Fifth Child Dead

There are people who think I exaggerate when I compare the United States to Nazi Germany.

5th migrant child dies after detention by US border agents
by NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press
May 20, 2019

A 16-year-old boy from Guatemala who died in U.S. custody Monday had been held for six days — twice as long as federal law generally permits — then transferred to another holding facility after he was diagnosed with the flu.

The teenager, identified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, was the fifth minor from Guatemala to die after being apprehended by U.S. border agents since December.

Advocates demanded that President Donald Trump’s administration act to safeguard the lives of children in detention as border crossings surge and the U.S. Border Patrol detains thousands of families at a time in overcrowded facilities, tents, and outdoor spaces.

“We should all be outraged and demand that those responsible for his well-being be held accountable,” said Efrén Olivares, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

“If these were white children that were dying at this rate, people would be up in arms,” he said. “We see this callous disregard for brown, Spanish-speaking children.”

ohn Sanders, CBP’s acting commissioner, said in a statement that his agency was “saddened by the tragic loss of this young man and our condolences are with his family.”

“CBP is committed to the health, safety and humane treatment of those in our custody,” Sanders said.

Border Patrol agents said Carlos was apprehended on May 13 in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley after crossing the border illegally. He was taken to the agency’s central processing center in McAllen, Texas, a converted warehouse where hundreds of adults and children are held in large, fenced-in pens and sleep on mats.

CBP said Carlos was processed as a minor unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Federal law and CBP’s guidelines generally require that unaccompanied youth be transferred within three days to a facility operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A CBP official who declined to be named in order to brief reporters said Carlos was awaiting transfer to HHS custody on Thursday, three days after his apprehension. At the time of his death, Carlos was supposed to be sent to Southwest Key Casa Padre, a 1,400-person facility inside an old Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, the official said.

Mark Weber, a spokesman for HHS, did not address in a statement why the teenager wasn’t transferred sooner, but said a “minority of cases exceeding 72 hours have generally involved exceptional circumstances.”

CBP said Carlos reported early Sunday morning that he was not feeling well and diagnosed with the flu by a nurse practitioner.

He was prescribed the medicine Tamiflu, then transferred later Sunday to the Border Patrol station at Weslaco, Texas, to prevent his flu from spreading to other detainees.

He was not hospitalized, according to the agency official who briefed reporters. The official said CBP facilities have medical providers who can monitor detainees, though the official did not know what specific symptoms Carlos had.

Carlos had last been checked an hour before he was found unresponsive.

The U.S. government has faced months of scrutiny over its care of children it apprehends at the border. A 2-year-old child died last week after he and his mother were detained by the Border Patrol. The agency says it took the child to the hospital the same day the mother reported he was sick, and he was hospitalized for several weeks.

On April 30, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died after officials at an HHS detention facility noticed that he was sick. He was hospitalized in intensive care for several days before his death.

After the deaths of two children ages 7 and 8 in December, the DHS ordered medical checks of all children in its custody and expanded medical screenings.

“If these were white children that were dying at this rate, people would be up in arms. We see this callous disregard for brown, Spanish-speaking children.”

Oh, let’s expand that to all Brown people, Spanish speaking or not, children or not.

Border Patrol Agent Charged With Hitting Guatemalan Man With Truck Had Called Migrants “Subhuman” and “Savages”
By Molly Olmstead, Slate
May 20, 2019

Bowen believed migrants are “disgusting subhuman shit unworthy of being kindling for a fire,” according to the documents. “PLEASE let us take the gloves off trump!” he said in another text to fellow agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, who at the time was facing murder and manslaughter charges for shooting through the border fence in Nogales in 2012, hitting 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, who had been allegedly throwing rocks toward the agents, 10 times. (Swartz was acquitted.) Bowen also texted Swartz in 2017 that rock throwers were “mindless murdering savages.”

Federal prosecutors, in filing the documents, were asking a judge to allow the texts as evidence of his attitude toward the migrants he apprehends at the border. But according to Bowen’s defense attorney, certain terms are “commonplace throughout the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency’s culture, and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen’s mind-set,” according to the Daily Star.

Other examples the prosecutors give are equally offensive. In one, someone asks Bowen, “Did you gas hiscorpse or just use regular peanut oil while tazing?? For a frying effect.” To which Bowen responds, “Guats are best made crispy with an olive oil from their native pais.” In another, sent before the December 2017 incident, he complained that Border Patrol was a “failed agency” because “we are treated like shit, prosecuted for doing what it takes to arrest these savages….” (He said he would also miss the “chase of hunting down shitbags with your crew.”)

