Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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

Paul Krugman: America Drank Away Its Children’s Future

As the school year looms, the pandemic is still raging.

A brief history of the past four months in America:

Experts: Don’t rush to reopen, this isn’t over.

Donald Trump: LIBERATE!

Covid-19: Wheee!

Trump officials: Here’s our opposition research on Anthony Fauci.

And we’re now faced with an agonizing choice: Do we reopen schools, creating risks of a further viral explosion, or do we keep children home, with severe negative effects on their learning?

None of this had to happen. Other countries stuck with their lockdowns long enough to reduce infections to rates much lower than those prevailing here; Covid-19 death rates per capita in the European Union are only a 10th those in the United States — and falling — while ours are rising fast. As a result, they’re in a position to reopen schools fairly safely.

And the experience of the Northeast, the first major epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, shows that we could have achieved something similar here. Death rates are way down, although still higher than in Europe; on Saturday, for the first time since March, New York City reported zero Covid-19 deaths.

Would a longer lockdown have been economically sustainable? Yes.

Michelle Goldberg: In Some Countries, Normal Life Is Back. Not Here.

Trump’s incompetence has wrecked us. Where are the calls for him to resign?

If you’re lucky enough to live in New Zealand, the coronavirus nightmare has been mostly over since June. After more than two weeks with no new cases, the government lifted almost all restrictions that month. The borders are still shut, but inside the country, normal life returned.

It’s coming back elsewhere too. Taiwan, where most days this month no new cases have been reported, just held the Taipei Film Festival, and a recent baseball game drew 10,000 spectators. Italy was once the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak and remains in a state of emergency, but with just a few hundred new cases a day in the whole country, bars are open and tourists have started returning, though of course Americans remain banned. According to The New York Times’s figures, there were 321 new cases in all of Canada last Friday.

And America? We had 68,241. As of last week, the worst per capita outbreak on the planet was in Arizona, followed by Florida. The world is closed to us; American passports were once coveted, but now only a few dozen nations will let us in. Lawrence O. Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown, told me he doesn’t expect American life to feel truly normal before summer 2022. Two years of our lives, stolen by Donald Trump. [..]

Yet somehow there’s no drumbeat of calls for the president’s resignation. People seem to feel too helpless. Protesters can make demands of governors and mayors, especially Democratic ones, because at the local level small-d democratic accountability still exists. Nationally such responsiveness is gone; no one expects the president to do his job, or to be held to account when he doesn’t. That’s how you know the country was broken before coronavirus ever arrived.
Editors’ Picks
Anything You Say in This Trader Joe’s Line May Be Used Against You
Airborne Coronavirus: What You Should Do Now
The Last Reporter in Town Had One Big Question for His Rich Boss

This suffering, your suffering, wasn’t inevitable. The coronavirus is a natural disaster. The Republican Party’s death-cult fealty to Trump is wholly man-made.

Eugene Robinson: For Dan Snyder, apparently ‘never’ means ‘immediately’ if enough money is at stake

Apparently “never” means “immediately” if enough money is at stake: The racist name and logo of the Washington National Football League franchise are finally being ditched. Hail to the Fill-In-The-Blanks! And shame on team owner Daniel Snyder for stubbornly holding out so long.

The name “Redskins” was always racist. It is understandable — though not, by any means, excusable — that many fans of the team did not recognize this obvious fact decades ago. I include myself in the indictment. As a society, we were inured to seeing cartoonish and insulting Native American imagery exploited by sports teams at every level. I loved going to games at old, raucous RFK Stadium and cheering the team to victory, especially against the hated Dallas Cowboys. [..]

Snyder took an adamant and unwavering position, declaring in 2013: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

Contrast that with the statement the team issued Monday morning: “On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward. Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review.”

What made Snyder launch that effort on July 3? Perhaps the fact that one day earlier the team’s most visible corporate sponsor, FedEx — which holds the naming rights for the team’s home stadium, FedEx Field — requested that the team’s name be changed. How could Snyder’s purported “thorough review” produce a result so quickly? Perhaps the “process” gained speed because FedEx’s demand was echoed by other major sponsors, including PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America.

