The Breakfast Club (Mother Nature)

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

Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated; Taliban regime flees Afghan capital; President Bill Clinton to pay Paula Jones; Alabama’s top judge removed amid Ten Commandments flap; ‘Lion King’ opens on Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

That’s the thing about Mother Nature, she really doesn’t care what economic bracket you’re in.

Whoopi Goldberg

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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: Bursting the Billionaire Bubble

No, America isn’t waiting for a tycoon savior.

Immense wealth isn’t good for your reality sense.

Billionaires aren’t necessarily bad people, and most of them probably aren’t. However, some are, and my unscientific sense is that billionaires are more likely than the rest of us to exhibit bad judgment warped by runaway egos, especially in the political sphere.

It’s not hard to see why: Great wealth attracts people eager to tell an extremely rich man (or woman, but political egotism is mainly a male thing) what he wants to hear. In the political arena this means telling billionaires both that their lavish financial rewards are a mere fraction of the vast contribution they have made to society, and that the public is clamoring for them to take their rightful role as leaders.

Put it this way: These days, many political factions are accused, with varying degrees of justice, of living in some kind of bubble, out of touch with American reality. But few live as thoroughly in a bubble as the billionaire class and its hangers-on.

And now the billionaires in the bubble find themselves in an environment in which concerns about soaring inequality, about the extraordinary concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, finally seem to be getting political traction. And they’re not handling it well.

Michael Tomasky: Bill Gates, I Implore You to Connect Some Dots

Bloomberg, Dimon and Gates call liberal tax ideas unfair. But excessive wealth is the real threat.

The billionaire class has begun unloading on Elizabeth Warren. A few days ago, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase — at just $1.6 billion in net worth, a comparative piker — said Senator Warren “vilifies successful people.” Then Bill Gates ($107 billion), in an onstage interview with The Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, mused about what his tax bill might be in a Warren presidency and left the door open to voting for Donald Trump should Democrats nominate Ms. Warren. And then Michael Bloomberg ($52 billion), who had previously criticized Ms. Warren as anti-corporate, signaled his intention to jump into the race, obviously out of concern at her rise.

I’m not expert enough to judge the wisdom of Senator Warren’s proposed wealth tax. I know that there are questions about its constitutionality and that several European nations tried a similar approach and found it unworkable (though four countries still have it). I don’t get why the candidates aren’t simply proposing to increase marginal income tax rates on dollars earned above some very high figure. That seems a lot more straightforward to me.

So this column is not a brief for Ms. Warren’s wealth tax or for her candidacy — I don’t have a preferred candidate. Instead, I want to make a simple plea to the country’s billionaires: Multibillion-dollar fortunes are often called excessive and decadent. But here’s something they’re rarely called but ought to be: anti-democratic. These fortunes will destroy our democracy.

Michelle Goldberg: To Exonerate Trump, Republicans Embrace Russian Disinformation

In this week’s impeachment hearings, expect a lot of G.O.P. conspiracy theorizing.

On Friday, House investigators released the transcript of the former National Security Council official Fiona Hill’s testimony from last month. It showed a Republican staff member trying and failing to get Hill to concede that there might be some validity to the conspiracy theories underlying Donald Trump’s demands of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. [..]

A few of Trump’s more responsible aides have reportedly tried to disabuse him of Ukraine conspiracy theories, to no avail. Instead it appears that House Republicans, out of slavish fealty to the president, are going to use high-profile hearings to amplify them.

In her testimony, Hill seemed to warn Republicans off their current path. She mentioned the report issued last month by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee about how Russia used online propaganda to boost Trump in 2016. “If we have people running around chasing rabbit holes because Rudy Giuliani or others have been feeding information to The Hill, Politico, we are not going to be prepared as a country to push back on this again,” she said. “The Russians thrive on misinformation and disinformation.” Unfortunately, so do Trump’s defenders.

 
Eugene Robinson: Rank partisan solidarity is all Trump’s defenders have left

If President Trump is impeached by the House without the vote of a single Republican, you know what? He’ll still be impeached, and for good reason.

The same will be true if every Republican senator votes to acquit him. Partisan GOP solidarity might keep Trump in office — for another year — but it neither changes the facts as we know them nor absolves Congress of its constitutional responsibility. A decision by Republicans to put party loyalty ahead of the national interest cannot be allowed to derail this necessary process.