Bowen has a record of alleged violence on the job, according to the Daily Star. In one instance, he was accused of searching a car without probable cause, pulling the car’s occupant out forcefully, and throwing him to the ground. One agent alleged Bowen “tackled” a migrant to the ground after the migrant had stopped running, busting the migrant’s lip. One migrant said Bowen had pulled him from the ground by handcuffs after he had tripped, injuring his wrists. Another migrant said that while he was handcuffed in a vehicle Bowen was driving, Bowen suddenly and intentionally slammed on the brakes, causing the migrant to be injured when he was thrown forward into the dashboard.

The incident that led to his charges occurred when he and two other Border Patrol agents chased down a man who appeared to have jumped the border fence near the Mariposa Port of Entry, according to a sworn affidavit filed by a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General. As the man, 23-year-old Antolin Lopez Aguilar, ran back toward the port of entry after being found at a gas station parking lot, Bowen allegedly “accelerated aggressively into a position behind the running Lopez Aguilar” and struck the man twice with his Ford F-150, knocking him to the ground. The truck “came to a full stop within inches of running Lopez-Aguilar over where he lay on the ground,” according to the special agent.

Lopez was taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries and sentenced the next day to 30 days in federal prison for illegally crossing the border, according to the Daily Star. After Bowen learned he was being investigated over the incident, he sent a memo to the chief patrol agent arguing he had been unfamiliar with the truck’s acceleration and had not intended to actually hit Lopez, according to prosecutors.

“Commonplace throughout the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, that it is part of the agency’s culture, and therefore says nothing about Mr. Bowen’s mind-set.”

Did you hear the one about the Jew, the Gypsy, and the Gay on the way to the Gas Chamber?

Are you happy living downwind of the Camps, Good German?

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

Jill Wine-Banks: The Balance Has Shifted: The Data on Impeachment Favor Moving Ahead

Sidney Blumenthal’s opinion piece in Just Security has rightly provoked a lively conversation about the impeachability of President Donald Trump. More importantly, it solves the political conundrum at the center of the debate about how to balance the potential political impact of impeachment on the 2020 election with the moral and constitutional obligations of Congress to hold this president accountable in the face of the corruption and wrongdoing reported in the Mueller Report and the nightly news.

As one of the Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutors, I have first-hand knowledge of the evidence that proved President Richard Nixon’s guilt of obstruction of justice as set forth in articles of impeachment. I helped draft the Road Map that the House Judiciary Committee used to build its impeachment case against Nixon. I also closely observed my mentor at the Department of Justice, Chuck Ruff, who served as White House Counsel during the Clinton impeachment. Now, as an MSNBC Legal Analyst, I have had a front row seat to the mounting case against President Trump. For these reasons, I want to share my thinking and conclusions on this critical topic.

In my opinion, Blumenthal’s piece changes the balance to favor Congress acting now. His data decimate the major impediment to holding Trump accountable – the fear that this president would be strengthened by a House vote for impeachment with no conviction by the Senate. Contrary to popular belief, Blumenthal lays out a clear case that President Clinton did not benefit from impeachment and that comparisons to Clinton are highly misplaced. Clinton was at 66% approval before and after impeachment. Impeachment neither improved nor diminished his standing. He was popular before impeachment and just as popular afterward, whereas Trump’s approval ratings are at a stunningly low 39 percent and dropping. Indeed, Trump has never achieved even a 50% approval. This means that fears of holding Trump accountable via an impeachment inquiry are unfounded, leaving just the question of whether the evidence supports proceeding. The answer to that is a resounding, almost deafening, yes.

Robert Reich: The Trump economy is hurting most Americans. Statistics won’t fool voters

he award for this year’s Biggest Backhanded Compliment to Trump goes to White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who recently predicted a Trump victory in 2020 because “people will vote for somebody they don’t like if they think it’s good for them”.

Trump is the least popular president to run for re-election in the history of polling but Mulvaney thinks Americans will vote for him anyway because unemployment has hit a 50-year low, wages are rising and economic growth exceeds 3%. A CNN poll released in early May shows 56% of Americans approve Trump’s handling of the economy. [..]

It is possible, of course, that the economy will take a dive before election day, especially in light of Trump’s trade wars and the global economic slowdown. But it’s more likely that the recovery that began in 2009 will continue, even though Trump isn’t responsible for it.