The fact that a billionaire has been forced to change the name of a business employing a bunch of millionaires is hardly the most important consequence of the social justice movement that erupted after the killing of George Floyd. But it is far from trivial.

Catherine Rampell: Child-care centers have already been reopening. The results are troubling.

As Americans’ attention focuses on schools and the risks and potential rewards of reopening, a test case of sorts is playing out. With troubling results.

Thousands of child-care facilities nationwide have already reopened, or tried to — and their experiences risk destroying the country’s already weak infrastructure for child care. The model is bad for everyone — parents, educators, caregivers, doctors, Republicans, Democrats — who wants children to return to campuses as quickly and safely as possible.

Most debates over “reopening” revolve around K-12 schools, and what measures must be in place to bring back students safely. Administrators and teachers have expressed frustration about inconsistent guidance on what kinds of adaptations are needed.

Rather than helping schools reconcile conflicting advice, the Trump administration has responded with threats of funding cuts.

This is exactly the wrong response. Schools need more money, not less. The additional space, supplies, tests and other measures required to reopen will be expensive.

We know this because a significant share of the child-care facilities that have reopened are struggling.

Karen Tumulty: Trump and his minions are trying to destroy Fauci. No wonder the U.S. is doing so poorly.

That the Trump White House is treating the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert like some kind of political opponent tells you a lot about why the United States is doing worse than so many other countries in the battle to contain the novel coronavirus.

It was bad enough that Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been “sidelined,” according to a report over the weekend by The Post. What that means is that President Trump, who has refused to be guided by the evolving scientific knowledge in dealing with this new pathogen, no longer even wants to hear what it is.

But now, Trump and his minions are going even further. They are also trying to destroy Fauci’s reputation.

There is no doubt some envy here. A poll conducted by the New York Times and Siena College last month found that 67 percent of Americans trust Fauci as a source of accurate information about the virus. Only 26 percent feel that way about a president who keeps patting himself on the back for a job well done as the U.S. death toll surpasses 132,000 and the number of new cases hits record levels.

So White House aides have begun circulating talking points to undermine Fauci, documenting how many times he has said things that have turned out to be wrong. Some of the quotes come from back in January, before covid-19’s impact in the United States had even begun to be felt. And as my colleague Aaron Blake noted, many of the Fauci statements being circulated by the White House are incomplete and taken out of context.

Those who put together this dossier do not see any irony in the fact that, in most of these instances, Fauci’s error was in playing down the danger — which is something that Trump does practically on the hour.

What’s different is that Fauci, unlike Trump, is willing to recognize and admit his missteps. He has the experience to know how it works when you are trying to figure out how to deal with a new public health threat.

La Marseillaise

Vive Le Quatorze Juillet!

(An Annual Tradition)

Arise, children of the Fatherland,
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us of the tyranny
The bloody banner is raised,
The bloody banner is raised,
Do you hear, in the countryside,
The roar of those ferocious soldiers?
They’re coming right into your arms
To slit the throats your sons and your companions!

Chorus

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Let’s march, let’s march!
That tainted blood
Water our furrows!

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conjured kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons?
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

Aux armes, citoyens…

What! Foreign cohorts
Would make the law in our homes!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would strike down our proud warriors!
Would strike down our proud warriors!
Great God ! By chained hands
Our brows would yield under the yoke
Vile despots would have themselves
The masters of our destinies!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
The shame of all parties,
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will finally receive their reward!
Will finally receive their reward!
Everyone is a soldier to combat you
If they fall, our young heroes,
The earth will produce new ones,
Ready to fight against you!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
You bear or hold back your blows!
You spare those sorry victims,
Who arm against us with regret.
Who arm against us with regret.
But not these bloodthirsty despots,
These accomplices of Bouillé,
All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Rip their mother’s breast!

