder. Elections matter, and getting out the vote in 2020 matters. But the Rule of Law still matters, and we shouldn’t abandon it because this small problem of Donald Trump might go away in 2020. The fact is that this problem might not go away in 2020, though by then, the argument that obstruction itself is an impeachable offense will have been lost to us. That’s all the more reason to fight for the rule of law today, as if it were sliding away. Because it is sliding away. That isn’t something the country should wait to vote on. The country already knows it is true.
My background added
EXCERPT: Ivanka Trump got trademarks from the Chinese government. Jared Kushner feted would-be lenders at the White House. The federal government disregarded the provision in the Trump International Hotel in Washington’s government lease, which says no “elected official . . . shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease.” On Monday evening, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods, a sometimes Trump business associate. On top of this, political parties, campaigns, foreign governments, lobbyists and federal agencies have funneled tens of millions of dollars to Trump properties.

And yet, all these reparations payments have been insufficient; Trump still feels aggrieved and wronged. A bolder gesture is needed.

I propose, therefore, the mother of all emoluments: $10 billion. That’s the amount Trump has said he’s worth but is more than triple his estimated worth . Divided among all Hillary Clinton voters, it’s only about $150 per person — and that’s before George Soros’s subsidies. In further compensation, Trump would be awarded the title he has envied since it was given to China’s Xi Jinping: “president for life.”
In exchange, Trump would agree to stop being the actual president, to delete his Twitter account and to retire to Mar-a-Lago, which would be renamed — and I’m just picking a couple of names at random here — Elba or St. Helena.

Maybe then, once Trump feels he’s been made whole, the rest of us can finally heal.

How Trump's rhetoric fuels anti-Semitic violence: Tim Wise on "radical Christian terrorism"

Anti-racism activist on Trump's anti-Semitism problem: His supposed love of Israel "does not protect American Jews"

On the most basic level white privilege consists of the unearned advantages that those individuals who are defined as "white" in America and other societies enjoy, measured relative to and against other people.

White privilege manifests itself in many ways. Sometimes this is obvious: institutional discrimination in housing, hiring and employment, as well as divergent levels of political power. Sometimes this is subtle: subconscious and implicit bias; "microaggressions"; cultural norms and double standards which are unfair to those people not considered white.

Ultimately, the age of Donald Trump has been a triumph for white privilege in its many forms.

A week or so ago, white privilege was omnipresent, loud, and unapologetic on the American national stage in ways that few reasonable people could deny. On Saturday there was an attack on a Jewish synagogue by a neo-Nazi terrorist in Poway, California. One person was killed and several others injured. Because he is a white man, this neo-Nazi terrorist of course became the subject of sympathetic profiles by mainstream journalists seeking to understand how such a "religious" young person from a "devout Christian" home could allegedly commit such horrible crimes.

On that same Saturday, a group of neo-Nazis targeted Dr. Jonathan Metzl while he gave a talk at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington on his new book "Dying of Whiteness." On the previous day, Donald Trump had continued to tell shameless lies about the Charlottesville riot of 2017, during which Heather Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi. In a crude and gross channeling of white identity politics, Trump continues to insist that the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who ran amok in Charlottesville are "very fine people" who were really only concerned about saving a statue of Robert E. Lee, who could be viewed as the leader of a breakaway white supremacist army.

May 5, 2019
Evening tweet:

“Ask not whether Trump is good for the Jews,
ask whether he is good for mankind.”


Many Israelis believe that while Adolf Hitler was the worst enemy of the Jews in all of world history, Donald Trump is the greatest friend of the Jews in American presidential history. Israelis also take it for granted that all the Jews of the world constitute “the Jewish people,” despite the fact that most Jews outside Israel do not see it that way. Let us examine this situation more closely.
In a previous post I have diagnosed U.S. President Donald Trump as suffering from a borderline personality disorder. Some mental heath professionals believe that Trump suffers from an anti-social personality disorder, psychopathy, sociopathy,  malignant narcissism, and other labels out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. To my mind, quibbling about diagnoses is less important than understanding what goes on inside the mind of the man who has the power to destroy or civilization, or earth, and our species.
.                          .