Would a “partisan” impeachment divide the country? If you haven’t noticed, the nation is pretty divided already. It’s understandable to worry about the reaction of the nearly 45 percent of Americans who, according to the FiveThirtyEight average of polls, oppose impeachment and removal. But what about the 48 percent who support it?

I put the word partisan in quotes because the House, in constitutional terms, is acting not as “House Democrats” but as the House itself. The fact that the Democratic Party holds the majority does not absolve Speaker Nancy Pelosi or any other House member of the duty to hold Trump accountable for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” If Trump grossly abused his power and committed bribery in his dealings with Ukraine, as evidence strongly indicates, the House has no choice.

Tribalistic party identity is basically all the president’s defenders have left.

Catherine Rampell: We thought Trump was the biggest con man. We were all wrong.

Many of President Trump’s critics (myself included) have portrayed him as a fantastically successful con artist, a man who has swindled customers, vendors and voters alike.

We were all wrong. Trump isn’t history’s biggest scam artist; he’s history’s biggest dupe.

At least, that’s the narrative Trump and his defenders are spinning as they portray the president as the victim of an elaborate, long-running political sting, perpetrated by his own devious underlings.

Trump claimed once upon a time that he was recruiting the “best people” to the White House and senior ranks of the executive branch. He now claims he got conned into hiring a cabal of covert Never Trumpers.

The list of people who allegedly hustled the master hustler is long, an “Ocean’s Eleven”-like dream team carefully cultivated to undermine their guileless boss. But rather than ninjas, pickpockets or pyromaniacs, this political heist has been perpetrated by diplomats, donors, lawyers, economists and generals who earned and then abused the trust of their mark. [..]

These connivers have been astoundingly effective. Somehow they’ve tricked Trump into saying and doing racist and corrupt things, in public and on camera. They hoodwinked him into passing economic policies that punish his working-class base while rewarding wealthy donors. And, worst of all — in the case of Ukraine — these schemers suckered Trump into subordinating U.S. national security to his own selfish political interests.

Either that or they cleverly framed him.

Cartnoon

I’m sorry.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered faithful readers, I disapprove of reality shows that don’t revolve around actual stuff like pushing dirt or cleaning up downstream of Tilapia farms (they actually have their own methods of clearing their pens, it’s no different from Lobsters really).

I am sad/happy to report Sean Spicer is no longer a contender for the 2019 Title of Dancing With The Stars.

I’m not actually clear who the star is since I think that only a fraction of a hard core 40% recognize him at all and Jenna Johnson is carrying him not only on the dance floor.

Oh clearly he used the Internet Deplorables to cook the books. She’s a Star and ranks with Logan Paul. Do the math.

In our culture women are encouraged to infuse brilliance into their male companions. I think I stand on my own merits, slender as they are, which is why I don’t mind being next to a 100,000 Watt Lightbulb behind a Fresnel Lens. Bring it on. I have shades. And Sunscreen. I look cool.

Backwards. In high heels. You know, I’m perfectly willing to lose without symbols of submission and what does that mean anyway? I am educated by the experience and evolve though you might not notice much (by design).

This is supposed to be a conversation between equals, am I asserting authority instead of policy? If so I apologize deeply and express my intention to listen more closely in the future though I think my position rational beyond dispute.

Yeah, time to trot out all those techniques you use with every cranky non-woke Ben Franklin White Male Thanksgiving relative only I’m the raving Communist kind. Won’t need to call the Cops on me, I’ll just provoke my lunatic cousin to pull a gun.

Chekhov. Perfect dramatic irony, protagonist fallen by foreseen hubris. Fin. Book that for Apprentice: White House.

What? Theater! Forgive me, I am contemplating projects that require more expansive presentations and I am experimenting with my voice. You should have no concern (well, it flatters me to think you might, shows it’s working).

The Breakfast Club (Muddying)

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

Josef Stalin consolidates power in USSR; World War II’s naval Battle of Guadalcanal begins; Women’s rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Actress-turned-royalty Grace Kelly and singer Neil Young born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

Naomi Wolf

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A Wall Street Parable

As all of you know a mere 144 Thousand will ascend to sit with Christ on Judgement Day and what better symbol of God’s own Righteousness than money.

Lots and lots of it.

Yeah, yeah eye of a needle Beatitudes bull crap. Gun Jesus wants you to kick ass and take names. Until 1957 “In God We Trust” didn’t appear on currency and only then because we wanted to sanctify it in the face of godless Communism.