Aux armes, citoyens…

Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Fight with thy defenders!
Fight with thy defenders!
Under our flags, shall victory
Hurry to thy manly accents,
That thy expiring enemies,
See thy triumph and our glory!

Aux armes, citoyens…

(Children’s Verse)

We shall enter in the (military) career
When our elders are no longer there,
There we shall find their dust
And the trace of their virtues
And the trace of their virtues
Much less jealous to survive them
Than to share their coffins,
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or following them

Aux armes, citoyens…

Cartnoon

Bread and Circuses

The Breakfast Club (Indispensible Duty)

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.

This Day in History

Bastille prison stormed during the French Revolution; Outlaw ‘Billy the Kid’ gunned down; Richard Speck murders student nurses in Chicago; Mariner 4 probe flies by Mars; Folk singer Woody Guthrie born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties.

Marquis de Lafayette

Continue reading

Elvis’ Grave

I must admit his musical charms are lost on me except as parody and this story may seem a bit macabre falling on the heels as it does of the announcement of the death of his only Grandson at the age of 27, presumably of suicide.

But it’s not really about Elvis at all, outside of this weird connection at the end.

A Partner in Undiscovered Crime and I were unexpectedly at loose ends in Memphis and I convinced him it would be a good idea to use his extensive Camera Equipment (sadly without Film) and a Notebook and scam our way into Graceland posing as Legit Press.

It worked much, much better than I expected, escorted by a Flack through the Main Gate, not the Service Entrance for Tourists, on a Guided Behind the Sceens Tour.

He hardly blinked at all when I asked him if it would be ok to lie on Elivis’ Grave and think about Death. Creative process you know.

Oh, the weird connection. Elvis choked on a Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Sandwich sitting on the Toilet at Graceland from an Opiod Overdose.

Don’t feel too sorry for the Sacklers.

Jonathan Sackler, Co-owner of Purdue Pharma, Dies
The Associated Press
July 6, 2020

Jonathan Sackler, one of the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, has died, the company confirmed.

Sackler died June 30, according to a court filing. He was 65 and the cause of death was cancer.

He was the son of Raymond Sackler, one the brothers who bought drug company Purdue Frederick in 1952, and served as an executive and board member for the company that was later renamed Purdue Pharma. Like other members of the Sackler family, he has stepped off the board of the company in recent years, though family members retain ownership.

The company is seeking bankruptcy protection as part of an effort to settle nearly 3,000 lawsuits brought against it by state and local governments that blame the company for sparking the opioid crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans since 2000. Hundreds of the lawsuits also name family members.

The company’s settlement plan calls for the family, which has been listed among America’s wealthiest, to pay at least $3 billion and give up ownership of Purdue.

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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

Charles M. Blow: American Horror, Starring Donald Trump

The coronavirus pandemic is spiraling out of control, largely because of the president himself.

The idea that face coverings and elbow bumps may be the new normal is a shock to the system.

It seems that on multiple levels, society is being tested, and often failing.

People are rebelling against isolation, and against science and public health. They want the old world back, the pre-Covid-19 world back, but it cannot be had. The virus doesn’t feel frustration or react to it. It’s not aware of your children or your job or your vacation plans. It’s not aware of our politics.

The virus is a virus, mindless, and in this case, incredibly efficient and effective. It will pass from person to person for as long as that is possible. The political debate over mask wearing is a human concern, one that works to the virus’s benefit.

And it is these politics, particularly as articulated by Donald Trump, that are allowing the virus to ravage this nation and steal tens of thousands of lives that should not have been stolen.

It is Trump’s politicization of the virus that has resulted in a new surge of cases in this country when many other developed nations have been able to shrink the number of cases among their people.

Jonathan Karl: It’s the duty of the White House press secretary to hold briefings. But not like this.

On the Monday following President Trump’s Independence Day weekend speeches, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany opened her briefing as she often does: by reprimanding “the media” for mischaracterizing the president’s words.

