September 13, 2023

Loudmouth Legislators in House GOP on Dynamite Fishing Expedition

By Hal Brown

Disclaimer: I have only fished once in my life. It was as a teen when a friend and I rode our bikes to Twin Lakes in New York's Westchester County and using a worm and a lead weight I actually caught a bottom feeding 8 inch catfish. I threw it back.

"There is a colloquial legal term for McCarthy’s approach: It’s a fishing expedition" is a line from in David French's opinion column "Where's the evidence, Speaker McCarthy" in the New York Times (subscription).

I discovered dynamite fishing is a "thing" which you can read about if you look up "blast fishing" on Wikipedia. This is really the approach the House GOP is taking.

From Wiki: Blast fishing, fish bombing, dynamite fishing or grenade fishing is a destructive fishing practice using explosives to stun or kill schools of fish for easy collection. This often illegal practice is extremely destructive to the surrounding ecosystem, as the explosion often destroys the underlying habitat (such as coral reefs) that supports the fish. The frequently improvised nature of the explosives used, and undetonated charges, means danger for fishermen and divers as well, with accidents and injuries.

Fishing is generally a quiet endeavor, often contemplative pastime. Unless someone is trolling or using large nets, it is methological and anything but random. The term "fishing expedition" is a misnomer because it has nothing to do with real fishing for actual fish:

Fishing expidition meaning is an open-ended inquiry or investigation, often undertaken on the pretext of a minor or unrelated matter, whose real purpose is to uncover embarrassing or damaging information, as about a political opponent. Reference.

Those who have boats with giant motors make a lot of noise getting to their favorite fishing spots, but what they get there silence is de rigueur. Those who fish with flies, often tying them themselves, take pride in finessing the the fish and casting their fly to precisely where they think the fish are.

Would it be that the House GOP members merely made attention grabbing noise on their way to their fishing spot and then shut the hell up. No, they are intent on making as much noise as possible competeting to get the most attention.

Strategically, as I wrote yesterday in "Split screen: Impeachment is all about counter-programming against Georgia trial" the impeachment is an attempt to give the media something else to report on besides the upcoming trials. On an individual level it provides a megaphone for the egomaniacs to scream "look at me" as loudly as they possibly can. 

Who will end up winning the coveted Oscar as the loudest loudmouth in the House GOP? The oddsmakers probably have the victor being Marjorie Taylor Greene who is clamoring for credit being the first to push for the impeachment (but I don't know if she's going to be on the committee) edging out Matt Gaetz but Jim Jordan is probably waiting for the inquiry to start practicing his  growling gym-coach grilling for when he gets Hunter Biden to testify. Kevin McCarthy selected Jim Comer to lead the impeachment inquiry and Jim Jordan and Jason Smith of Missouri to assist in helming the inquiry (reference).

While on the subject of Marjorie MAGA Megaphone Taylor Greene, I begrudgingly give her credit for using this photo on her X page:

I am sure GOP House members are desperate to get on whatever committee is doing the inquiry if one isn't a a shoo-in.
Click to read

Before this most people outside of their districts couldn't pick Jim Comer  and Jason Smith out of a line-up. Now Comer is an up-and-comer and we'll wait and see whether Smith shines when the spotlight is on him.

File this under How to Pre-judge a Case For Dummies

“Since January, House Republicans have uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence showing President Joe Biden lied to the American people about his knowledge and participation in his family’s influence peddling schemes. Bank records, suspicious activity reports, emails, texts, and witness testimony reveal Joe Biden allowed his family to sell him as ‘the brand’ around the world to enrich the Bidens. And, thanks to two brave IRS whistleblowers, we know that the Justice Department – which has been sitting on much of this evidence – has prevented career investigators from pursuing information that could have led to Joe Biden.

“Based on the evidence, we support the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. The House Committees on Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, and Ways and Means, will continue to work to follow the facts to ensure President Biden is held accountable for abusing public office for his family’s financial gain. The American people demand and deserve answers, transparency, and accountability for this blatant abuse of public office.”

