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September 16, 2019

Hal Brown Sept. 15 - 2019

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Sept. 30, 2019


Welcome to “Stupid Watergate”

John Oliver’s formulation has applied for years. But there’s one critical distinction between Trump and Nixon that will make this whole experience much stranger.

Amanda Marcotte along similar lines but with a different conclusion than Dahlia Lithwick in article above: Does Donald Trump really believe all those conspiracy theories? Depends what you mean by "believe"

Don't swallow Trump's claims to believe every nutso conspiracy theory. He's playing dumb to get what he wants


The New York Times team clearly prefers the theory that Trump is a dupe rather than a deceiver. They write that "former [White House] aides said separately on Sunday that the president had a particular weakness for conspiracy theories involving Ukraine," and emphasize that Trump prefers to hear from people who are peddling such theories instead of those who are sharing actual evidence gathered by intelligence services.
This analysis from the Times is no surprise. From the get-go, Haberman in particular has touted the narrative that Trump's stupidity is more explanatory than Trump's malice, which also happens to be the same narrative her typically anonymous White House sources favor. There's considerable reason to be skeptical of this narrative, which also happens to be the one that's most advantageous to Trump and those who work for him.
It may seem weird to argue that Trump-the-moron is a narrative that benefits the president, but in fact that works for him — and especially the people under him — better than the narrative that he knows exactly what he's doing. Stupidity removes considerable moral culpability from both Trump and his advisers.

Page views: There are even more from Romania today (see below). It occurred to me that since Romania borders Ukraine to the north it is possible some of readers there actually log on from servers in Romania.


Sept. 29, 2019

Click image to enlarge
There has been a major shift in blog page views - Russia is no longer at number two - Romania followed by Iran pushed them out of 2nd place.

Above- watch video

Wallace also repeatedly pressed Miller on why the president had enlisted his personal attorney, .... 

Rudy Giuliani, to get information on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son's dealings in Ukraine.

“The president has got the State Department, he’s got the CIA, he’s got the Pentagon he’s got a number of other agencies, why did he use three private lawyers to get information on Biden?” Wallace asked.
Miller demurred on that question as well as Wallace’s questions on why the White House delayed military aid to Ukraine, citing political corruption, despite the Pentagon certifying steps the nation had taken to address corruption.
Wallace eventually called Miller’s answers an “exercise in obfuscation,” while the White House official shot back, saying there was “a tone of judgment” in Wallace’s questions, and accusing the whistleblower of being a “Deep State operative.”
“The president of the United States is the whistleblower and this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government,” Miller said, saying he agreed with Trump's characterization of the whistleblower as "close to a spy."

‘Where are the indictments?’ Fox News host forced to yell at unhinged Giuliani to get answers about Ukraine

Related: Click above
We’ve got to get to what you’re doing,” Bartiromo said after four minutes of Giuliani attacking Biden. “You are President Trump’s personal attorney. Why are you having all these meetings with Ukrainian officials?”

“That’s what you do as a defense attorney,” Giuliani replied. “Did you ever watch Perry Mason? Perry Mason goes and investigates who really did the murder… We know who really did the murder but the police won’t listen to us.”

As the interview continued, Bartiromo had to raise her voice to get Giuliani’s attention.

“I didn’t work with anybody to try to get dirt on Joe Biden,” he insisted at one point. 

“The dirt on Joe Biden was handed to me by the Ukrainians, amazed that the FBI hadn’t asked for this a year earlier, completely shocked and worried that our system of justice was flawed.”

“But, Rudy, the bottom line is you’re not getting that on the Democrat side, and they are in charge,” Bartiromo observed.

“I don’t care about the Democrats!” Giuliani exclaimed.

“Where are the indictments?” Bartiromo pressed. “Where are the prosecutions for the people who actually did wrongdoing in the 2016 elections?”

"That is a very good question, and that’s the question we should keep asking,” Giuliani said. “And the reality is before they start criticizing me, the question should be what have they done about it? Where’s the Republican Senate investigating extremely serious charges about the former vice president?”

“Yeah,” the Fox News host agreed.