“This vision is not a culture war, as the media seeks to falsely proclaim,” McEnany said. The very next day, in an interview with RealClearPolitics, the president said: “We are in a culture war.”

Such head-spinning contradictions are routine at Trump White House briefings, where the press secretary often admonishes reporters for asking about the president’s exact words. [..]

As a reporter and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, I have often advocated a return of regular briefings by the White House press secretary, which lapsed in early 2018. The merits of the briefings over the years can be debated, but I think the White House spokesperson has an obligation to regularly answer questions about the policies and pronouncements of the executive branch.

The White House press secretary’s job differs fundamentally from that of a spokesperson for a candidate or political party. The White House press secretary serves at the pleasure of a president but is also a public servant whose salary is paid by taxpayers. The job is to inform the public: to be an intermediary between the president and a press corps the public relies on for information. As former White House press secretary Mike McCurry has pointed out, this intermediary role is embedded in the layout of the West Wing; the press secretary’s office is midway between the Oval Office and the briefing room.

Denying reality and using the White House podium for purely political purposes is a violation of public trust.

Arturo E. Holmes II: I’m a black doctor. I wear my scrubs everywhere now.

It’s about protecting myself.

As a urology resident, I spend up to 70 hours a week at the hospital. I wear scrubs to the operating room and through long hospital shifts. And, of course, I wear a gown and other personal protective equipment over my scrubs when caring for patients with covid-19 in Brooklyn.

Even when I’m not there, though, I wear my medical scrubs everywhere. I wear scrubs and a mask when I’m shopping at the grocery store, rollerblading home from work and even meeting up with friends, always seeking to preemptively exonerate my blackness with my professional garb.

It’s about protecting myself. Like many black Americans, I’ve been followed by security personnel through department stores without cause and pulled over by police officers at night for no reason.

When I’m in scrubs, all of that happens less often. [..]

Still, I wear scrubs. I wear scrubs hoping that they’ll serve as a reminder, just enough to give pause, forcing those who would judge or harm me because of my skin color to reconsider. I wear them even as I know that I shouldn’t have to, that no one should have to harness a professional uniform in the pursuit of respect, let alone survival. I wear them knowing that they offer questionable protection at best. No one should have to wear scrubs — or anything else — to be seen as worthy of human decency. Even if wearing scrubs everywhere were right and reasonable, it would not be enough. And yet, in moments of uncertainty, scrubs may be all I have. I do not want to wear scrubs everywhere, but until Black Lives Matter is more than just a slogan, I will.

William Rivers Pitt: A bad day for Trump is a good day for the country

Put this day at court in the bank and call it a win, though not a complete one

If you were hoping to see Donald Trump’s financial records before the 2020 election, today was not your day. If you were hoping to go to bed tonight in a nation with a president and not a sovereign, sleep tight, because you won.

In two Supreme Court decisions freighted with the potential for generational impact — Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars — a 7-2 majority remanded both cases back to the lower courts for further review while delivering a slashing rebuke to a president who would put himself outside the scope of oversight and the constitutional separation of powers. [..]

This day could have been much worse for Trump, who has fought like a cornered wolverine for years to keep these tax documents secret. The massive review of Trump’s older family financial records released by The New York Times in 2018 tell a fair portion of the utterly corrupt tale, but more recent data has remained beyond the public’s reach, and remains so today.

The fact that his records will in all likelihood fall into the hands of a New York grand jury is not welcome news for Trump. However, he avoided the fate of Richard Nixon, who lost unanimously before the high court in trying to keep the Watergate tapes secret, and was soon forced to resign.

Conversely, this day could have been utterly calamitous for the nation and its constitutional framework. Had the high court accepted Trump’s broad claims of immunity in either Vance or Mazars, the office of the president would have been placed forever above the reach of law or oversight, and the republic itself would have crumbled before dinner.

Put this day at court in the bank and call it a win, though not a complete one. Still, anything that infuriates Trump like this has to be a good thing.