Yet there’s a difference between how Americans view the overall economy and how they see their own personal economy. That difference has widened in recent years as more people get into financial trouble even as the economy soars.

Which means the official economic statistics have less relevance to what people tell each other over the kitchen table when they’re trying to pay the bills.

And it’s this kitchen-table economics – not the official statistics – that drives votes.

Continue reading

Junk Science

Bad Evidence
by Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith, The Intercept
May 5 2019

As an alternative theme for the 2019 AAFS (American Academy of Forensic Sciences) meeting, “complacency kills” might not have been half bad, at least if anyone had wished to inject some urgency into things. The Baltimore event began amid an ongoing crisis within forensic science that remained woefully unresolved. When we first wrote about the AAFS for The Intercept following its 2016 conference in Las Vegas, we encountered an embattled field facing rising public scrutiny over some of its most cherished and longstanding disciplines. Wrongful convictions rooted in junk science, crime labs embroiled in scandal, and a devastating revelation about the FBI’s hair microscopy division in 2015 had turned the image of forensics popularized by shows like “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on its head. The implications of the FBI scandal were particularly alarming. Hair analysts testifying on the stand had made erroneous statements in at least 33 death penalty cases, according to the agency. “Nine of these defendants have already been executed and five died of other causes while on death row.”

But whereas there was some reason in Vegas to feel optimistic about the prospects for reform — the theme that year was “Transformation: Embracing Change” — things have seemed to go backward since then. A report critiquing the scientific validity of certain forensic techniques, released by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in the fall of 2016, met with aggressive pushback by the FBI and Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. Then there was the election of Donald Trump and the elevation of Jeff Sessions, who put a halt on a number of federal initiatives that were just starting to get underway.

Much of the recent upheaval in the forensics world can be traced back to a landmark study released by the National Academy of Sciences in 2009. Titled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” the report questioned the scientific basis for virtually every forensic discipline used to convict people and send them to prison. With the exception of DNA analysis, it found, “no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.”

The NAS report was particularly damning for the so-called pattern-matching disciplines, in which an analyst examines a piece of evidence — say a bloody fingerprint found at a crime scene — and tries to match it to a sample belonging to a suspect. At AAFS, where forensic areas are divided into 11 different sections, many members of such fields responded with a mix of denial and defiance. While some practitioners took up the call issued by the NAS report — the fingerprint community, for example, has worked to develop objective comparison methods and determine error rates — others insisted the old ways of doing things were just fine.

Oh, what are those “old ways”? John Oliver is happy to describe them.

Now keep in mind The Intercept report is about “Medical Examiners”, presumably Physicians or people with Degrees, not the vast majority of “Coroners”, many of whom are Morticians (or in other words Cosmetologists for Dead People).

There’s been a fair amount of change since the report’s release, and the National Commission on Forensic Science, of which King was a member, made a number of recommendations that were adopted — including a ban on practitioners using the phrase “reasonable degree of scientific certainty” when testifying about their confidence in the matches they’ve made. The terminology has no meaning outside the courtroom and yet suggests a strong scientific foundation that cannot be said about most forensic practices. Yet a number of promised reforms have not materialized.

At the 2016 conference in Las Vegas, then-Deputy Attorney General and NCFS co-chair Sally Yates announced that the DOJ would be conducting a “stress test” on various disciplines performed in the FBI lab — not because there were any particular concerns, she was quick to say, but as a means of ensuring “the public’s ongoing confidence in the work we do.” The decision seemed a prudent one, given the alarming results of a joint review of thousands of FBI hair analysis cases, which revealed that FBI analysts had overstated their conclusions 95 percent of the time. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that there were problems with the underlying science,” Yates explained to the plenary audience. “It means that the probative value of the scientific evidence wasn’t always properly communicated to juries.”

Seven months later, Lynch announced that she was adopting the NCFS recommendations on testimonial language, but that wider stress test simply never happened. “We were doing great until the Trump administration came about and … the things that were happening at the federal level, the policy stuff and so on, that came to a screeching halt,” said Alicia Carriquiry, a professor of statistics at Iowa State University and director of the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence.

Carriquiry says that conversations happening among stakeholders and the DOJ just fizzled out after Trump was elected and Sessions was brought on board. And the NCFS wasn’t the only advisory panel to get the hook. While Trump continued the PCAST on paper, he hasn’t appointed any members to it. In December 2018, the DOJ disbanded its Science Advisory Board, which provided input to the department on what types of research — including in forensics — it should fund.

Even gains that had been made in curbing unsupportable testimony have since weakened, she said. “When the DOJ was under the Obama administration there were conversations. In fact, I participated in many of those where we would sit with the DOJ people and think about the type of language that should come out of crime labs and what type of reviews we should be doing of the disciplines,” she said. “The second Sessions came on board those initiatives were killed dead.”

It wasn’t just that things stopped. “Worse, you know. They’re trying to walk back many of the things we were making progress on,” she said. “For example, we had come to some sort of an agreement about the fact that we were going to do a broad review of the disciplines.” But when the Trump administration took over the attitude was, “‘What review?’ So that was completely done. Then we had come to an agreement on the type of language that should be used in reporting and testimony. That was squashed and the language went back to exactly what it used to be.”

So, what is real science? It must have a refutable hypothesis meaning If I assert the Sun rises in the East it damn well better. It must be predictive meaning it should happen tomorrow just the same. It must be replicable meaning that you can go outside your house at 5:30 am and look around and watch the Sun rise just the same as I can (unless it’s raining).

Oh, and it should be Peer Reviewed and published in a reputable Academic Journal. That’s kind of overrated according to Aristotle and Ptolemy who both got rave reviews and were catastrophically wrong about nearly everything though the Math was beautiful.


As its run is now finished you can hardly accuse me of spoilers. I’m somewhat puzzled by those who object to the heel turn of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains (I like to call her ‘Kal’ for short as Danny seems a little too familiar).

My main objection to their arguments is there is a certain anachronicity in leadership standards. While I could cite you numerous Biblical massacres (every man, woman, and child) it’s a fairly common signal that the next time I come knocking at your door you best answer.

Here’s an example from completely uncontroversial, well accepted History- Alexander’s Siege of Tyre. You can go there today and see the Mole so I’d say there’s a better than 50% chance it actually happened (I have driven across the causeway to Sears and Oak Islands and my feet are noticeably dry).

All seem rather gruesome and bloodthirsty? Sure, but we don’t have to fight Romans in Teutoburger Wald.


The Breakfast Club (Lie Us Into War)

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

Charles Lindbergh begins his trans-Atlantic flight; Amelia Earhart starts her trek across the Atlantic; Freedom Riders attacked in the South; Explorer Christopher Columbus, comedienne Gilda Radner die.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. George Orwell

Continue reading

Six In The Morning Monday 20 May 2019

Huawei’s use of Android restricted by Google

Google has barred the world’s second biggest smartphone maker, Huawei, from some updates to the Android operating system, dealing a blow to the Chinese company.

New designs of Huawei smartphones are set to lose access to some Google apps.

The move comes after the Trump administration added Huawei to a list of companies that American firms cannot trade with unless they have a licence.

Google said it was “complying with the order and reviewing the implications”.

Huawei said it would continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.

Julian Assange: Sweden files request for arrest over rape allegation

Prosecutor asks for warrant to begin process of extraditing WikiLeaks founder from UK

The Swedish prosecutor heading an investigation into a rape allegation against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has filed a request with a local court for him to be detained in absentia.

If granted, the court order would be the first step in a process to have Assange extradited from Britain, where he is serving a 50-week sentence for skipping bail.

Sweden reopened the rape investigation last week. It was begun in 2010 but dropped in 2017 after Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Al-Jazeera suspends two journalists over ‘Holocaust denying’ video

The Qatari broadcaster has come under fire for a controversial video about the Holocaust. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it represented “the worst kind of pernicious evil.”

Qatari broadcaster al-Jazeera on Sunday announced its decision to suspend two of its journalists “over violations of its editorial guidelines” for an Arabic-language video about the Holocaust.

“Al-Jazeera completely disowns the offensive content in question,” said Yaser Bishr, executive director of the broadcaster’s digital division. “Al-Jazeera would not tolerate such material on any of the Network’s platforms.”

Frenchman to be taken off life support in controversial right-to-die case

Doctors were due from Monday to start switching off the life support of a quadriplegic Frenchman who has been in a vegetative state for the last decade, in a case that has divided France and even his own family.

But the parents of Vincent Lambert have launched last ditch challenges to the court decision to halt the nutrition and hydration he receives in the Sebastopol Hospital in the northern French city of Reims.

The patient’s doctor, Vincent Sanchez, is due to start switching off the support systems from Monday, according to Lambert’s parents.

