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“I was told my tax dollars were going to murdering monkeys in space.”

The Breakfast Club (Means To An End)

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

Sherman begins ‘March to the Sea’ in American Civil War; Zebulon Pike spots namesake mountaintop; Anti-Vietnam War protesters gather in DC; Joey Buttafuoco gets jail time; Actor Sam Waterston born.

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Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society.

Felix Frankfurter

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Smelling The Coffee

If you are a reader of regularity you must know by now that I think Republicans, all of them, are at best useless greed heads and more typically Bigoted, Misogynous, Racist Monsters. Unfortunately for the Democratic Party most of the ones that are merely scam artists and con men are abandoning their Party in droves leading to a sudden influx of people who can barely be called Democratic at all, let alone “progressive” or “Left”.

On the positive side the naked immorality and callousness of radical “Conservatives” has made collectivist social policies more credible with Media and Political Elites, so it’s not all bad. Certainly partisans would vote for a yellow dog if it had a (D) next to its name and if all you want (and it is by definition the primary goal of a Political Party) is to elect more Ds than Rs (something I find as relevant as choosing between the Blues and Greens in Constantinople) you could make the “Big Tent” argument if only your Institutional Leaders were not as feckless, incompetent, and ineffective as Democrats have shown themselves to be time and time again.

Both sides really do do it, just one side is actively malicious and the other merely stupid.

But there is no denying that the Republican Party is imploding under the weight of its racist baggage and while I may be apprehensive about the direction of Democrats, Republicans foresee a future where in many portions of the United States (all the ones where it’s fun to live) their party is as popular as…

Well, the Nazis. Remember when they used to be the bad guys? Fun historical fact- at peak they only represented 38% of the German electorate. This is heartening yet scary, sure it’s cool that they were never the sentiments of the majority, but it’s hard to deny that their minority had complete and total domination of the Government.

Among the respectable places where it’s hard to be a Republican anymore is California. This piece, by a former Assembly leader highlights just how low the Party’s fortunes have fallen.

prednisone 5 mg immunosuppression GOP is dead in California. A new way must rise
By Kristin Olsen, CALmatters
Nov. 13, 2018

The California Republican Party isn’t salvageable at this time. The Grand Old Party is dead – partly because it has failed to separate itself from today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics.

Painful though it was, that was the message I delivered at the California Priorities Summit, sponsored by the Sacramento Bee in Sacramento last week.

I’ve spent my entire adult life in Republican politics, so for me to make such a comment wasn’t easy. But it doesn’t make it any less true. I and others have been warning people for years that this day of reckoning was coming if we didn’t do something different.

And as Election Night proved, that day has come. While the rest of the nation saw a mix of Republican and Democrat victories, we in California experienced a blue tsunami. It looks as if Democrats will win nearly every target seat, including some in districts that have been historically considered “safe” for Republicans.

Republican principles used to be about helping other people. We believed in lifting people up out of poverty by giving them robust and free economic opportunities and by providing a world-class education. We stood for giving people the freedom to run their own lives and businesses without undue government interference.

We welcomed people from all over the world who sought to live the American Dream and contribute to the economy and society. They could be secure in knowing that they would not be persecuted for who they are and that they could build strong families and vibrant neighborhoods.

Ok. Blah, blah, blah. Republicans never believed any of that crap, but it used to be you could shame them into at least lip service during elections. Not so much anymore.

Unfortunately, tragically, that is not the Republican Party promoted by President Donald Trump and his brand of national politics today. We have lost our way, and it’s killing any opportunity for political balance and thoughtful debate in California, elements that good public policy relies on.

One party rule is not good for any community, state or nation, but that’s what we have in California today. It’s because the Republican Party has failed to adapt to changing demographics and to get back to our basic fundamental belief in liberty and responsibility, freedom, economic opportunity, and educational excellence.

Without a viable second party to voice concerns about increasingly progressive policy proposals and to advance alternative policy solutions for addressing the many challenges facing California, our state will continue to veer leftward.