Most recent blogs below:

Split screen: Impeachment is all about counter-programming against Georgia trial
Hal Brown
Hal Brown
• Sep 12
BidenHal Brown's blogHunter BidenJames ComerJim JordanMarjorie Taylor Greeneimpeachmentjournalismmediapolitics
Something about self-awareness
Hal Brown
Hal Brown
• Sep 11
Elon MuskHal BrownHal Brown blogHal Brown's blogself-awareness
Updated: The missing Melania mystery: Money grubbing monkey or Mona Lisa?
Hal Brown
Hal Brown
• Sep 11
Donald TrumpHal Brown blogHal's blogMelania Trump
The missing Melania mystery: Money grubbing monkey or Mona Lisa?
Hal Brown
Hal Brown
• Sep 10
Melania Trump
What to make of Musk?
Hal Brown
Hal Brown
• Sep 9
ADLElon MuskStarlinkUkraineX Twitternarcissism

September 12, 2023

Split screen: Impeachment is all about counter-programming against Georgia trial

By Hal Brown

With House Republicans it's all about egos and eyes.

The clamor to hold impeachment hearings against President Joe Biden is a deafening cacaphony of caca. 

Click to view

Click to read

It's quite a task for people like James Comer and Matt Gaetz to outdo Marjorie Taylor Greene who called for red state succession on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 for mooning for the media. You may accuse the likes of these Republicans for lots of things but you can't say they are camera shy. You get between them and a camera at your own peril.

Now that Kevin McCarthy has bypassed a House vote (which would go down in defeat) and initiated a House impeachment inquiry (story) it is amusing to watch Greene erupt spewing molten lava like Mt. Kilauea claiming she was pressing for a Biden impeachment inquiry immediately upon taking office: see

Feud erupts between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz over Biden impeachment.

Still, try as they might media hogs like GOP members of the House Gaetz, Comer, Jim Jordan, Nancy Mace, Lauren Boebert et al, and Tommy Tuberville in the Senate, don't stand a chance of being immortalized in stone. It is Marjorie Taylor Greene who is vying to be sculpted on the Mt. Rushmore of GOP gigantism.

In the coming weeks thanks to Georgia courts allowing live video coverage we can expect compelling, perhaps dramatic, reality TV. The show will be starring well known "celebrities" whose faces are well known like Mark Meadows and Sidney Powell and Kenneth Cheesbro, whose name not his face are familiar. If Trump doesn't get his case removed to federal court, the mega MAGA star Donald Trump, the only defendant who actually has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, will be must-see TV if he's in court, especially if he decides against his lawyers' advice to testify.

He has the star, once defaced and replaced, there, and it is the most prominent attraction:

Ironically, in order to pry eyes away from the trial if Trump is a featured celebrity House Republicans will have to put on a Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus extravganza.

This will be a challenge if their center ring attraction is only Hunter Biden. If President Biden testifies (the last president to appear before Congress was Gerald Ford) depending on what's happening in Georgia I can see the GOP winning the ratings rounds for a period of time. MAGAs want to see their GOP heroes make Joe Biden squirm under their barrage of goofball gotcha questions. Lots-a-luck with that. The president doesn't do squirm.

One crazy place to be will be in the control rooms of the major television  networks where directors will have to decide what to feature on the biggest portion of their split screen when interesting things are happening simultaneously. TV hosts and panelists will have to go back and forth as they talk about the House impeachment and the Georgia trial. Complicating all of this will be any other trial involving Trump which may be occurring at the same time but doesn't have live TV coverage.

The only thing that might wipe the political news off the media is a catergory nine earthquake along the San Andreas fault (aka The Big One) which literally wipes out large portions of coastal California, Oregon, and Washington.