What? Don’t Like Ike? Shame on you. 90% marginal rates.

Billionaires keep making Elizabeth Warren’s case for her
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
November 11, 2019

(M)oney managers are apparently getting panicked phone calls from their high-end clients, wondering if they need to start looking for ways now to shield their riches from President Warren’s grasping hands.

Some of the reaction to the proposals from Warren and Sanders has been genuine outrage, which is perhaps understandable. If you have that much money, you’re forever surrounded by sycophants — both the people who work in your business and the servant class that exists to ease your way through the world — who treat you like some kind of living god. Even politicians prostrate themselves at your feet, because like everyone else, they want you to give them some of your money.

As a result, you inevitably begin thinking that you really are better than normal people — smarter, more creative, more hard-working, and even morally superior. If you weren’t, would the world reward you with such blessings? And isn’t the fact that you’re so rich just evidence that life is fair? So how on earth could it be right to ask you to pay higher taxes?

Now here’s where things get tricky. When anyone asks you — say, an interviewer on a panel at a conference, or a reporter doing a story about a wealth tax — you share your thoughts and express your dismay. You might even take the initiative and write an op-ed about how awful these proposals are. Someone, after all, needs to speak out!

But what you don’t realize is that doing so is actually the single best thing you can do to make a wealth tax a reality. Nothing is better for Warren’s chances of becoming president than to have a bunch of billionaires criticize her. It feeds the story of income inequality and gives that story a handy villain, a bunch of rapacious blood-suckers who think we all ought to be thanking them for hoarding the country’s resources.

And while Warren is the focus of much of this attention, the more focus there is on billionaires, the less it matters whether she’s the next Democratic president or someone else is. Joe Biden, for instance, has some very general ideas that involve increasing taxes on the wealthy, like pretty much every Democrat. He says he wants to reverse the Trump tax cuts and “get rid of the capital gains loophole for multi-millionaires” (I’m not sure what loophole he’s referring to, though I would hope he supports eliminating the special treatment of capital gains and just taxing them as regular income).

But if we spend a year talking about how billionaires have rigged the system, it will increase pressure on all Democrats, the next time they can pass a tax bill, to make sure it hits billionaires hard, even if what they come up with isn’t exactly the Warren or Sanders version of a wealth tax. Biden or another moderate might not be as passionate about it as someone like Warren, but that won’t matter, because the incentives will have lined up to make it a reality.

To be clear, a wealth tax in particular is still unlikely even if Warren is president, because there are enough genuine questions about whether it would be effective to make its passage through the Senate extremely difficult. But the more billionaires keep talking about how their taxes shouldn’t be raised, the more likely it is that their taxes will in fact be raised, one way or another.

I’m actually liking Bloomberg getting in the race, sets us to talking about the right things.

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

Charles M. Blow: You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg

His expansion of the notoriously racist stop-and-frisk program is a complete and nonnegotiable deal breaker.

With his filing of paperwork on Friday to put his name on the ballot for the Democratic primary in Alabama, the billionaire businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg inched closer to declaring a run for the Democratic nomination for president.

According to The New York Times, his advisers say he hasn’t made up his mind yet. But I have.

Let me plant the stake now: No black person — or Hispanic person or ally of people of color — should ever even consider voting for Michael Bloomberg in the primary. His expansion of the notoriously racist stop-and-frisk program in New York, which swept up millions of innocent New Yorkers, primarily young black and Hispanic men, is a complete and nonnegotiable deal killer.

Stop-and-frisk, pushed as a way to get guns and other contraband off the streets, became nothing short of a massive, enduring, city-sanctioned system of racial terror.

This system of terror exploded under Bloomberg, with his full advocacy and support.

Michelle Goldberg: The Cure for Democrats’ 2020 Terror

Voters who fear a Trump re-election can start rebuilding the blue wall now.

Pundits sometimes address Democratic primary voters as if they were complacent about the chances of another Trump term and need a harsh dose of reality. The primary campaign, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote recently, “has proceeded in blissful unawareness of the extremely high chance that Trump will win again.” But if there are Democrats out there who think beating Trump is going to be easy, I’ve yet to meet them. I’m deeply scared, and so are most progressives I speak to.