It is time for a New Way. And if the Republican Party can’t evolve, it may be time for a third party, one that will appeal to disenfranchised voters in the Republican and Democratic parties who long for better representation and a better California for all.

Centerism! That’s the ticket. Yellow lines and dead Armadillos. Nobody believes in “Centerism” except Neo Liberal 1%ers and their toadies and shills.

Individual Republicans are good, conscientious people dedicated to serving their communities, but they belong to a brand and a national party that is toxic and growing more toxic by the day.

No, they really aren’t, but she’s right that the Brand is toxic.

Millions of Californians, millions of Americans, want and deserve leaders who will shake up establishments and help those who have felt ignored for far too long.

These leaders must understand that words matter, that healing and unity is important to the sustainability, strength, and growth of our nation, that end goals do not justify vindictive or hateful or ill-conceived means.

As Californians and Americans, we must work together to find and promote such leaders— people with the courage to help us return to bold and civil discourse and who value and promote the fundamental principles and values of our American Republic and constitutional democracy.

We must hold people in both parties accountable for governing, truth-telling, and civility.

For Republicans, the first step is to acknowledge that we have a serious internal problem. Ignoring the toxicity is not enough, as California’s election results demonstrate. We must call it out and model a different and better way because that’s what our fellow Californians deserve.

Screw civility. When you stop being racist I’ll stop talking about it. In the mean time if you don’t want outraged citizens interrupting your meals maybe you should quit being evil.

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Cats are evil

The Breakfast Club (Tomorrow’s Dream)

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

Nazi Germany bombs English town of Coventry during World War II; ‘Moby-Dick’ published; Nellie Bly begins globe-trotting trek; Leonard Bernstein makes conducting debut; Composer Aaron Copland born.

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Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. Lyndon B. Johnson

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One Night In Bangkok

Ok, so Chess is a sport in the same way that motor racing is a sport which is to say that while it has some athletic subtleties (hey, this maximus gluteus didn’t happen by accident, it took years and years of joystick work to develop these sitz skills) it doesn’t depend on physical ability as much as mental acuity.

It may surprise you to know that we’re in the middle of a World Championship between the reigning King Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of the United States.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Outside my jingoist sentiment I like Caruana because he plays Sicilian which is my favorite Opening (English from the White side of the Board).

Currently we’re at Game 4 of 12 scheduled, all of which have been draws (as in the Beautiful Game they give you points for draws to create the illusion that something is happening when it’s really just a bunch of people running around kicking a ball). Caruana is kind of a long shot to even be in the match beating out Shak Mamedyarov and Levon Aronian in the Candidate’s Tournament.

Should they draw out (actually kind of likely at this level) they’ll play some more strictly time constrained games (though hardly blitz chess) to decide a victor. Carlsen is expected to have an advantage in such a match as he plays blitz exhibitions quite frequently.

Long battle expected as world’s top two chess players meet in London
by Sean Ingle, The Guardian
Thu 8 Nov 2018

The last time an American challenged for the world chess championship it was seen as an almighty clash of civilisations: west versus east, capitalism against communism, a cold war by proxy fought over 64 squares between Bobby Fischer and the Soviet Boris Spassky.

Chess has never been as cool or relevant since that epic contest in 1972. But at the launch of the 2018 world championship match between the Norwegian champion, Magnus Carlsen, and his US challenger, Fabiano Caruana – which begins in London on Friday – organisers promised that a global audience of millions would tune in for the most anticipated match in a generation.

“Chess stars are the boxing champions of the 21st century,” insisted the CEO of World Chess, Ilya Merenzon, which has a accrued a €1m prize fund for the event. “Smart is sexy, and for three weeks we’ll have an amazing experience watching the smartest people in the world battle it out for the title.”

Carlsen, the highest-rated chess player in history, has held the world title since 2013. Such is his popularity in Norway that all 12 matches in London will be shown live on prime-time TV. He has also modelled for the fashion company G-Star Raw and endorsed Omega watches and Porsche.

