The Breakfast Club (crowd dispersal)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for October 20th

‘Saturday Night Massacre’ takes place during Watergate scandal; Gen. Douglas MacArthur returns to Philippines; Jacqueline Kennedy weds Aristotle Onassis; Three Lynyrd Skynyrd members die in plane crash.

Breakfast Tune 5-string Banjo: Peterloo Massacre (Including lyrics and chords)

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Backs Bernie Sanders at Packed NYC Rally
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams

“I am back,” Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Saturday, as he spoke to over 25,000 people at a rally in New York City that featured Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed the Vermont senator’s White House bid.

The capacity for the rally was 20,000, but so many people came the campaign had to turn people away, said Sanders. According to the campaign, nearly 26,000 people were in attendance.

“Our priority is not only defeating Donald Trump,” Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd. “It’s defeating the system of which he is a symptom.”

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

 
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
CHRISTOPHER FONS – CONOR MCMULLEN, COUNTERPUNCH
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Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and ranking Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

The roundtable guests are: Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D); Republican strategist Sara Fagen; and former Sen. Heidi Keitkamp (D-ND).

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: Rep. Jim Himes {D-CT); Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Gen (Ret.) Raymond Thomas, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; Michael Morell, former CIA Deputy Director; and William Burns, former Deputy Secretary of State.

Her panel guests are: Susan Davis, NPR; Jamal Simmons, Hill.TV; Michael Steel, Republican strategist; and Paula Reid, CBS News White House Correspondent.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Former Republican Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI); 2020 Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and former presidential envoy Brett McGurk.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL); disgraced Gen. (ret.) David Petraeus; 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates Sound Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

His panel guests are: Rep. Joe Negusis (D-CO); Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter; Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI); and Jen Psaki, former Obama WH Communications Chief.

The Breakfast Club (Jokes)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

British surrender at Yorktown decides American Revolution; Stock market crash hits Wall Street in late 1980s; Napoleon’s forces begin retreat from Moscow; Concorde makes first landing in New York

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

Will Rogers

Continue reading

“What A Dump!”

Despite my parochiality I’ve been in some pretty impressive public spaces including a few fairly high rent hotels (I hate Atrium lobbies the most) including the Ritz-Charlton in Naples which I’ll admit deserves it’s reputation and The Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island (ok, it’s charming if you like a slice of Victoriana and they wait on you hand and foot, don’t mind the horse poop).

When left to my own devices I’m a fairly big fan of “What is cheapest?” though you can find many many interesting places that aren’t too costly. This summer I stayed at a place that had both a Hot Tub and a Water Slide. I ask you, what else do you need?

Next to Atriums the most disappointing things to discover are rooms that are obviously… not well maintained. I’m not talking puddle of blood but if the carpet is sticky…

Well, ick.

So now Doral, Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio’s failing resort, is back in the news along with plenty of pictures and a repair bill. In his own words- “What A Dump!”

It looks dingy and run down. It has 10 pools none of which have been inspected in over 12 months and then there are the notorious bedbugs. There are problems with the food service too, of course if you get your meals from McDonald’s (which actually gets visited by the Health Department once in a while) or incinerate your steaks to shoe leather that may not matter to you so much.

Did I say ick?

So Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio will tap the Treasury for repairs (highly illegal but in the grand scheme it falls in the rounds) and slap a fresh coat of paint on his White Elephant and we’ll all pretend everything is normal.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

William H. McRaven: Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President

If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.

Last week I attended two memorable events that reminded me why we care so very much about this nation and also why our future may be in peril.

The first was a change of command ceremony for a storied Army unit in which one general officer passed authority to another. The second event was an annual gala for the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) Society that recognizes past and present members of the intelligence and Special Operations community for their heroism and sacrifice to the nation. What struck me was the stark contrast between the words and deeds heralded at those events — and the words and deeds emanating from the White House. [..]

These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press. They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, “I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!”

Those words echoed with me throughout the week. It is easy to destroy an organization if you have no appreciation for what makes that organization great. We are not the most powerful nation in the world because of our aircraft carriers, our economy, or our seat at the United Nations Security Council. We are the most powerful nation in the world because we try to be the good guys. We are the most powerful nation in the world because our ideals of universal freedom and equality have been backed up by our belief that we were champions of justice, the protectors of the less fortunate.