According to the polls we’re not alone; in one recent survey, 67 percent of Democrats said they feel anxious about the election. Reports from Iowa suggest that Democratic primary voters, desperate to find a silver bullet against Trump, are wracked with indecision. “Nobody knows what to do,” one member of a county Democratic committee told The Associated Press. “They’re all afraid.” [..]

Those shaken by the possibility of a second Trump term, however, can take concrete steps to make that prospect less likely, even if they don’t live in swing states. Doing so isn’t only useful — it’s therapeutic. “The best answer to despair is recognizing that you’re not helpless,” said Ezra Levin, co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible and co-author of the new book “We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump.”

Robert Reich: Billionaires fear Warren and Sanders – but they should fear us all

Wealth tax plans make sense but proper regulation could also cut Bezos, Dimon, Cohen and Neumann down to size

Billionaires are wailing that wealth tax proposals by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are attacks on free-market capitalism.

Warren “vilifies successful people”, says Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in a genuinely free market. [..]

Capitalism doesn’t work well with monopolies, insider-trading, political payoffs, fraud and large amounts of inherited wealth. Billionaires who don’t like Sanders and Warren’s wealth tax plans should at least support reforms that end these anti-capitalist advantages.

Greg Sargent: An epic ‘Meet the Press’ rant unmasks the real goal of Trump’s lies

The public phase of the impeachment inquiry is set to begin this week, and it will shock you to learn that House Republicans are pushing for it to include testimony from numerous people who are not in a position to shed any light whatsoever on President Trump’s conduct.

Republicans want to question Joe Biden’s son Hunter and other figures at the center of a nexus of conspiracy theories and lies that Trump and his propagandists have long employed to misdirect Americans away from Trump’s own bottomless corruption.

A remarkable and important series of exchanges on “Meet the Press” — including an epic rant from a Democrat about our media’s both-sidesing tendencies — demonstrates the true nature of the game plan we’re about to see from Trump and Republicans.

Karen Tumulty: Bloomberg has a narrow path to winning. But he’ll sure get under Trump’s skin.

Is it possible for news to seem both startling and inevitable at the same time?

For years, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has been playing with the idea of running for president. But he always backed off after crunching the data and deciding he didn’t have a realistic chance of winning.

It appeared Bloomberg had finally shut the door on that possibility last March. “I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election,” he wrote. “But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”

Now comes this: Bloomberg is running after all. Almost certainly. Probably making it official within days.

But who looks at this race and thinks that what it needs is yet another septuagenarian in the mix? Or for that matter, another billionaire? Is the right standard-bearer for an increasingly liberal party a man whose most brilliant business idea was marketing computer terminals to Wall Street traders so that they could make rich people even richer? [..]

In an election season that has already seen more than its share of surprises, Bloomberg’s probable late entry into a crowded Democratic primary has delivered what is perhaps the biggest one yet.

On Friday, Trump said that Bloomberg “doesn’t have the magic to do well.” But that comment was surely wishful thinking, coming as it did from someone who measures everyone else by their wealth and success. But Bloomberg starts the campaign in a position that is enviable in at least one sense. He is the candidate most likely to get under Trump’s paper-thin skin.

New Fall Line Up On HBO!

Game of Thrones: The College Years, Game of Thrones: Winterfell Valley High, and Throne Babies- Battle for the Rattle.

24/7, 365.

John Oliver, impoverished by legal fees and the loss of his lucrative contract, is trying desperately to eek out a living making appearances on and ghostwriting for Late Show with Stephen Colbert, fellow The Daily Show with Jon Stewart alum, at scale (c’mon, John is a Union guy) and monetizing his YouTube feed where I observe dozens of followers already.

Rumors of a “Go Fund Me” page remain unsubstantiated.

Wait! That didn’t happen at all!

Cartnoon

Flint. My people didn’t live there, they were too poor. Shack in farm country actually. Married up. Great Grandpa worked the Canal and invested early in Smuckers and Fischer Auto (He also bowled 300 at least twice, I have seen the scorecards and he would want me to mention that). Now, according to my relatives, you can’t even visit his last home. “Bad section of town,” they say, meaning Black. It was a Golf Course Condo!

Frankly I’m hard put to decide between the naked racism and an acknowledgement of the economic decline.

Grand Dad drove nothing but Buicks, one of which I owned. He smoked Kents and drank Canadian Club because I found it in the car after I bought it from the little old lady next door to my Grandma who picked it up to go to church after my Grandpa got poisoned from contrast agent by his Doctors. I don’t think she smoked Kents and drank Canadian Club.