Just as the Germans adapted themselves to Hitler’s warped world, many Americans have adapted themselves to Trump’s abnormal behavior as if it were normal. Trump’s emotional instability, the intense narcissistic rage that overwhelms him over and over again, his inability to suffer any public shame or humiliation, his profound need to hurt others and to humiliate them, his inability to brook any opposition to his will, and, above all, the fact that he believes he has a “bigger nuclear button” than that of Kim Jong-un of North Korea, as he “tweeted” in early January 2018, make him far more dangerous to our species and to our world than Hitler. The German F├╝hrer brought about the deaths of dozens of millions of people; the 45th U.S. president can bring about the deaths of hundreds of thousands, even millions, and even all mankind, if he unleashes what he called “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”[16]
Collective denial is very dangerous. We saw its tragic consequences in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, in which 2,656 Israelis were killed and some nine thousand wounded, let alone the countless cases of post-traumatic stress disorder which destroy the lives of individual victims and their families. Our fantasies of all the Jews of the world being one people, and of Israel as a world power, are defensive self-deception. For all its nuclear weapons (“according to foreign sources”), Israel is a tiny country, surrounded by a sea of hostile Arabs, that depends on the United States for its economic and military survival. U.S. President John Kennedy said, “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Perhaps we need to tell ourselves, “Ask not whether Trump is good for the Jews, ask whether he is good for mankind.”

Psychiatrists Say Mueller Report Offers More Proof Of Trump’s Unfitness (mostly repeats what has been written before however HuffPost is a major website)

Trying to fire Mueller despite the clear downside shows the president can’t rationally process risk, a new study states.


The statement — signed by myriad former career government employees as well as high-profile political appointees — offers a rebuttal to Attorney General William P. Barr’s determination that the evidence Mueller uncovered was “not sufficient” to establish that Trump committed a crime.
Mueller had declined to say one way or the other whether Trump should have been charged, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that sitting presidents cannot be indicted, as well as concerns about the fairness of accusing someone for whom there can be no court proceeding.
“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice,” the former federal prosecutors wrote.

“We emphasize that these are not matters of close professional judgment,” they added. “Of course, there are potential defenses or arguments that could be raised in response to an indictment of the nature we describe here. . . . But, to look at these facts and say that a prosecutor could not probably sustain a conviction for obstruction of justice — the standard set out in Principles of Federal Prosecution — runs counter to logic and our experience.”

Every Leader Needs Some Narcissism, So How Do We Know When It Turns Dangerous? Forbes

James Reston:

As Nixon learned, Congress will not abide a president who defies its subpoenas.
On July 30, 1974, nine days before President Richard Nixon resigned, the House Judiciary Committee added a third article to its impeachment charges against the president. The first two had dealt with obstruction of justice and abuse of power; Article III charged that Nixon had failed to comply with eight congressional subpoenas related to the Watergate investigation.

Now, with President Trump and William Barr, his attorney general, refusing to cooperate with congressional investigations, the Democrats in the House should take yet another lesson from Watergate. They are reportedly already preparing impeachment articles on obstruction of justice; they should add failure to comply with Congress to the list.
Trump got a lot of Twitter blowback from this tweet which you can read here. Here's mine.