Paul Krugman: Democrats, Avoid the Robot Rabbit Hole

The automation obsession is an escapist fantasy.

One of the less discussed parts of Tuesday’s Democratic debate was the exchange that took place over automation and how to deal with it. But it’s worth focusing on that exchange, because it was interesting — by which I mean depressing. CNN’s Erin Burnett, one of the moderators, asked a bad question, and the debaters by and large — with the perhaps surprising exception of Bernie Sanders — gave pretty bad answers.

So let me make a plea to the Democrats: Please don’t go down the robot rabbit hole.

Burnett declared that a recent study shows that “about a quarter of U.S. jobs could be lost to automation in just the next 10 years.” What the study actually says is less alarming: It finds that a quarter of U.S. jobs will face “high exposure to automation over the next several decades.”

But if you think even that sounds bad, ask yourself the following question: When, in modern history, has something like that statement not been true.

Margaret Garnett and Preet Brahara: Remaining Silent About Corruption Should Not Be an Option

New York City requires its employees to blow the whistle on wrongdoing, and that approach is working.

Over the past few weeks, the country has been riveted by the news of a whistle-blower within the intelligence community who filed a formal complaint alleging wrongdoing by President Trump. In turn, we have watched the whistle-blower defamed by the president and his allies, even accused of treason, despite meticulously following the lawful process to report possible criminal conduct. This took remarkable courage. There was no legal obligation to report it, and serious risks to career, reputation and even personal safety for doing so. [..]

Now consider a system in which there is an obligation to report corruption, to point a finger at waste, fraud and abuse. You don’t have to imagine it, because New York City government imposes an uncommon obligation on public servants, requiring them to report wrongdoing or jeopardize their jobs and professional advancement if they do not.

The city has a long and storied history of public corruption scandals. But out of that history grew this unusual and effective rule for combating corruption. An executive order, first issued by Mayor Ed Koch in 1978 and ratified by every mayor since, directs that all New York City employees have an obligation to report to the city’s independent Department of Investigation any instance of corruption, waste, fraud or abuse by public officials or city contractors. Failure to report can be cause for discipline or termination. The law arose after scandals within city government went unchecked, despite city employees’ having knowledge of the corruption that fueled them. All city employees now receive regular anti-corruption training from the D.O.I., which underscores the obligation to report wrongdoing as well as the legal protections they have when they do report.

Amanda Marcotte: House Democrats: It’s time to include Trump’s shady Syria/Turkey deal in impeachment inquiry

As with the Ukraine fiasco, Trump appears to have put his self-interest ahead of our national interest in Turkey

Even by Donald Trump’s basement-level standards, there’s something bizarre about the president’s behavior in deciding to allow a Turkish invasion of Syria aimed at pushing the Kurdish population out of the area — a move that is, for all intents and purposes, an act of ethnic cleansing. Less than two weeks ago, Trump, apparently spontaneously, acceded to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s request that the U.S. pull a small number of troops out of the area to clear the way for what swiftly turned into a slaughter. Since then, Trump’s attempts to justify this betrayal — not just of the Kurds, but of basic human decency — have been alarmingly erratic, well beyond his existing baseline of constant, impulsive dramatics.

Trump has veered between trying to deny responsibility for giving leeway to Erdoğan, claiming some higher motivation and implying that the Kurds had it coming anyway. But this chaos-monkey act appears to have a specific goal, which is to scare off congressional Democrats who might want to take a closer look at exactly why Trump — a man who only ever acts out of self-interest — prioritized Erdoğan’s genocidal urges over the opinion of his own advisers and Republican colleagues, especially when Trump needs their support over the impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s desperation to keep anyone from looking too closely here is all the more reason to do so. In fact, Democrats need to seriously consider expanding the impeachment inquiry to look at why, exactly, Trump is so eager to please Erdoğan, even above his own party. It’s certainly not because of some principled disagreement over the U.S. presence in Syria, since Trump has no principles outside of his personal self-interest. So the question is, what is Trump getting out of this, and have any laws been broken in selling out American interests to Turkey?

 

Guns or Butter?