Ok, so this is one of those ‘Old Ram’ stories.

Grandma grew up wrong side but was actually a descendant of Johnny Appleseed pioneers including a Michigan Governor. Her dad, my Great on that side, was a raging abusive alcoholic who was eventually driven out of the house at gunpoint by my Uncle. Life on the frontier, Laura Ingalls country. Flyover. Trailer Park. Ayuh, my people and despite my airs (and flawless collection of New England accents) I don’t really forget my roots, though I do know the difference between a salad and a dessert fork I drink Pop on the Davenport.

But it doesn’t stop. Back in the day Polio was a thing that you barely survived if you did at all and it crippled you which is why my Grandma didn’t drive. But she could dance, bone on bone and Grand Dad was enchanted and to the extent marriages ever work (look, 95% is just finding someone you can stand to be around) theirs did and my remembrances are all fond. On the other hand my branch of the family is kind of specifically written out and there’s some resentment even at that because they think Grand Dad gets favorable treatment since he’s the only boy.

What is it Faulkner said? “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

Fortunately most of my relatives, though they know I write publicly, are uninterested in what I have to say in that vacant “Oh, you have a Website. How interesting.”, kind of way so I’m not actually at much risk and who knows.

They may forget why they hate me, even the one who breaks into my Grand Dad’s Sister’s house and steals though he’s much more likely to inherit one of her eleventyump Corvettes than I am. Everybody else does. Forget why they hate me that is.

Oh, and Michael Moore used to deliver Newspapers for my Grandma, no kidding. And I was born there, it’s where the family plot is. People drink the water and think it’s ok and I look at them like the coastal elite I in fact belong to.

Nothing wrong with Flint, reminds me of New Haven. Yeah, gotta write a history of Frontons, Sports Haven, and the Shark Bar to go along with Auto World and “It’s foggy out.”

If you’d visited Frankenmuth or Blueberry Hill you’d understand.

Te Breakfast Club (Valuable Commodity)

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

An armistice ends the fighting in World War I; Pilgrims sign Mayflower Compact; Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat dies; Author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and actor Leonardo DiCaprio born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.

Kurt Vonnegut

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The Breakfast Club (Low Fat Milk)

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.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

AP’s Today in History for November 10th

The Edmund Fitzgerald sinks in Lake Superior; Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev dies; Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone in central Africa; Film composer Ennio Morricone born; ‘Sesame Street’ premieres.

Breakfast Tune I Wanna Be A Billionaire

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 

TWO SURGING CANDIDATES COULD MAKE PHILADELPHIA FAR MORE PROGRESSIVE. DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO WAR TO STOP THEM. [UPDATED]
Akela Lacy, The Intercept

This story is updated with results below.

PHILADELPHIA HAS THE potential to elect two Working Families Party candidates to its city council on Tuesday, replacing Republicans in two seats the GOP has held since the 1950s. The seats, by the city’s charter, belong to a minority party. If the WFP managed to supplant the GOP, the city council would be dragged dramatically to the left. The Democratic Party is doing everything it can to halt that progress.

Over the last few months, the city’s bosses have threatened to remove party committee members who back the third-party candidates from their posts within the party. (It’s unclear what steps the party would take to confront rank-and-file or at-large officials who don’t hold leadership positions but decided to back non-Democrats. Ward leaders risk losing their titles.)

The drama over the surging campaigns of both Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke, two longtime community organizers backed by the WFP, that’s played out over the last several months echoes the ongoing debate national Democrats are having over how to deal with an insurgent progressive wing — except in this case, the object of protection is not incumbent establishment Democrats, but Republicans.

The Democrats’ House campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, issued a blanket policy earlier this year cutting off consultants and firms working with primary challenges, which has only seemed to energize progressive candidates and the firms working with them. Philadelphia has taken the same stance toward third-party candidates its Democratic officials want to support, going out of its way to warn committee participants that their positions could be in jeopardy if they back someone who isn’t Democrat. The results of Tuesday’s election could demonstrate whether that strategy is effective, at least at the local level.

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

 
Dear Mr. Donny Deutsch: Please Come to “F***ing Denmark.”
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Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

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

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

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA); Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX); Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.

The roundtable guests are: ABC News Senior Congressional Mary Bruce; ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd; NPR Political Correspondent Asma Khalid; and Axios National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan.