Sept. 28, 2019

Blast from the past, by my friend psychoanalyst Howard Covitz Sept 28, 2016:


"...Trump is even less circumspect, disciplined and rational than usual. And why wouldn’t he be? He may well be only the third president impeached and has a shot at being the first removed. Surely he must see the walls closing in and the potential for removal, prosecution and, worst of all for a first-class narcissist, humiliation. He was so thickheaded he didn’t even realize what was incriminatingHe was so foolish as to take advice from the equally unhinged Giuliani. There is little doubt he will be regarded as one of the worst if not the worst president in history. As that rolls around in his weary brain, he is likely to become more self-destructive, antagonistic and downright crazy. All of that makes it that much easier for Republicans to abandon him." Jennifer Rubin


Sept. 27, 2019 

Read the new emoji story: 🍑 the 🍊

My Daily Kos story:

Was the NYTimes right?
Click above to enlarge


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If Trump gets away with his apparent extortion and bribery of Ukraine to go after Joe Biden, what comes next?
Who knows? What would Donald Trump do? What would he do against a political opponent? Would Donald Trump have a foreign government try to assassinate a political opponent? I don't know. For example, we don't know what has happened in many of the phone calls that Donald Trump has had with Saudi Arabia, a country that's willing to take a journalist out of an embassy in pieces. We don't know what's happened with Donald Trump’s calls with Vladimir Putin. This is a very dangerous situation.

Rahm Emanuel coined the term Fucknutsville under Obama, what can we call it now?


Sept. 26, 2019

Two minutes ago I checked Trump's tweets - read my Daily Kos story.


Another Reason duty to warn therapists like me say Trump is a sadistic malignant narcissist: “I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” NY Times Trump speaking to about 50 members of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. Several people in the room laughed at this. 


Here are seven of the most damning pieces of evidence revealed by the whistleblower complaint filed with the intelligence community’s inspector general.

1. White House officials were immediately alarmed by the July 25 call, which was witnessed by about a dozen officials described as policy officials and duty officers. They were concerned because the officials believed “they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain.”

2. The complaint says “more than a dozen U.S. officials” had notified the whistleblower of various facts related to Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pressing a foreign country to investigate his “main domestic rival.” The inspector general cites public comments about those efforts made by both Trump and Giuliani, who is described as a “central figure in this effort.”

3. White House lawyers directed White House officials to “remove the electronic transcript from the computer system in which such transcripts are typically stored” and place the word-for-word account on a server typically reserved for highly classified information, according to the complaint. The inspector general says that transcript did not contain any sensitive information from a national security standpoint.

4. White House officials said this was “not the first time” that a presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system to shield politically sensitive information.

5. Trump’s part-time envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, went to Kiev the day after the call to meet with Zelenskyy to provide advice to the foreign government on how to “navigate” the president’s demands.

6. Giuliani then met with senior advisers to Ukraine’s president after the call to discuss how to move the investigation forward. Multiple U.S. officials said the president and his associates made clear to the Ukrainian president that he needed to “play ball” if he wanted to get the military aid Congress had approved.
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7. The inspector general, in a footnote, was bewildered by the president’s belief in a conspiracy theory linking Ukraine to Crowdstrike and the DNC servers. “I do not know why president associates these servers with Ukraine,” the inspector general says, citing Trump’s July 20 comments about Crowdstrike on Fox News.


Sept. 25, 2019

Talked about incompetence

Amanda Marcotte has an excellent article in Salon, 

Will Republicans dump Trump? Nope — they'll cover up for him until the bitter end, 

but she also has the book with the best title of the year:

Click above for Amazon reviews

Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself 

Sept. 24, 2019

Tweet of the night. Click to enlarge.

Philosopher and Holocaust expert who literally wrote the book on evil: Trump fits the profile


At least in one country the Supreme Court did the right thing. 


Sept. 23, 2019

Retweeted by John Gartner's Duty to Warn:

Sept. 22, 2019

My Sunday story is about science, so this story fits right in 

As The Amazon Burns, Brazil’s Best Ally In Climate Denial Is The United States

Presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have forged a nationalist alliance based on the idea that climate change is a hoax.
OpEd you probably missed: How the past informs Trump’s vision of America’s future
2 hours ago

Legal showdown looms over Trump's New York trial deposition order


Fox News Watch 

Giuliani, Fox's Roberts clash on appropriateness of Ukraine contacts


The Right’s Latest Attack on Academic Freedom Might Actually Work

Betsy DeVos’ criticism of a Middle East studies program follows a familiar playbook.