May 4, 2019:

Hal, pushing the Twitter limits
and, okay, hoping I can get another tweet to go viral

Maureen Dowd: 
Sorry, James Comey. You’re wrong again.
Donald Trump does not eat “your soul in small bites,” as you wrote in a Times Op-Ed. He devours the entire thing in one big gulp....... 
Mueller’s trust in Barr led him to miss the moment when Trump gobbled up the attorney general’s soul like a midnight snack — in one bite.
Bill Weld: The best un-Trumpian Republican quote (perhaps ever)

Weld’s lonely challenge to Trump may get less lonely by year’s end. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, speaking in New Hampshire last week, said he’s considering a primary challenge to Trump but sees no rush, with the filing deadline in November. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich, who came in second to Trump in the 2016 New Hampshire GOP primary, hasn’t ruled out a run. Nor has Corker, who told a Harvard Kennedy School audience this week that he’s in no rush to decide. Weld, perhaps surprisingly, is eager for some competition. He says he’s invited Hogan and Kasich to join him in the race. 

Why then, I asked, is he the best candidate to take on Trump? “I don’t know that I am the best,” Weld says. “I think I’m adequate to the task.”

From The Hill, an analysis of Trump's maligant narcissism, but not in those exact words:

Trump never transitioned away from campaign rhetoric


  • That Trump is always campaigning explains why his rhetoric is addressed only to his base. He is always trying to win their adoration, their loyalty and — most of all — their vote. Given Trump’s obvious insecurities and narcissism, he seemingly needs constant affirmation.
  • To his base, whose support is uncritical, unreflective and unwavering, it is an easy choice. After all, Trump spends considerable time demonizing, dehumanizing and otherwise degrading the alternatives. Every issue and every decision is framed as a choice between Trump and his target. Pick Trump or an invading horde? Pick Trump or a lowlife criminal? Pick Trump or the lying, deceitful, fake media? Pick Trump or the deep state? There is no complexity in Trump’s rhetoric. You are either for him, or you are for the boogeymen he creates. 
  • Understanding Trump’s formula does not explain why it is so effective though. Trump is rhetorically effective because he appeals primarily to emotion rather than logic — and it is hard to resist our emotions. His preferred emotion is hatred, and Trump is very skilled at evoking it. Trump seems to project his worst qualities onto his targets. This is why he loves to call others bigots, stupid and losers

May 3, 2019

Click above to watch video

Democrats preview post-Trump plan: Executive orders

But with Republicans favored to maintain control of the Senate in 2020 — and a new norm taking root after three successive administrations that aggressively wielded executive orders to make policy — Democratic candidates for president are starting to point more frequently to the ambitious things they’ll ram through on their own.

For example:

  • Releasing his plan to address climate change on Monday, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) topped his announcement with a pledge to take executive action to re-join the Paris climate agreement and enact regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) pledged during a CNN town hall to take executive action on gun control within her first 100 days if Congress does not adopt sweeping legislation.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), promised that on her first day in office she would sign an executive order “that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands.”
  • One of his opponents: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democratic candidate for president who promised in a prepared statement “to challenge any attempt by the administration to illegally constrain Washington’s authority to protect our state’s natural resources."