But the 27-year-old, who was such a childhood prodigy that he was described as the Mozart of chess, has been struggling to hit the highest notes recently. And among experts there is a sense that Caruana, one year his opponent’s junior, might just spring an upset.

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen is defending the world chess championship against Fabiano Caruana of the United States. The best-of-12-games match is taking place at the College in Holborn between 9 and 28 November, with the winner earning a 60% share of the €1m ($1.14m) prize fund if the match ends in regulation (or 55% if it’s decided by tie-break games).

Carlsen, 27, has been ranked No 1 for eight straight years and was considered the world’s best player even before he defeated Viswanathan Anand for the title in 2013. Caruana, 26, is ranked No 2, having earned his place the table by winning the candidates tournament in March. No American-born player has won or even competed for the world title since Bobby Fischer in 1972.

It marks the first title match between the world’s top two players since 1990, when Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov faced off for a fifth and final time.

The match will consist of 12 classical games with each player awarded one point for a win and a half-point for a draw. Whoever reaches six and a half points first will be declared the champion.

The time control for each game is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move 1. Players cannot agree to a draw before Black’s 30th move.

If the match is tied after 12 games, tie-breaks will be played on the final day in the following order:

  • Best of four rapid games with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds after each move.
  • If still tied, they will play up to five mini-matches of two blitz games (five minutes for each player with a three-second increment).
  • If all five mini-matches are drawn, one sudden-death ‘Armegeddon’ match will be played where White receives five minutes and Black receives four minutes. Both players will receive a three-second increment after the 60th move. In the case of a draw, Black will be declared the winner.


“It is like a boxing bout,” admitted Caruana, who was wearing the fashionable US label Thom Browne at the press conference. “There’s unlikely to be a quick knockout, so the aim will be mainly to try and outlast my opponent.”

Inevitably, the prospect of psychological warfare on the board came up – understandable given that both players will be sitting barely a metre from each other for up to eight hours a day. During the 1951 world championship match between Mikhail Botvinnik and David Bronstein, for instance, one onlooker noted that at the end of each game both men were “wreathed in beads of sweat, such was their toil”. While during the Moscow Marathon between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov – which lasted five months and 48 games – Karpov lost 10kg in weight.

“Psychology will play a huge part,” Caruana told the Guardian. “Part of Carlsen’s success is that he has a very stable psychological demeanour. He rarely gets rattled, and when he loses a game he brushes it aside. Of course, the fact this is his fourth world championships is also in his favour. I will have to learn on the fly, but I feel I am more than ready for the challenge.”

To prepare for the biggest challenge of his career, Caruana has been running most days and doing yoga in between intense bouts of study. The American is known for his deep opening preparation and finding theoretical novelties that have never been played before – the chess equivalent of a thunderous serve in tennis – as well as deep calculating ability. When Carlsen was asked to describe him in one word he instantly replied, “computer”.

The Norwegian, however, is still widely regarded as the favourite. However, in recent years he seems to have been afflicted by a dangerous search for ultra-perfection. Recently his sister Illen even suggested that, if he loses, “the chance of him retiring, short-term, is a real possibility”.

However, when Carlsen was asked whether he saw himself as the favourite or underdog, the alpha dog in him finally came out. “It has been a while since I have considered myself an underdog, to be honest,” he said, smiling. “If you have been the No1 ranked player in the world for seven years and have won three world titles in a row, then there is something seriously wrong with your psyche, I think.”

It makes for an intriguing contest, especially given Carlsen’s official rating of 2,838 is just three points ahead of his challenger, according to the sport’s governing body, Fide. Most observers expect a long and attritional battle, which is right up the Norwegian’s street given he is famous for suffocating his opponents to a slow death over several hours.

“The ultimate test of mind and body.” Uhh… sure. I write things for fun sometimes.

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”.