Sept. 21,2019

Sept. 20 2019

------My story today--------

Last night Lawrence Tribe had the last word: It's treachery if not treason.

“He violates the emoluments clauses, he enriches himself at the expense of American taxpayers, he takes money from foreign governments in order to benefit himself, he bends policy in the direction of those governments, whether it’s Saudi Arabia or another country, to enhance his own wealth,” Tribe told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

“And now, we understand, he may have been making some kind of deal with Ukraine, perhaps to get information of a negative kind about Joe Biden’s son in exchange for aid to Ukraine,” he added, in reference to a report in The Washington Post last week.
“It’s treachery if not treason and it’s bribery and it’s unacceptable,” he said


‘Bats**t Crazy’: Twitter Users Shred Rudy Giuliani’s CNN Antics (about Ukraine)

....seriously, frighteningly, dangerously unstable..... By Robert Reich:
I think we have to face the truth that no one seems to want to admit. This is no longer a case of excessive narcissism or grandiosity. We’re not simply dealing with an unusually large ego.
The president of the United States is seriously, frighteningly, dangerously unstable. And he’s getting worse by the day.

Such a person in the Oval Office can do serious damage.

What to do? We can vote him out of office in 14 months’ time. But he could end the world in seven and a half seconds.

There’s also the question of whether he’ll willingly leave.

Can you imagine the lengths he will go to win? Will he get Russia to do more dirty work? Instruct the Justice Department to arrest his opponent? Issue an executive order banning anyone not born in the U.S. from voting? Start another war?  Read story here.

Sept.19, 2019

I rewrote my Kos story because nobody was reading it. I doubt many will read this either but I thought it was worth a try.

The high bar for a whistle blower - three things that would meet the standard: 

"The first, of course, is that President Trump did something for his own personal gain. The second is that he was willing to cede control or direction of an intelligence operation to another country. And then the third, of course, is some disclosure of sources and methods of a covert action. Almost nothing else is going to rise to the level of grave concern.” Terrorism expert Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa and former Department of Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem 

Click above

Sept. 18, 2019

New National Security Advisor called Trump ‘greatest hostage negotiator in history.’

He auditioned. He got the job. His major only qualification: he's a Trump sycophant. No surprise here. HB


Corey Lewandowski's stonewall campaign finally crumbles: Are impeachment counts coming?

Trump's onetime campaign manager strutted and preened — and then got dismantled by the Democrats' lawyer


But Berke (the House Democratic lawyer) teased out another colorful detail that has passed unnoticed. Despite the White House order that Lewandowski shouldn't speak of any conversations with the president other than those specifically referenced in the Mueller report, it turns out that he has written a couple of books one of which is called "Let Trump Be Trump: The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency." It features many conversations with the president, which the White House apparently had no objections to publishing. One of the anecdotes has Trump suggesting to Lewandowski that he might join the administration at the level of Jared Kushner to run the Russia 2016 election interference investigation.

As Berke went on with his relentless fusillade of questions, Lewandowski became increasingly distressed.  He had repeatedly claimed that he had never read the Mueller report. 

As Berke's 30 minutes were almost done, he asked Lewandowski whether he took the report lightly, reminding him that he had been autographing copies of the report just last week, while joking that he couldn't sign every page where his name appeared because there were too many of them. Lewandowski became upset and said:
I'm outraged at your characterization of my statements. Never have I said that, never have I called into question the validity of the Mueller Report or alluded to the fact that I wanted Russia to interfere ...
Every time one of the principal figures confirms the Mueller report, another impeachment count gets its wings.

Whereas Lewandowski had been cocky and derisive toward the members in the early session, he was crumbling after 30 minutes of solid questioning designed to show him as the weasel he is. It was the most effective line of questioning we've seen in a hearing in ages and it shows how important it is that Democrats allow staff lawyers to interrogate the witnesses rather than having members of Congress get cut off after five minutes, only to move on to another questioner from the other side and a completely different subject.