Like Quantum Mechanics (or indeed General Relativity), Modern Monetary Theory is a problem for some people because it’s not intuitive and apparently contradicts in some respects lived experience. We know apples don’t fall up for example but that’s simply an accident of failing to observe what is an extremely rare phenomena. The math that predicts that possibility as well as solving some more mundane problems with uncanny predictive accuracy is rock solid, what needs to be expanded is your perception of reality. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

MMT is much less complicated than Quantum Mechanics but also faces this imaginary barrier and I don’t know what happens to you when you talk about Economics but with me people’s eyes generally glaze over in about 30 seconds and by the time I get finished discussing the true nature of money and taxes they’ve either found some excuse to wander away or pass out from boredom. In a nutshell Taxes don’t pay for Government activity, they exist to create demand for currency. There is no theoretical limit to Sovereign Debt or Deficits and the only practical limit is Inflation in non-native Inputs, which, depending on how your economy is structured, can have a greater or lesser impact. Japan would notice Oil Price Inflation quite keenly, the House of Saud not so much.

But why waste your time even with that though there are much stronger arguments that MMT represents a truer model of the current Economy than Classical, Liberal (not what you think it means in this context), Keynesian, Neo-Classical, Neo-Liberal, and Neo-Keynesian (sorry Paul) ones. Skip that argument entirely and explain we can afford nice things without venturing beyond the bounds of Samuelson (who is actually very supportive of MMT in abstract but eventually falls back on the old evidence-free tropes and canards).

I picked this up over at Yves’ Place

Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want
by Julia Conley, Common Dreams
Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Institute for Policy Studies on Thursday shared the results of extensive research into how the $750 billion U.S. military budget could be significantly slashed, freeing up annual funding to cover the cost of Medicare for All—calling into question the notion that the program needs to create any tax burden whatsoever for working families.

Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), took aim in a New York Times op-ed at a “chorus of scolds” from both sides of the aisle who say that raising middle class taxes is the only way to pay for Medicare for All. The pervasive claim was a primary focus of Tuesday night’s debate, while Medicare for All proponents Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) attempted to focus on the dire need for a universal healthcare program.

At the Democratic presidential primary debate on CNN Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was criticized by some opponents for saying that “costs will go down for hardworking, middle-class families” under Medicare for All, without using the word “taxes.” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), on the other hand, clearly stated that taxes may go up for some middle class families but pointed out that the increase would be more than offset by the fact that they’ll no longer have to pay monthly premiums, deductibles, and other medical costs.

“All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag,” wrote Koshgarian. “Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”

“Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it,” she added. “That’s nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary).”

“While we can’t un-spend that $4.9 trillion,” Koshgarian continued, “imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years.”

Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.

“What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?” Koshgarian asked.

Other areas where IPS identified savings include:

  • cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion
  • a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion
  • ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion
  • production cuts for the F-35—a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office—saving $17.7 billion
  • a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All’s annual budget.

“This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion,” Koshgarian wrote of the last item

As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times, progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a “progressive foreign policy” far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.

“The public rejects the predominant, fear-based framing and policies; instead, they want to see a revamped, demilitarized American foreign policy focused on international cooperation, human rights, and peacebuilding,” wrote Data for Progress.

“Voters want to see U.S. funding go to domestic needs such as healthcare, or to other national security tools like diplomacy, instead of to the Pentagon and more endless war,” according to the report.

Polling more than 1,000 ppl with YouGov, Data for Progress found that 73 percent of Democratic primary voters ranked numerous issues—including economic challenges and the climate—as more important to them than national security and military funding.

Progressive national security proposals proved popular with respondents, including closing Guantanamo Bay, ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and leveraging military aid to Israel to force it to adopt better human rights policies toward Palestinians.

“There is a clear appetite for progressive reforms to U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Data for Progress.

In her op-ed, Koshgarian acknowledged that remaking the U.S. military as a truly “defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes.”

But, she wrote, “that’s no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, healthcare, education, and all that makes our lives better.”

There you go. Spending cuts? I got your spending cuts right here baby, and as Yves correctly points out- “the Pentagon has various black budgets, an “official” one and covert ones.”

Cartnoon

Arbitrary goals, invented glory, permanent brain damage.