Malignant personality is often accompanied by an extraordinary sense of entitlement, Haycock said — the belief that one has the right to, and deserves, better treatment than others. The psychologically entitled crave admiration and praise, and often “demean, insult and begin vendettas against news organizations which ask hard questions or publish critical stories.”
Other dark traits include (to compress a bit) extreme self interest, callousness, emotional deficits, lack of empathy and pathological sadism — taking pleasure in the abuse of others. Finally, and arguably most central to this dark personality, is narcissism — “extreme self-absorption accompanied by an unrealistic, inflated image of oneself.” Serious features of pathological narcissism include harmful, petty and vindictive responses to any criticism or threat to the narcissist’s “over-inflated, fragile self-image.”
Despite Trump’s shadowy presence here, this was not meant to be a book about the president. Haycock says that, when he first outlined his project, he didn’t intend to include any American presidents in his analysis.
But in the end, he devotes a third of the book to a history of homegrown tyranny, and to the current president in particular. Trump comes across as a poster boy for malignant personality, overshadowing all the other historical dictators, whose profiles seem skimpy by comparison.
But does this mean the president is mentally ill — as some psychiatrists have publicly argued — or unfit for office?
Haycock hedges his bets a bit more than many readers will like on this pressing, overarching question, deferring mostly to other psychological profilers and mental health specialists.
He takes pains to distinguish between a narcissistic personality profile, on the one hand, and narcissistic personality disorder, a much more serious and threatening condition. There are many, mostly harmless, people who engage in “everyday narcissism,” he contends, but they rarely have a full-blown psychiatric disorder.
Similarly, most experts would not label Trump psychotic. Unlike someone with schizophrenia, for example, he does not hallucinate a separate reality, even if he does insist on an alternative set of facts. Nor is he legally insane. He knows right from wrong, even if he rejects many commonly held moral standards. What’s more, Trump does not appear distressed by any of his own dark traits. We may not like his maddening egotism and manipulative behavior, but such “Trumpism” does not appear in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual.
Haycock considers Trump’s professional success significant. He has benefited from his malignant traits again and again for a long time, and he has not “decompensated” under the extreme stress of the Oval Office. “Decompensation” is psychiatric jargon: The fact that he has not decompensated means he has not descended into madness. He is pretty much the same disagreeable person he has always been.
But as Haycock seems to conclude, that in itself does not mean he isn’t bad — or bad for the country. Moral impairment is not madness, nor is it certifiable mental illness. But it’s still impairment, and worrisome.
The author concludes: “His narcissism guarantees that he will always look out for himself first and last. Donald Trump’s only loyalty is to Donald Trump. He is a successful man trapped in narcissism. Now, to a considerable degree, the nation is, too.”
Food for Thought: 

Do Holocaust Stories Belong on Instagram?

Eva Stories wants to tell the Holocaust’s history to the smartphone generation.

May 2, 2019

Click above for story
In what was perhaps the most dramatic moment of Barr's appearance before the Senate committee, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Barr whether anyone in the White House had asked him to open an investigation of anyone. Clearly taken aback, Barr stuttered and stammered, asking her to repeat the question, obviously desperate to buy time to figure out an answer.
They don't have to ask. Trump has said publicly that he wants the "evil people" who investigated him to be investigated. He's tweeted dozens of times that "Crooked Hillary" should be in jail. Fox News reported this just last week:
President Trump told Fox News' "Hannity" in a wide-ranging interview Thursday night that Attorney General Bill Barr is handling the "incredible" and "big" new revelations that Ukrainian actors apparently leaked damaging information about then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to help Hillary Clinton's campaign.
As the New York Times has reported, this is actually a right-wing hit job orchestrated by Rudy Giuliani and aimed at Joe Biden, whose son Hunter has been working with Ukrainians.  This sort of thing is par for the course with Republicans, of course. (Recall the bogus Uranium One and Clinton Foundation stories, orchestrated by Steve Bannon, with which major newspapers smeared Clinton during the 2016 campaign.) But this time it may be different.
Lindsey Graham will undoubtedly take his investigation wherever Trump needs it to go. He will almost certainly "follow up" on this Ukrainian angle. What's more concerning is the fact that Barr appears ready to put the Justice Department to work to help the Trump campaign, which is exactly what the right-wing fever swamp accuses the FBI of doing for Clinton.
But then, self-awareness isn't exactly Barr's strong suit. In what was perhaps his most fatuous comment of his testimony on Wednesday, he proclaimed, “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon" — this as he defended the man whose ecstatic followers' favorite refrain is "Lock her up!"