Sept. 17, 2019


Sept. 16, 2016

Critics slam Trump’s ‘pathological obsession’ with Obama — and what it reveals about his ‘disturbing’ psyche

(CNN legal analyst Asha Rangappa) One of the most interesting and disturbing aspects of Trump’s psyche is his envy. Envy arises when we feel we aren’t getting to recognition we deserve: It’s based in fear of a threat to our social position. She added: “Envy and jealousy are related emotions, but different: Jealousy arises when we fear a threat to our personal relationships. It’s rooted more in a sense of betrayal or deceit, rather than a lack of recognition from others (Trump has both, but in this case I’d say it’s envy).”

Tara Setmeyer, another CNN contributor, pointed out Rangappa’s explanation in light of Trump’s tweets on Monday.

“Trump’s pathological obsession with Obama and his Netflix deal explained perfectly by the great [Asha Rangappa],” she wrote. “It’s all about ENVY. Insecurity. Narcissism.”

Related - from 2017 Chicago Tribune: 

Did the 2011 White House correspondents' dinner spur Trump to run for president?

Watch video:

Click above

Trump is seriously, frighteningly unstable – the world is in danger, Robert Reich

Sept. 15, 2019

#ImpeachKavanaugh is trending on Twitter. I have done my bit by making and tweeting this photoshop.

Quote without comment: “Americans, the Congress, they work for you. And they’re wasting your money and your time trying to impeach a president where there are no high crimes and misdemeanors. Stop the nonsense of harassing and embarrassing this president and the people around him when you have no constitutional or legal basis to do so.” Kellyanne Conway on Fox News

Click above

Take a break from Trump

Sept.14, 2019

Click above to read story

Sept. 13, 2019


A Body Language Expert On What He Saw During the Debate.


 Something to think about:

Election 2020: A full year of Trump and Biden babbling at each other? Please, let's not by Amanda Marcotte

Trump and Biden both sound increasingly incoherent. Democrats still have a chance to nominate someone else.


A disturbing four minute video about the cruelty of Trump and many of his supporters.


My Daily Kos story:
Click above to read
Click above to read
The article above has this quote from Psychologist Erich Fromm, author of the seminal book on authoritarianism, "Escape From Freedom" explains the orientation: 
The passive-authoritarian, or in other words, the masochistic and submissive character aims — at least subconsciously — to become a part of a larger unit, a pendant, a particle, at least a small one, of this "great" person, this "great" institution, or this "great" idea. The person, institution, or idea may actually be significant, powerful, or just incredibly inflated by the individual believing in them. What is necessary, is that — in a subjective manner — the individual is convinced that "his" leader, party, state, or idea is all-powerful and supreme, that he himself is strong and great, that he is a part of something "greater." The paradox of this passive form of the authoritarian character is: the individual belittles himself so that he can — as part of something greater — become great himself. The individual wants to receive commands, so that he does not have the necessity to make decisions and carry responsibility.
We should note that it was Fromm who formulated the personality type he called malignant narcissism. Many duty to warn therapists like myself consider Trump to be the exemplar for malignant narcissism.


Below: A Daily Kos story is by a duty to warn associate of mine, Armond Aserinsky, Ph.D. 

Click above

At a mid-August fundraiser in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Ivanka Trump was asked to name the personality traits she inherited most from her parents.

Without much of a pause, Trump told the crowd of roughly 120 high-end donors that her mother gave her an example of how to be a powerful, successful woman.

And her father? He passed onto her his moral compass, she said, according to two event attendees.

And the Internet is flabbergasted

The Devil made me tweet this:

Photoshop by Hal Brown


Jennifer Rubin writes about....

My photoshop (Why? Because I can.)

On Friday, a Second Circuit appeals court revived a lawsuit filed by businesses that claim President Trump’s unconstitutional receipt of foreign emoluments negatively impacted their business. This is the second emoluments lawsuit that is back on track, the other brought by more than two hundred members of Congress

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of the litigants, released a statement, which read in part: “If President Trump would like to avoid the case going further and curtail the serious harms caused by his unconstitutional conduct, now would be a good time to divest from his businesses and end his violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution.”
The Second Circuit explained, “Plaintiffs allege that they have been and will be injured because foreign and domestic government entities that patronize Washington, D.C. and New York hotels, restaurants, and event spaces patronize Trump establishments (in preference to Plaintiffs’ establishments) in the hope of enriching the President and earning a reward from him through official Presidential action favorable to their governments, and that such enrichment of the President by foreign and domestic government entities violates the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses.”