The Breakfast Club (Living Messages)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Inventor Thomas Edison dies; Three scientists share Nobel prize for DNA work; Anthrax scare hits CBS in New York; Two U.S. athletes suspended for Mexico City Olympics protest; Rock star Chuck Berry born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Our children are the living messages we send to a future we will ever see… Will we rob them of their destiny? Will we rob them of their dreams? No – we will not do that.

Elijah Cummings (January 18, 1951 – October 17, 2019)

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Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Robert Reich: Should the Supreme Court Be Reformed?

In an era of increasing political polarization, we should rethink how the Court is organized in order to rebuild public trust.

In recent years the legitimacy of the Supreme Court has come under question as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans have bent the nomination process for their own political gain.

At the same time, the Court has rewritten the rules of our democracy. In just the last few years, it has rolled back the Voting Rights Act, given corporations even greater power over their workers and consumers, and given the green light to partisan gerrymandering.

Many Americans—including several presidential candidates—have begun asking whether the Supreme Court should be reformed.

Here are 5 possibilities for strengthening the Court and rebuilding public trust:

John Lithgow: Trump Is a Bad President. He’s an Even Worse Entertainer.

The performer in chief is forcing us to live in a B-movie horror.

Readers of this page have every reason to be suspicious of the political musings of an actor. I’m suspicious of them myself. But consider this: Our politics and our press are completely dominated by an entertainer president. In recent weeks we’ve even read about our ex-reality-show host president discussing foreign policy over the phone with the ex-TV comedian president of Ukraine.

Entertainment and politics have become bizarrely intertwined. Perhaps it’s time for a working entertainer to weigh in.

I call Donald Trump an “entertainer president” advisedly since he has proved himself to be such an inept public servant. Over the years, he has thrust himself into the public eye with the flamboyant histrionics of a latter-day P.T. Barnum. Part of this is the amoral tradecraft of a New York real estate developer, but a lot of it springs from the appetites of a voracious attention-getter.

Think of Mr. Trump preening at his beauty contests, body-slamming Vince McMahon at W.W.F. events or holding rallies that resemble the arena gigs of an insult comic. These are the antics of a showman, not a statesman.

Charles M. Blow: Democrats, Dream Big but Tell the Whole Truth

Big moves come with hitches. But that’s no reason not to go big and bold.

I am not one of the nervous Nellies who believe that Democratic candidates shouldn’t dream big and pitch big, transformational ideas. I’m not one of those who believe that Democrats should negotiate with themselves, in advance of submitting a proposal, so that they present only incremental half measures in the name of practicality and perceived ability to implement.

“Dream smaller” is a dream killer. And, I believe, an election loser. “I have milquetoast policies that I can massage their way through a contemptuous Congress” is not a motivational message.

Moderate Democrats want to inch toward success; I’m open to the moonshots of the more progressive Democrats.

Conservatives are never going to pat you on the back for your moderation. They will frame every proposal you put forward as a push toward the apocalypse, as an end of the American ideal, as an obvious creep toward socialism.

Start with your grandest ideas, and any eventual compromise is likely to end up in the middle; start with middling ideas, and your compromise will end up as right-lite.

That is not acceptable to me.

So I say to the Democratic field: Give me your biggest, boldest ideas. Almost none of them are policies you could institute by executive action. Almost all require acts of Congress, and Congress would likely produce something vastly different than what you propose, if they pass a bill at all.

Edward Snowden: Without encryption, we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground

The US, UK and Australia are taking on Facebook in a bid to undermine the only method that protects our personal information

In every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war. Your bank balance, the local hospital’s equipment, and the 2020 US presidential election, among many, many other things, all depend on computer safety.

And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe.

Nicholas Kristof: Adam Schiff Is the Congressman Trump Wants You to Hate

Relentless, yes. But “radical left” and “lowlife”? Not at all.

The paradox of Adam Schiff is this: He is depicted by some Republicans as a fanatical partisan, with President Trump suggesting that he is a “radical left” “lowlife” who should be arrested for treason, yet in real life Schiff is a cerebral and mild-mannered moderate.

But perhaps there’s a logic to Trump’s venom: Schiff’s mild persona conceals a relentless determination. That’s why he’s a marathoner and a triathlon athlete. It’s also how he first received attention, as a dogged young federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who won a conviction — after two failed trials led by other prosecutors — against an F.B.I. agent accused of spying for Russia for sex and money.

Now he’s again investigating alleged Russia-related wrongdoing by a federal employee, only this time the employee is the president.

Cartnoon

Clio never ceases to amaze. Rome and China? 4,000 years of written records plus, you know, whatever you dig up.

Time is long. No, longer than that.

The Breakfast Club (Rule of Thieves)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Arab oil embargo fuels energy crisis; Americans clinch revolutionary victory at Saratoga; Deadly quake hits northern California; Mobster Al Capone convicted of tax evasion; Playwright Arthur Miller born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal.

Jimmy Breslin

Continue reading

Boris Blinks

As it turns out Johnson is going to follow the Benn Act and ask for an extension. The EU may moan and groan about it (I would, the Brits are being total arseholes) but the terms of Article 50 are pretty clear and they’re only at the stage where the computer asks, “Are you really, really sure you want me to do this incredibly stupid, destructive, and permanently impossible to fix thing you just told me to do?”

Yes, dammit. Oops.

This is why I keep a lot of data recovery software around.

Still, it represents a considerable climbdown if true (Boris once got notoriously stuck on a Zip Line). The likely outcome is the same it’s always been which is why I don’t write about it so much- snap elections that the Tories will lose with any luck, a re-negotiation for closer Norwegian-style ties (making Brexit kind of pointless except for losing your veto power which is stupid but whatever) and a re-vote on Brexit as a concept with the Corbyn, Johnson, and May plans on the table to muddy things up as well as Leave Cold and Remain (the most sensible course of action, there is a Left case to make- this is not it).

Boris Johnson ‘will ask EU for extension’ if no Brexit deal by Saturday
by Rajeev Syal and Rowena Mason, The Guardian
Wed 16 Oct 2019

The Brexit secretary has indicated Boris Johnson will send a letter to the EU seeking an extension if there is no agreement by Saturday.

Pressed by the Brexit select committee as to whether the prime minister would obey the Benn act, Stephen Barclay said the government “will abide by that text”.

He also denied knowledge of any plan to send a second letter to Brussels asking officials to ignore the first because the government did not want an extension.

The legislation passed by MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit requires the prime minister to ask the EU to extend article 50 beyond 31 October should a deal not be agreed by 19 October.

UK negotiators resumed talks on Wednesday morning after wrapping up their previous session in the early hours as they search for an agreement ready for a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday.

If Johnson fails to achieve a deal by the weekend, he will clash with MPs, who will demand he complies with the Benn act and asks for an extension, something he has repeatedly ruled out.

Hilary Benn, the chair of the committee, asked Barclay: “Can you confirm if there is no agreement reached which is approved by parliament on Saturday that by the end of the day the PM will write the letter?”

Barclay replied: “I can confirm as the PM has repeatedly set out that firstly the government will comply with the law. And secondly, the government will comply with undertakings given to the court in respect of the law.”

Benn pointed out the undertaking given to the court was that Johnson would send a letter if specific conditions were not satisfied.

Barclay said: “I can confirm the government will abide by that text.”

The government told a Scottish court earlier this month the prime minister accepted he would have no choice but to send a letter. However, there have been repeated briefings from No 10 that claimed ministers have found a way to bypass the law.

Ministers have indicated the government could send a second letter asking the EU to ignore the first asking for an extension. The business secretary, Andrea Leadsom, asked by ITV’s Robert Peston last week if Johnson would send a second letter disavowing the first, replied: “Absolutely.”

Joanna Cherry, a Scottish National party MP and member of the committee, asked Barclay if there was a plan to send two letters. “I am not aware of any such plan,” he replied.

Robert Buckland, the justice secretary and lord chancellor, told another select committee he was committed to “upholding the rule of law” as its “guardian in cabinet”, promising this was a role he took extremely seriously.

His comments suggest he would not tolerate any move by Downing Street to disobey the law by refusing to stay within the strictures of the Benn act.

Buckland also dismissed calls from some Conservatives for a politically appointed judiciary following the supreme court’s ruling against Johnson’s suspension of parliament.

“The day we end with US-style confirmation hearings would be a very black day for our constitution. That sort of approach would be erroneous and based on an assumption that we were creating a constitutional in the UK,” he said.

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