Gerald B. Lefcourt and Robert C. Gottlieb: New York should prosecute Roger Stone

To almost no one’s surprise, days before Roger Stone’s prison sentence was about to begin, President Donald Trump has spared his long-time political crony from the pen — late Friday, Mr. Trump commuted Stone’s sentence. It is time for New York prosecutors to answer this latest assault by Trump on the rule of law: They should ready a state prosecution of Stone.

Bringing a new case against Stone is possible thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature for Assembly Bill 6653. Signed into law last October, AB6653 enables New York district attorneys to prosecute what effectively amounts to certain friends and family of any president who pardoned them for federal convictions. Among the people who can be prosecuted are associates with information relevant to a civil or criminal investigation of the president.
That would be Roger Stone.

Both of us have been criminal defense lawyers in New York for more than 40 years. It is not our habit to advocate prosecuting anyone. But we are defenders of our Constitution first. It is under assault. [..]

Moreover, Stone’s case presents narrow circumstances unique in our history. US presidents have broad powers to pardon and commute sentences. However, here we have federal law enforcement neutralized by a president’s commutation rewarding the cover-up to protect Trump. A state prosecution would put on trial a man we know is guilty.

Far outweighing any legal risk of bringing Stone to justice in New York is the national benefit: Standing up for the rule of law, showing that it survives in the offices of state prosecutors, if not in the White House.

Frieda Ghitis: The two reasons Covid-19 is getting worse in the US

The pandemic of 2020 is ravaging the United States faster every day. While many other developed countries gradually get back to normal, Americans are contracting Covid-19 in numbers that are hard to comprehend, breaking records every day.

Most disturbingly, the number of daily deaths has started to climb again. Counties in Texas, where morgues are running out of space, are asking FEMA for refrigerated trucks to hold the dead. Dozens of states are stopping or rolling back reopening; Michigan has asked the National Guard to stay and continue to help. Texas, whose governor was an early cheerleader for reopening, has extended its disaster declaration.

Why? Why are the European Union, Canada, New Zealand and others flattening the curve while American cannot?

The answer is found in two factors. One is the most dangerous myth surrounding Covid-19: that there is a tradeoff between beating the pandemic and restoring the economy. The other factor is a President who not only appears to believe that fallacy but is prepared to do whatever it takes to conjure a sense of normalcy for the sake of winning re-election.

Pottersville

C’mon, It’s A Wonderful Life. Clarence? Zuzu’s Petals? Buffalo Gal? You can hardly have missed it, before A Christmas Story it ran 24/7 from Thanksgiving to Boxing Day.

It’s a bigger problem than you think. Not only are arrears due in a lump at the expiration of the moratorium, but they’re mostly uncollectable so valuations in derivatives are going to crash like a stone.

We’ve seen this play before in 2007 – 08 for those who have the attention span of a May Fly.

Think I’ll have another Martini. Who was that drunk guy anyway? Said he knew you.

Cartnoon

For more than a Century Il Milione was regarded fantasical fiction but it was all pretty much true and he didn’t see the half of it.

The Breakfast Club (Party of Principle)

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.

This Day in History

Live Aid concerts held in London and Philadelphia; A French revolutionary is stabbed in his bath; Civil War draft riots erupt in New York; A power blackout hits the Big Apple; Actor Harrison Ford born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Continue reading

Mueller Speaks

Which he never does.

Weak Tea if you ask me.

Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so
By Robert S. Mueller III, Washington Post
July 11, 2020

The work of the special counsel’s office — its report, indictments, guilty pleas and convictions — should speak for itself. But I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper, and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office. The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so.

Russia’s actions were a threat to America’s democracy. It was critical that they be investigated and understood. By late 2016, the FBI had evidence that the Russians had signaled to a Trump campaign adviser that they could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to the Democratic candidate. And the FBI knew that the Russians had done just that: Beginning in July 2016, WikiLeaks released emails stolen by Russian military intelligence officers from the Clinton campaign. Other online personas using false names — fronts for Russian military intelligence — also released Clinton campaign emails.