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien; Sen. John Kennedy {R-LA); and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

Her panel guests are: Stephen Hayes, The Dispatch; Margaret Talev, Axios; Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic; and Antjuan Seawright, CBS News Contributor and Democratic Strategist.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT); and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The panel guests are: Yamiche Alcindor, PBS News Hour; Hugh Hewitt, far right talk show host; David Ignatius, Washington Post associate editor; and Hallie Jackson, NBC News Chief White House correspondent.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

His panel guests are: Rep. Max Rose (D-NY); Karine Jean-Pierre, MSNBC political analyst; Linda Chavez, conservative commentator; and David J. Urban, Trumpster.

If they feel outnumbered it’s for a reason.

They are. 99.99% is not just an Occupy slogan, it’s a fact.

America’s billionaires take center stage in national politics, colliding with populist Democrats
By Jeff Stein, Washington Post
November 8, 2019

The political and economic power wielded by the approximately 750 wealthiest people in America has become a sudden flash point in the 2020 presidential election, as the nation’s billionaires push back with increasing ferocity against calls by liberal politicians to vastly reduce their fortunes and clout.

On Thursday, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and former mayor of New York City, took steps to enter the presidential race, a move that would make him one of four billionaires who either plan to seek or have expressed interest in seeking the nation’s highest office in 2020. His decision came one week after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) proposed vastly expanding her “wealth tax” on the nation’s biggest wealth holders and one month after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said America should not have any billionaires at all.

The populist onslaught has ensnared Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, led to billionaire hand-wringing on cable news, and sparked a panicked discussion among wealthy Americans and their financial advisers about how to prepare for a White House controlled by populist Democrats.

Past presidential elections have involved allegations of class warfare, but rarely have those debates centered on such a small subset of people.

“For the first time ever, we are having a national political conversation about billionaires in American life. And that is because many people are noticing the vast differences in wealth and opportunity,” said Timothy Naftali, a historian at New York University.

The leaders of the anti-billionaire populist surge, Warren and Sanders, have cast their plans to vastly increase taxes on the wealthy as necessary to fix several decades of widening inequality and make necessary investments in health care, child care spending and other government programs they say will help working-class Americans.

Financial disparities between the rich and everyone else have widened over the past several decades in America, with inequality returning to levels not seen since the 1920s, as the richest 400 Americans now control more wealth than the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution, according to research by Gabriel Zucman, a left-leaning economist at the University of California at Berkeley. The poorest 60 percent of America has seen its share of the national wealth fall from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014, Zucman found.

But the efforts at redistribution pushed by Warren and Sanders have elicited a fierce and sometimes personal backlash from the billionaire class who stand to lose the most. At least 16 billionaires have in recent months spoken out against what they regard as the danger posed by the populist Democrats, particularly over their proposals to enact a “wealth tax” on vast fortunes, with many expressing concern they will blow the election to Trump by veering too far left.

Bloomberg’s potential presidential bid follows that of fellow billionaires Tom Steyer, a major Democratic donor, and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who in September suspended his independent presidential bid. Steyer has proposed his own wealth tax, but Schultz ripped the idea as “ridiculous,” while Bloomberg suggested it was not constitutional and raised the prospect of America turning into Venezuela.

Piling on against the wealth tax have been corporate celebrities from Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Zuckerberg suggested Sanders’s call to abolish billionaires could hurt philanthropies and scientific research by giving the government too much decision-making power. Microsoft co-founder Gates criticized Warren’s wealth tax and mused about its impact on “the incentive system” for making money.

David Rubenstein, the billionaire co-founder of the Carlyle Group, told CNBC that a wealth tax would not “solve all of our society’s problems” and raised questions about its practicality. Also appearing on CNBC, billionaire investor Leon Cooperman choked up while discussing the impact a wealth tax could have on his family.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, a multi-billionaire and the world’s richest man, asked Bloomberg months ago to consider running for president in 2020, Recode reported Saturday. A Bloomberg spokesman did not immediately return a request to confirm the call. (Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.) An Amazon spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

“I don’t need Elizabeth Warren, or the government, giving away my money,” Cooperman said. “[Warren] and Bernie Sanders are presenting a lot of ideas to the public that are morally, and socially, bankrupt.”

Then there is perhaps the most prominent wealthy person of all likely to stand in the way of populist Democrats’ proposals: President Trump. Asked about the wealth tax, a White House spokesman declined to comment directly on the proposal but said in an email, “President Trump has been very clear: America will never be a socialist country.”