September 11, 2023

Something about self-awareness


By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired clinical social worker psychotherapist (about me)

There are many articles with good defitions of self-awareness. This one should suffice to describe what I mean by this term for this blog:

There Are Two Types of Self-Awareness 

For the last 50 years, researchers have used varying definitions of self-awareness. For example, some see it as the ability to monitor our inner world, whereas others label it as a temporary state of self-consciousness. Still others describe it as the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.

So before we could focus on how to improve self-awareness, we needed to synthesize these findings and create an overarching definition.

Across the studies we examined, two broad categories of self-awareness kept emerging. The first, which we dubbed internal self-awareness, represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others. We’ve found that internal self-awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness; it is negatively related to anxiety, stress, and depression.

The second category, external self-awareness, means understanding how other people view us, in terms of those same factors listed above. Our research shows that people who know how others see them are more skilled at showing empathy and taking others’ perspectives. For leaders who see themselves as their employees do, their employees tend to have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and see them as more effective in general. From The Harvard Business Review

I got the idea for this blog when I was watching "Morning Joe" where the panel was interviewing Walter Isaacson, author of a soon to be released book about Elon Musk. The discussion centered on his personality and how his having a self-described form of Aspergers may effect his behavior. It's been repeorted that he's said some outraegous things to people and shortly afterwards claimed convincingly that he never said what someone heard. As you see below, Isaacson said there seemed to "be two, three, four different types of Elon" and he went on to say it was as if he had muliple personalites.

You can watch the 13 miute video here.

This really has little to do with what I want to advocate for here. Musk is just an example of someone who, if they had self-awareness and cared about being a force for good, would make a major difference in other people's lives. My impression is that Musk lacks self-awareness. He also may be a malignant narcissist (see my blog What to Make of Musk from Sept. 9th)

It is fair to compare him to Donald Trump because Trump probably has some self-awareness but just doesn't care, in fact he may be very much aware of how he hurts others and relishes doing it.

To the extent that Musk is like Trump in being a malignant narcissist (as I wrote the other day) he may not care either and may enjoy hurting others.

The self-awareness I want to focus on may be best understood by looking closely at people who have little or just about no self-awareness.

Of all the traits such as empathy and caring for others which we would hope are possessed by people whether in power to influence very large numbers, or who can by virtue of their positions make like good or miserable for those in their lives whether in the companies where the exert control over subordinates, or in their families, over all these characteristics is having self-awareness.

If someone wants to be what would generally considered a "good person" they must be able to take a long, hard look at who they are and how they're behaviors, their words an deeds, effects other people.

Again, one has to want to be a good person. If someone, for whatever reasons, doesn't care who they hurt in pursuit of their goals no degree of self-awareness will matter.

For those who do care, if you don't already have a depth of self-awareness, there is hope. The first step can be for everyone - I mean everyone - to decide to engage in a self-assessment beginning by asking people in their lives how their words and action effect them.

This means both family members, friends, and people who you work with. Those who are in postions of authority over people, and may have the power to deny them promotions or even fire them, could distribute a questionnaire that would be responded to anonymously. It could be a simple true/false list a rating scale for questions. For example:

25 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions You Need to Ask

If you find out that people view you as judgmental, arrogant, distant, unapproachable, quick to express disapproval, or get anxious when they are dealing with you, or have any other characteristics you want to try to change psychotherapy is a good option.

If you even want to know how people in your life view you you are probably halfway there.


Thanks to those of you who read, or at least scrolled down, this far. For you, here an explanation of the photo I just took to use at the top of the story. I looked at various graphics under an image search for self-disclosure and not only were most copyrighted, but all were boring. Lots of them show people looking in a mirror.

I decided I take a photo of what's on my table with a few items added and rearranged (the yellow coffee cup was already there, I added the black one). What does it say about me? I'll leave that up to you to speculate about.

Updated: The missing Melania mystery: Money grubbing monkey or Mona Lisa?