A new brain study shows a better way to engage voters on climate change - call it a climate crisis

Former Watergate prosecutor - he just makes things up (read story)

“President Trump just makes things up,” he said. “We had total access to everything in Watergate. The idea that what is going on now is unprecedented is just false.”
He also said that he doubted McGahn would actually resist a Congressional subpoena like Trump wants because “he’s going to have to testify or go to jail.”
He then finished up by saying Trump seems to completely lack an understanding about the actual powers he’s been given under the United States Constitution.
“President Trump says, ‘I won’t let him testify’ — it’s not for President Trump to decide whether he will let a witness testify, now a private citizen, before a house of Congress,” he said. “They are equal branches of the government and they could subpoena him and have him testify without the permission of the president… I just think the president has an exaggerated view of his status and powers.”
May 1, 2019
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Click above to read story
Excerpt: Barr is scared. He should, because Democrats do not seem to be messing around. In private caucus, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly told her colleagues that they saw Barr "commit a crime" by lying about the nature of his communications with Mueller — a lie that was exposed by Tuesday's leak and which became the focal point of Wednesday's hearing.
Barr has put himself in an untenable position, in between risking perjury charges for lying to Congress or risking contempt citations for not showing up at all. For now, he's betting that the latter path is the less risky one.
For some reason, option No. 3 — resigning and returning to his comfortable retirement, as helpfully suggested on Wednesday by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii — is off the table, even though it would probably make all of Barr's problems go away.
Perhaps the man whom conservative columnist William Safire described years ago as the "cover-up general" sees working for Trump as the ultimate professional challenge. Pulling off a cover-up for a man as thoroughly and shamelessly corrupt as this guy would be the Sistine Chapel, the Beethoven's Fifth, the "Hamlet" of cover-ups. All other cover-up artists would stand in awe at the feat. While Barr might be remembered as a villain by history, he would, like Joseph Goebbels before him, still be known as a man who excelled at evil propaganda.
Unfortunately for Barr, the task might be too big for even the most genius-y of evil geniuses, if his sweaty performance on Wednesday is any indication. Now he and his co-conspirators are  moving on to phase two: Stonewall and try to see if you can trick people into thinking it's anything but stonewalling.

Barr’s remarks are unlikely to meet the legal requirements to make out a case of perjury or even a false statement to Congress. However, impeachment need not be based on a crime. Pelosi says, in essence, his conduct in misleading Congress disqualifies him from office; the remedy, if one believes that, is impeachment.
The case for impeach will grow exponentially stronger if the House subpoenas him, he refuses to appear and the House issues a contempt citation. No Republicans are likely to join, but Democrats are on sound constitutional ground. We cannot have a president who believes he is above investigation advised by an attorney general who believes he is above congressional subpoena power.

Impeachment proceedings for Barr should be seriously considered, if for no other reason than it will help lay the predicate for possible impeachment hearings for Trump. It buys time. It educates the public. He will be a blot on his record and his most noteworthy “accomplishment.” And if we want to maintain our constitutional system, it’s a necessity.

Let’s see if Barr blinks and agrees to show. If not, Democrats should have at it.

My tweet to Rep. Steven Cohen:

If you Google my name and Trump this is what you get (click to enlarge)

April 31, 2019 
Quote: “The American people know that you are no different from Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway or any of the other people who sacrificed their once-decent reputation for the grifter and liar who sits in the Oval Office,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), one of four senators who called on Barr to resign. from HuffPost
Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive this president.
Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.
But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.
It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

‘Freudian slip’: Barr makes it clear during Senate testimony that he’s working for Trump — not the American people - it didn't go unnoticed.

Too bad Durbin didn't follow up with "what do you mean 'we'" ... 
Also from Dick Durbin:
“I’ve been listening carefully to my Republican colleagues and it appears they’re going to work together and coordinate the so-called ‘lock her up defense.’ This is not supposed to be about the Mueller investigation, the Russian involvement in the election, the Trump campaign and so forth,” he said sarcastically. “It’s about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Finally we get down to the bottom line. Hillary Clinton’s emails and questions have to be asked about Benghazi and TravelGate, Whitewater – there’s a lot of material we should be going through today according to their response to this.” Taking a more serious tone, Durbin added: “That is totally unresponsive to the reality about what the American people want to know.”

I have to wonder just how confident Attorney General William Barr is. Does he regret kissing up to Donald Trump? Does he think he went too far? Or is he happy as a clam?

See below
Someone put this photoshop on as a comment to the tweet: