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.

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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.

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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

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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.

Cartnoon

Because you just can’t have enough Debate, or people in it for that matter.

Surprisingly everyone else was off.

The Breakfast Club (Twilight)

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

John Brown raids Harper’s Ferry; France’s Marie Antoinette beheaded; John Paul II chosen as pope; Chile’s ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet detained; ‘Baby Jessica’ rescued; Novelist James Michener dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such a twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of darkness.

William O. Douglas

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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

Paul Krugman: God Is Now Trump’s Co-Conspirator

Bigotry, both racial and religious, is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

Listening to the speech William Barr, the attorney general, gave last week at the University of Notre Dame Law School, I found myself thinking of the title of an old movie: “God Is My Co-Pilot.” What I realized is that Donald Trump’s minions have now gone that title one better: If Barr’s speech is any indication, their strategy is to make God their boss’s co-conspirator.

Given where we are right now, you might have expected Barr to respond in some way to the events of the past few weeks — the revelation that the president has been calling on foreign regimes to produce dirt on his domestic opponents, the airport arrest of associates of the president’s lawyer as they tried to leave the country on one-way tickets, credible reports that Rudy Giuliani himself is under criminal investigation. [..]

Consider for a moment how inappropriate it is for Barr, of all people, to have given such a speech. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion; the nation’s chief law enforcement officer has no business denouncing those who exercise that freedom by choosing not to endorse any religion.

Michelle Goldberg: Ukraine Has Become a Vibrant Democracy. No Wonder Trump Hates It.

As America joins the axis of autocrats, Ukrainians fear being left alone to face Russia.

When the Ukrainian autocrat Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia after a popular uprising in 2014, thousands of citizens poured into Mezhyhirya, his 340-acre estate on the outskirts of Kiev. [..]

Astonishingly, there was little looting. Instead, Mezhyhirya was preserved as a sort of memorial to the corruption Ukrainians have endured. Its grounds are a park where families stroll; on a visit there last week, I saw a newly married couple posing for pictures. For about $20, a veteran of the revolution will take visitors on a tour of the main house, carefully pointing out every luxurious detail financed with public money.

Mezhyhirya is a reminder of how far the country has come in the five and a half years since what Ukrainians call the Revolution of Dignity. Certainly, Ukraine has manifold problems, but today it’s a remarkably vibrant, multiethnic democracy in a region full of aggressive nationalism and authoritarian backsliding. That makes it all the more contemptible that Donald Trump has leveraged American support for Ukraine to try to make its new president open investigations that would help Trump politically. Ukraine is a country struggling to transcend its history of corruption, and Trump has tried to make it behave more corruptly.

Charles M. Blow Trumpism’s Infinite Vulgarities

Republicans have come to accept what they once professed to abhor.

The terrains of acceptability and respectability have shifted under the American conservative.

That which was once forbidden is now embraced. That which they once condemned they cheer. Conservatism has been unveiled in all its craven glory. No longer is it shrouded behind morality, small government, traditional values and spending concerns.

President Trump is the new doctrine, and Republicans bought it. There is no amount of cruelty or crudeness he can display that Republicans won’t cheer and defend. His corruption has become theirs.

And, it is possible that Trump is growing bolder in his coarseness, and it is revealed that there is precious little that will shake loose his base and its blind devotion to him.

Eugene Robinson: What can a black person do to keep from getting killed by police in this country?

This is a serious question: What can a black person do to keep from getting killed by police in this country?

Driving-while-black has long been potentially a capital offense, as witnessed by the case of Philando Castile, who was shot to death. Driving-while-black got Walter Scott Tasered, but it was running-away-while-black that got him fatally shot in the back. Walking-while-black is what attracted attention to Michael Brown, who was also shot to death. Standing-while-black was enough to get Eric Garner choked to death.

Now it appears that staying-home-while-black is also such a threatening activity that might kill you for it.

That is what happened last year to Botham Jean, who was sitting in his Dallas apartment when off-duty officer Amber Guyger burst in and killed him. And it’s what apparently happened Saturday to Atatiana Jefferson, who was playing video games with her nephew in her Fort Worth home when a officer fired through a window and shot her dead.

Catherine Rampell: Is this Barr’s cry for help?

On Friday, in a closed-door speech at the University of Notre Dame, Attorney General William P. Barr talked at length about a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”

The alleged perpetrator of this campaign?

“Militant secularists,” who insist upon keeping government institutions free from the influence of any faith or creed.

To be clear: This was not merely an affirmation — delivered by a devout Catholic, while visiting a Catholic university — of how privately taught religious values can contribute to character development or stronger communities.

No. This appeared to be a tacit endorsement of theocracy.[..]

There are two ways to read these remarks, which were one of three speeches by administration officials in recent days on Christianity’s role in U.S. governance.

One reaction: They’re terrifying. This man who swore to uphold the Constitution has apparently forgotten its prohibition on state establishment of religion. Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer — the person ultimately responsible for ensuring equal treatment under the law — appears to be demonizing anyone who does not share his religious and political values.

But there’s also another, more encouraging way to interpret Barr’s comments: Maybe it was all just one giant, coded subtweet of the boss.

Jonathan Chiat being not entirely useless.

I know. I’m just as shocked as you are.

Basically he summarizes 7 Articles and 82 Counts of Impeachable conduct by Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio-

I. Abusing Power for Political Gain

Explanation: The single most dangerous threat to any democratic system is that the ruling party will use its governing powers to entrench itself illegitimately.

II. Mishandling Classified Information

Explanation: As he does with many other laws, the president enjoys broad immunity from regulations on the proper handling of classified information, allowing him to take action that would result in felony convictions for other federal employees. President Trump’s mishandling of classified information is not merely careless but a danger to national security.

III. Undermining Duly Enacted Federal Law

Explanation: President Trump has abused his authority either by distorting the intent of laws passed by Congress or by flouting them. He has directly ordered subordinates to violate the law and has promised pardons in advance, enabling him and his staff to operate with impunity. In these actions, he has undermined Congress’s constitutional authority to make laws.

IV. Obstruction of Congress

Explanation: The executive branch and Congress are co-equal, each intended to guard against usurpation of authority by the other. Trump has refused to acknowledge any legitimate oversight function of Congress, insisting that because Congress has political motivations, it is disqualified from it. His actions and rationale strike at the Constitution’s design of using the political ambitions of the elected branches to check one another.

V. Obstruction of Justice

Explanation: By virtue of his control over the federal government’s investigative apparatus, the president (along with the attorney general) is uniquely well positioned to cover up his own misconduct. Impeachment is the sole available remedy for a president who uses his powers of office to hold himself immune from legal accountability. In particular, the pardon power gives the president almost unlimited authority to obstruct investigations by providing him with a means to induce the silence of co-conspirators.

VI. Profiting From Office

Explanation: Federal employees must follow strict rules to prevent them from being influenced by any financial conflict. Conflict-of-interest rules are less clear for a sitting president because all presidential misconduct will be resolved by either reelection or impeachment. If Trump held any position in the federal government below the presidency, he would have been fired for his obvious conflicts. His violations are so gross and blatant they merit impeachment.

VII. Fomenting Violence

Explanation: One of the unspoken roles of the president is to serve as a symbolic head of state. Presidents have very wide latitude for their political rhetoric, but Trump has violated its bounds, exceeding in his viciousness the rhetoric of Andrew Johnson (who was impeached in part for the same offense).

Feel Free to add your own!

Cartnoon

“I cast my vote for… Elizabeth Swan.”

Prepare every vessel that floats. At dawn, we’re at war.

Hey, Pirate King.

The Breakfast Club (Selfishness)

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

Convicted Nazi war criminal Herman Goering commits suicide behind bars; World War I spy Mata Hari executed; Nikita Khrushchev ousted as Soviet Union’s leader; ‘I Love Lucy’ premieres on TV.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

John Kenneth Galbraith

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