African samurai: The enduring legacy of a black warrior in feudal Japan

Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT) May 20, 2019

When feudal Japan’s most powerful warlord Nobunaga Oda met Yasuke, a black slave-turned-retainer, in 1581, he believed the man was a god.

Oda had never seen an African before. And like the locals in Japan’s then-capital of Kyoto, he was awed by Yasuke’s height, build and skin tone, according to Thomas Lockley, the author of “African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan.”
“When Yasuke got to Kyoto (with Jesuit missionaries), there was a massive riot. People wanted to see him and be in his presence,” says Lockley, who spent nine years researching and writing the book, which was published last month.
States aren’t waiting for the Trump administration on environmental protections

May 19 at 7:14 PM


More than a dozen states are moving to strengthen environmental protections to combat a range of issues from climate change to water pollution, opening a widening rift between stringent state policies and the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda.

In recent months, Hawaii, New York and California have moved to ban a widely used agricultural pesticide linked to neurological problems in children, even as the administration has resisted such restrictions. Michigan and New Jersey are pushing to restrict a ubiquitous class of chemical compounds that have turned up in drinking water, saying they can no longer wait for the Environmental Protection Agency to take action.

Colorado and New Mexico have adopted new policies targeting greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel drilling and limiting where these operations can take place. And more than a dozen states have adopted policies that would force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars than required by federal standards.







In Memoriam: Grump Cat ( (April 4, 2012 – May 14, 2019)

In is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Grumpy Cat, who entertained millions on-line, at the age of seven.

Grumpy Cat, whose sourpuss expression entertained millions on the internet and spawned hundreds of memes, national television commercials and even a movie, died at age 7.

Her owners posted on social media that she experienced complications from a urinary tract infection. “She passed away peacefully on the morning of Tuesday, May 14, at home in the arms of her mommy, Tabatha,” they wrote.

“Grumpy Cat has helped millions of people smile all around the world — even when times were tough,” her owners said.

The cat’s real name was Tardar Sauce and the owners were never sure what her breed was. Her website said her grumpy look was likely because she had a form of feline dwarfism. They said despite her face, she is cuddly and loved to be held and rubbed.

She rose to fame after her photos were posted on Reddit in 2012. Her owners said it was suggested the photo was a fake, so they posted a few videos to prove otherwise.

Since then, Grumpy Cat made appearances on “Good Morning America,” ″CBS Evening News,” even “American Idol” and “The Bachelorette.” She’s done television commercials for Honey Nut Cheerios and took photos with hundreds of fans at South by Southwest.

She will be remember in the hearts of millions. Rest in peace, sweet kitty, TMC

Episode 21

So SNL is done for another season and won’t be back until mid-September. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, I travel summers and my output is occasionally sketchy. The problem it poses is what kind of Sunday content do I replace it with?

More Muppets!

Grace and Frankie

50 Years of Computing


Game Show!


Netflix and Chill

You Break It, You Bought It.

Oh, you want news


Gangsta – Kehlani

Sweet but Psycho – Ava Max

You Don’t Own Me – Grace featuring G-Eazy

Inspired by Harley Quinn. You wouldn’t know unless I told you.

The Breakfast Club (Misunderstood)

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 May 19th


Actress Marilyn Monroe sings a sultry ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy; Black militant Malcolm X born; Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dies; The Who’s Pete Townshend born.


Breakfast Tune Misunderstood (Pete Townshend cover)



Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below


Bipartisanship: How Congress Came Together To Screw The Poor, Again
Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney, Huffington Post

For most people, filing taxes is supposed to be free and easy. Instead, the vast majority of Americans pay a fee to a private tax preparer each year. We owe this annual ripoff to one of the most celebrated and misunderstood practices in American politics: bipartisanship.

Despite all the talk about widening political divides, Congress has approved thousands and thousands of pages of bipartisan legislation over the past decade ― everything from patent reform to Pentagon budgets to bank deregulation. We don’t remember these bipartisan bills as significant achievements for a simple reason. Most of them are terrible legislation, throwing money at corporate interests, often to subvert a genuine public interest.

Last month, in a fit of bipartisan comity, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would solidify corporate America’s control over online tax filing ― an arrangement already rated by an independent watchdog as one of the IRS’s “most serious problems.” But the handout didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. Lawmakers were trying to undo a different bipartisan giveaway from the Obama years ― a government-backed bonanza for debt collection agencies that targeted the poor. With their recent legislative push, Democrats and Republicans were setting aside their differences, screwing the poor in order to stop screwing the poor.