But there are signs the pushback is having little impact on nixing the idea in Democrats’ minds. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), who has endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, told The Washington Post he is crafting a new wealth tax proposal to introduce in the House of Representatives. Boyle’s involvement suggests the idea has broader political support among Democrats than previously thought.

Warren’s campaign has created a tax calculator that shows how much money multimillionaires would pay under her plan. The initial wealth tax raised by Warren would raise close to $3 trillion over 10 years — enough money to fund universal child care, make public colleges and universities tuition-free, and forgive a majority of the student debt held in America, according to some nonpartisan estimates.

“The hyper concentration of wealth within the top 0.1 percent is a mortal threat to the American economy and way of life,” Boyle said in an interview. “If you work hard and play by the rules, then you should be able to get ahead. But the recent and unprecedented shift of resources to billionaires threatens this. A wealth tax on billionaires is fair and, indeed, necessary.”

But conservatives and even many Democrats have raised a number of objections to the wealth tax, arguing it could be easily skirted and may have limited political appeal. Microsoft’s Gates, famous for his philanthropic efforts, joked to the New York Times that it could erase his entire fortune. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) this week proposed a surtax on couples earning more than $2 million a year to address what they framed as unfairness in the tax code exacerbated by the Republican tax cuts, while stopping short of the starker wealth tax.

In an email, Bloomberg adviser Howard Wolfson denied that the prospect of paying the wealth tax factors into the former mayor’s interest in running for president: “Mike’s not worried about what would happen if Elizabeth Warren won. He’s worried about what would happen if Donald Trump won.”

Ok. Full stop. Gentle pasture fed earth gifts down wind and the tinkling bells on the necks of peaceful ruminants.

Tinkle I say! Not Clunk. I’m working on my mindfulness damnit. It’s a bad time of year for me, I’m mostly depressed and angry. Forgive my forthrightness, candor, and lack of manners in suggesting such a metaphor.

Still, the ultrarich have still taken notice of the threat, according to interviews with half a dozen financial planners and wealth managers.

Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, whose membership includes many of the country’s biggest financial firms, said members of the business community are “agonizing” over the prospect of having to choose between Warren and Trump in the general election.

“A lot of people in the Wall Street crowd still think the world is top-down,” Wylde said. “They think the people at the top of the pecking order are still making the decisions or driving the debate, as opposed to the new reality of grass-roots mobilization. They don’t realize the way pushback to their criticism goes viral.”

Lance Drucker, president and CEO of Drucker Wealth Management, said he has recently heard alarm from many of his millionaire clients over plans like Warren’s to implement a wealth tax on fortunes worth more than $50 million.

“Honestly, it’s only been the last month when people started getting worried,” said Drucker in an October interview. “These tax proposals are scaring the bejeezus out of people who have accumulated a lot of wealth.”

Some financial planners are urging wealthy clients to transfer millions to their offspring now, before Democrats again raise estate taxes. Attorneys have begun looking at whether a divorce could help the super-rich avoid the wealth tax. And some wealthy people are asking whether they should consider renouncing their U.S. citizenship and moving to Europe or elsewhere abroad ahead of Democrats’ potential tax hikes.

“You’re hearing it already,” said Jonathan Lachowitz, a financial planner at White Lighthouse Investment Management, who said he has heard discussions about leaving the country and renouncing citizenship or other legal tax planning moves due to Democrats’ tax plans from several multimillionaires. “As the frustration mounts and tax burdens rise, people will consider it, just the way you have New Yorkers moving to Florida.”

Not that I want to beat on Bloomberg, I don’t think he’s really even a thing, simply keeping his options open because he can afford to. However Bernie and Liz are correct, we don’t need any Billionaires or Monopolistic Mega Corporations either in our economics or our politics. I’m kind of agnostic about using wealth in benign ways like public gardens (I’ll have you know I find them excruciatingly boring, but I’m a sport) on brownfield industrial wastelands. I suppose if you want to piss away your money on something inherently selfish because it’s not subjected to the collective wisdom of the people like tax money it’s sort of ok as long as it’s not demostratably bad but the idea institutions given permission by the State to operate at all should be granted also the rights and privileges we deny Dogs, Cats, and Dolphins is insupportable and just has to go.

CuteKittiesCuteKittiesCuteKitties

Yah hearing me Joe?

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