Read article

By Hal Brown

This is from: 

PR Experts Are Advising Melania Trump ‘To Keep Her Distance’ & Plan Ahead To Do This Extra Step Amid Donald’s Legal Woes - YaHoo Entertainment

Actually, it’s getting so intense that PR experts are saying Donald’s wife Melania Trump would not only “keep her distance,” but also “plan an escape route.”

PR expert Jane Owen recently told the Mirror she thinks Melania should do both of these measures before the legal ramifications get worse. “If I was Melanie’s friend or her publicist I would be advising her to keep her distance as well. The easiest thing to justify is the lack of something,” she said. “She can say she was with her child, doing charity work, busy with literally anything and no one can fault her for it. Donald himself is not going to draw attention to her absence as a negative thing. So it’s the easiest option.”

I don't see Melania as a monster or a monkey, the image above is meant to depict someone who could be a grifter, living in the major monkey's mansion as his wife, playing the role or being the role of the loving, loyal steadfast spouse. He may have given her a case of monkey see monkey do. She also could be an enigmatic Mona Lisa marching to her munificent and maternal heartbeat.

Melania is the mystery woman in more ways than one. 

Accounts of what she's really like are contradictory. Is she an egotistical grifter like hubby? Is she a humble person more comfortable out of the spotlight  who is mostly concerned with the well-being of her son?  If you have a subscrption read The Very Private Life of Melania Trump here.

This is how the very long article concludes:

While first ladies often capitalize on the attendant fame, Mrs. Trump’s moneymaking venture is different from those of her predecessors, said Kate Andersen Brower, the author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.”

Michelle Obama was reportedly paid more than $60 million in a joint book deal with her husband, as well as commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches and signing a lucrative production deal with Netflix. Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton also sold their memoirs for millions. Their memoirs and paid speeches required the former first ladies to share some details about themselves, their views and their lives in the White House.

By simply selling images, Mrs. Trump reveals nothing.

That’s exactly how she likes it, Ms. Brower said.

“She’s the most obviously unknowable first lady,” she said of Mrs. Trump’s public persona. “There’s something radical about it. First ladies are expected to want to please people and I’m not sure she really cares.”

Here's another excerpt about her husband running for reelection:

“He has my support, and we look forward to restoring hope for the future and leading America with love and strength...”
Does she really think Donald Trump is capable of leading America with love?

For that matter, doe she really truly love her husband? Does she know what love is?

I've done a lot of marriage counseling in my 40 years as a therapist, and worked with uncountable women who were married to emotional abusive men, some of whom had extreme nacssistic personality disorder and were incable of empathy. Without empathy for your partner I don't see how it's possible to love them. A couple can also have a transactional marriage without one being emotionally withholding  or emotionally abusive. I don't consider either of these to be a loving marriage.

Women can love abusive husbands because they have very low self-esteem and don't feel or believe they can do any better. Some feel they don't deserve more. It is all, to state the obvious, very complicated.

We just don't know whether Melania loves her husband and if she does feel love for him what she gets out of the marriage.

I find it telling about her personality that she auctioned a drawing  her wearing one of her hats with a portion going to charity. Who does that?

See pre-auction article and results of auction.

Bascially this is a hohum-who-cares subject, though I cared enough to write it. As someone who was a therapist for my entire career I find her and their marriage interesting.

Her absense at Trump campaign events or in court should he testify in person will be noted but while her pressense might help his burnish image especially with women who are already in his cult her absense won't mean a hill of beans.

As first lady she will be a curiosity as one who did basically nothing of significance except wear the "I don't care" jacket. She certainly would not be number 11 on this list of the 10 most influential Fist Ladies. If anyone will make number 11 on the list it will be Dr. Jill Biden.

Milley, Miley, and Taylor too: Where pop culture and politics intersect: - Convincing people that MAGA is deadly for democracy

  By Hal Brown Update: I wrote this before this was posted as the lead story on Salon: Click to read The article concludes: I get that Swift...