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Paul Krugman: Truth and Virtue in the Age of Trump

Remember when freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose? These days it’s just another word for giving lots of money to Donald Trump.

What with the midterm elections — and the baseless Republican cries of voting fraud — I don’t know how many people heard about Trump’s decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson, wife of casino owner and Trump megadonor Sheldon Adelson. The medal is ormally an acknowledgment of extraordinary achievement or public service; on rare occasions this includes philanthropy. But does anyone think the Adelsons’ charitable activities were responsible for this honor?

Now, this may seem like a trivial story. But it’s a reminder that the Trumpian attitude toward truth — which is that it’s defined by what benefits Trump and his friends, not by verifiable facts — also applies to virtue. There is no heroism, there are no good works, except those that serve Trump.

About truth: Trump, of course, lies a lot — in the run-up to the midterms he was lying in public more than 100 times each week. But his assault on truth goes deeper than the frequency of his lies, because Trump and his allies don’t accept the very notion of objective facts. “Fake news” doesn’t mean actual false reporting; it means any report that hurts Trump, no matter how solidly verified. And conversely, any assertion that helps Trump, whether it’s about job creation or votes, is true precisely because it helps him.

go site Neal KatyaL: The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation

The installation of Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general isn’t just unconstitutional — although it is unconstitutional. Even if Whitaker’s appointment ever survived a court challenge on constitutional grounds for most of his day-to-day duties at the Justice Department, the fact that he’ll now be performing the sensitive work of supervising Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation raises other deep problems. Putting Whitaker in charge of the inquiry is sharply at odds with the special counsel regulations governing Mueller’s work and with the Justice Department’s rules about who may oversee an investigation.

I had the privilege of drafting the special counsel rules 20 years ago, when I was at the Justice Department. Recall the setting: The independent counsel statute was expiring in June 1999, and there was a robust debate about what should take its place. After the multitude of investigations of the Clinton administration, many in Washington clamored for renewal of the supercharged independent prosecutor in the act. Others, seeing what they believed were abuses by then-independent counsel Ken Starr (and prior independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, who oversaw the earlier Iran-contra investigation of the Reagan administration more than a decade before Starr), believed that something more accountable and less independent had to be created instead.

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Moran

I find myself explaining my jokes more frequently which is not a good sign but it is of a piece with the gaslighting alternate reality that Republicans seem to inhabit.

In case you missed the humor of it, my post Serious Mendicant was entirely (well, mostly, on another level it’s about the PBS style begging sites that aspire to make money do at this time of year, and I don’t begrudge them. I’m more than fortunate it’s not a consideration for me.) about George Papadopoulos and his ingratitude for the sweet, sweet deal he got from Bob Mueller in exchange for his co-operation.

Two weeks, five weeks of Community Service, $9,500 fine. Not much for being an accessory to TREASON for which the maximum penalty is DEATH!

Seriously.

I mean, this is the kind of sentence you get for a DWI, better even because as far as I know they didn’t suspend his Driver’s License and Car Registration.

Evidently his lawyers think he’s under appreciative of his good fortune also since they’ve filed a motion to cease representing Papadopoulos.

Lawyers for George Papadopoulos ask to withdraw from his case as he rants on Twitter about being framed
by Travis Gettys, Raw Story
13 Nov 2018

Thomas Breen and Robert Stanley filed a motion Tuesday asking to withdraw from the case, saying Papadopoulos had hired at least one other attorney to represent him going forward in the special counsel probe.

Papadopoulos was sentenced in September to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents investigating his contacts with Russian nationals during the 2016 campaign.

But since he was sentenced, Papadopoulos has frequently claimed on Twitter that he was framed by British and Australian intelligence as part of a plot to undermine the Trump campaign, but he hasn’t provided any evidence.

Papadopoulos, who joined the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser in March 2016, pleaded guilty in October 2017.

He agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has resulted in the guilty pleas of other top campaign officials.