While you can’t tell from the official record ― nobody voted against the IRS bill ― the unexpected furor surrounding the legislation has left several Democrats on Capitol Hill privately fuming, setting off an intraparty spat that tells us a lot about how the new House Democratic majority plans to govern ― or misgovern ― with their Republican colleagues.










Something to think about over coffee prozac


Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview EditionPondering the Punditsis 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: former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO); and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).

The roundtable guests are: BC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl; former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); and Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson.

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Her panel guests are: Peter Baker, The New York Times; Kristen Soltis Anderson, Washington Examiner; Jamelle Bouie, The New York Times; and Ed Wong, The New York Times.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).

The panel guests are: Rich Lowry, National Review; former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitiano; Heidi Przybyla, NBC political reporter; and Eugene Robinson, Washington Post columnist.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT); and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).

His panel guests are: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); Democratic strategist Bakari Sellers; former Rep. Mia Love (R-UT); and otherwise unemployable hack, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Six In The Morning Sunday 19 May 2019

2019 Australia election: Morrison’s coalition seeking shock majority

Final results are being counted in Australia where Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes his victory in Saturday’s election will give him a majority government.

His conservative coalition has defied the polls and now needs to win three more seats to seal a shock majority.

“I have always believed in miracles,” Mr Morrison told supporters in his victory speech on Saturday night.

Exit polls had predicted a Labor Party win for the first time in six years.

Dalai Lama lets slip how India vetoed his meeting with China’s leader in 2014

President Xi appeared open to discussing Tibet but the Dalai Lama’s hosts in Delhi were not so keen, a book reveals

China’s President Xi Jinping agreed to meet the Dalai Lama during a state visit to India in 2014, but the plan was quashed by Delhi, the Buddhist spiritual leader has said.

The bombshell claim, which could signal that in the early years of his term Xi was open to the most radical shift in China’s Tibet policy in decades, was made during an interview for a book by Indian journalist Sonia Singh, an executive at the Delhi-based television channel NDTV.

The Dalai Lama appeared to let the detail slip casually in the November 2018 interview, according to an audio recording the Observer has heard.

AustriaThe Strache Recordings – The whole Story

In a secret recording from 2017 obtained by DER SPIEGEL, Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party is heard discussing a deal with a purported Russian millionaire to trade state contracts for campaign support. By DER SPIEGEL Staff

A snow-white vacation house on a hill, a few kilometers from Ibiza Town. Three bedrooms, four bathrooms, an outdoor pool and a separate guest house with around 500 square meters (5,382 square feet) of living space for 1,000 euros a night.

The group mingling on the terrace on the evening of July 24, 2017, drinking champagne, eating tuna tartare and sushi, was discussing delicate topics: How could they make sure that a Russian investor was awarded contracts from Austrian businesses and the government?

Saudi Arabia calls urgent summit with Gulf and Arab League leaders

Saudi Arabia has called for urgent meetings of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to discuss escalating tensions in the region, the kingdom’s official news agency said on Saturday.

The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Salman had invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.

Tensions have soared in the Gulf, with the United States deploying an aircraft carrier and bombers there over alleged threats from Iran.

What are China’s naval goals? The West can’t wait to find out

By Carl Schuster

It’s no secret that China’s navy has experienced unprecedented growth, rapid modernization and an expanded range of operations over the past 15 years — and this has raised concerns about the country’s ultimate intentions.

At a conference earlier this month, more than 200 naval experts gathered at the United States Naval War College to discuss these concerns and the broader challenges posed by China’s expanded naval power.
One expert, the US Pacific Fleet’s former intelligence chief, retired Navy Capt. James Fanell noted that China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN for short, has commissioned nearly four times as many ships as the US Navy over the last decade.

IS THAT WHAT we think it is?” gasped a woman on the Patriot Caravan. The MAGA- and Trump-hatted group of about 25 people were on a walking tour of the U.S.-Mexico border in the desert near El Paso, Texas. It was led by a large, garrulous man named Jim Benvie, a member of the Guardian Patriots, which used to be the United Constitutional Patriots, or UCP.

“Oh sh … It might be the coyotes bringing them in!” said another woman.

“It is what you think it is,” said Benvie. As he lectured about immigrants invading America to the caravan members and the livestream audience on his phone, Benvie gazed south, past parched hills and rocky outcrops, past an invisible line dividing the U.S. from Mexico.

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