Following FBI Director James B. Comey’s termination in May 2017, the acting attorney general named me as special counsel and directed the special counsel’s office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The order specified lines of investigation for us to pursue, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. One of our cases involved Stone, an official on the campaign until mid-2015 and a supporter of the campaign throughout 2016. Stone became a central figure in our investigation for two key reasons: He communicated in 2016 with individuals known to us to be Russian intelligence officers, and he claimed advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of emails stolen by those Russian intelligence officers.

We now have a detailed picture of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel’s office identified two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton campaign emails, and an online social media campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate. We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.

Uncovering and tracing Russian outreach and interference activities was a complex task. The investigation to understand these activities took two years and substantial effort. Based on our work, eight individuals pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, and more than two dozen Russian individuals and entities, including senior Russian intelligence officers, were charged with federal crimes.

Congress also investigated and sought information from Stone. A jury later determined he lied repeatedly to members of Congress. He lied about the identity of his intermediary to WikiLeaks. He lied about the existence of written communications with his intermediary. He lied by denying he had communicated with the Trump campaign about the timing of WikiLeaks’ releases. He in fact updated senior campaign officials repeatedly about WikiLeaks. And he tampered with a witness, imploring him to stonewall Congress.

The jury ultimately convicted Stone of obstruction of a congressional investigation, five counts of making false statements to Congress and tampering with a witness. Because his sentence has been commuted, he will not go to prison. But his conviction stands.

Russian efforts to interfere in our political system, and the essential question of whether those efforts involved the Trump campaign, required investigation. In that investigation, it was critical for us (and, before us, the FBI) to obtain full and accurate information. Likewise, it was critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from its witnesses. When a subject lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government’s efforts to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. It may ultimately impede those efforts.

We made every decision in Stone’s case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false.

No Sports?

2019 Women’s NCAA Water Polo Championship: Stanford v. USC

2019 Men’s NCAA Water Polo Championship: Stanford v. Pacific

The Breakfast Club (Cold Pizza)

AP’s Today in History for July 12

Julius Caesar born; Walter Mondale taps Geraldine Ferraro as the first woman to run on a major party ticket for the White House; Boris Yeltsin quits the Soviet Communist Party; Oscar Hammerstein born.

Breakfast Tune Hide Head Blues (banjo cover)

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Biden Defends Undying Allegiance to For-Profit Healthcare During Interview With Dying Medicare for All Advocate Ady Barkan
Jon Queally, Common Dreams

After studiously avoiding a face-to-face interview during the Democratic presidential primary, presumptive nominee Joe Biden finally agreed to answer questions from Medicare for All advocate Ady Barkan, a progressive activist who suffers from the terminal and degenerative disease known as ALS.

In a video of their exchange posted online Wednesday, the former vice president defends his commitment to the nation’s private insurance industry and says that while “he fully gets” why so many people are fed up with for-profit insurance companies and the employer-based coverage—and even amid a raging pandemic that many argue has further exposed the system’s cruelty and inefficiencies—he still remains steadfastly opposed to Medicare for All as a viable alternative.

“It’s no secret that I support Medicare for All,” says Barkan about mid-way through their exchange to which Biden interjects: “I don’t.”

During the primary, Barkan was able to interview most of the top Democratic contenders—including Medicare for All champion Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who Barkan later endorsed—but Biden refused to accept repeated invitations.

Finally given a chance to challenge the former vice president with pointed questions on the subject of healthcare, Barkan asks Biden: “Do you see a future where health insurance is no longer tied to employment? Will America ever have a single payer system where health care is guaranteed as a human right?”

“Health care guaranteed as a human right,” Biden responds, “but taking away the right to have a private plan if you want a private plan, I disagree with.”

Healthy California Now, which advocates for both Medicare for All and a state-based single-payer solution, lamented that Biden—”running for president during a global pandemic and economic collapse”—had the ability to look Barkan “in the eye” and tell him “flippantly” he opposes Medicare for All, “the only compassionate and efficient solution” to the national crisis.

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