I’m flabbergasted by the sheer selfishness, ignorance, and sense of privilege on display here. Were I a vengeful man (and I am, but I try not to show it much) and Bob Mueller (which I am not at all) I would be re-examining my agreement to see if there was an opportunity to provide Mr. Papadopoulos more time for reflection and repentance because I don’t think he grasps the gravity of his actions and the situation he finds himself in.

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Good for your head.

Lost a Cat

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About Politics

No, really.

The Breakfast Club (Peeves)

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.

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I don’t have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation.

Whoopi Goldberg

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Bad Hair Day

So this Armistice Day Trump is blowing off the traditional vist to Arlington National Cemetary (marking the Centennial of the end of the Great War no less) because it’s raining and he might be exposed as the fat balding popinjay and blowhard he is.

Law and Order Party indeed. I’m not personally invested mind you, I merely think it remarkable the Republican Party has any reputation at all for being “pro-Troops” (or for that matter fiscal probity).

Frankly it wouldn’t be such a big deal except it’s the second time in 3 days.

Il y a de la pluie, mais c’est pas grave. On reste motivé.

Trump skipped a U.S. cemetery visit abroad. The French army trolled him for avoiding the rain.
By Alex Horton, Washington Post
November 12, 2018

(H)e canceled a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, ostensibly because of inclement weather. The verdant hillside shrine of arcing headstones marks the final resting place of 2,289 U.S. troops, many of whom were killed in the Battle of Belleau Wood. The names of 1,060 more who were never found are inscribed on a wall there.

The White House canceled the visit, which Trump would have made aboard the presidential helicopter Marine One, after it was determined that the conditions offered “near-zero visibility,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, amid criticism and speculation that Trump was not motivated to join other world leaders there by car instead.

“President Trump did not want to cause that kind of unexpected disruption to the city and its people,” Sanders said.

The cemetery is 50 miles northeast of Paris, and it was not clear why alternative routes — commonly planned for high-profile events — were not used in this case.

The weather did not prevent Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron from visiting other sites around Paris.

Marines who visit the cemetery and battlefield are drawn to the village of Belleau right outside, where a moss-flecked bulldog fountain spurts water from its mouth.

It is customary for Marines to drink from it, in homage to the Americans who never left the wood.

As nation observes Veterans Day, Trump not visiting Arlington National Cemetery
By Emily C. Singer, Mic
Nov. 12, 2018

At 10:03 a.m. on Monday, the White House called a travel lid, meaning President Donald Trump is not expected to hold any public events for the remainder of the day. That also means that Trump won’t visit Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, as the country observes Veterans Day — an unofficial presidential tradition.

Officially, Veterans Day was Sunday. However, Trump was in Paris commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Trump made a number of blunders in Paris, including canceling a visit to an American military cemetery near Paris because it was raining. The White House claimed Trump canceled the visit because the Marine One helicopter cannot fly in rain, but at another ceremony on Sunday, the president made a comment about how a World War II veteran was being kept dry under shelter as he stood in the rain giving a speech.

“You look so comfortable up there under shelter as we’re getting drenched,” Trump said. “Very smart people.”

Trump also chose not to walk side by side with other world leaders at another event Sunday, choosing instead to take his motorcade down an empty Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomph, rather than showing unity with the other heads of state.

Instead of spending his Monday marking Veterans Day, Trump has instead been tweeting conspiracy theories about the midterm elections, baselessly claiming that Democrats are forging ballots in a closely watched Florida recount.

“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged,” Trump tweeted, a completely false claim, as the ballots being counted were mailed in, including from military personnel serving overseas, who have until 10 days after the election ends to have their ballots make it to Florida to be counted. “An honest vote count is no longer possible — ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!”

Trump also blamed a further decline in the stock market on Democrats.

“The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!” Trump tweeted — another false claim, as experts say Monday’s stock market decline was based on rising oil prices.

“The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!” Trump tweeted — another false claim, as experts say Monday’s stock market decline was based on rising oil prices.

Bone Spurs.

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