The Breakfast Club (It Just Happens)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre; Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill author Salman Rushdie; Slobodan Milosevic begins his defense against war crimes charges; Dolly the cloned sheep dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

Frederick Douglass

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My Las Vegas Convention- A Happy Story

(originally in orange Sat Jun 17, 2006 at 07:01 PM PDT)
I repeat it annually because there are lessons I don’t want to forget.

Can you handle the truth?  How about a good story?

If you are a regular reader you may know that I was State Co-ordinator of my meatspace club.  You may not know I was engaged.

Yes I know, hard to believe anyone can stand ek for 5 minutes in a row, let alone want to spend the rest of their life with me.  But it was true.  She loved me.  A lot.

When we met I told her I was a practicing politician on the make, and what I wanted more than anything was to be King.  And then I was.

The National club was having a little get together in Vegas and as Incoming King I had to get there a day early for my special super secret training.  There was training for spouses too, not that we would have traveled separately anyway.

Part of being ek is procrastinating to the very last second, and then packing everything- kitchen sink included.  By the time we reached the airport for our evening red eye I had already been up for 24 hours.  It was a great disappointment to me that all the restaurants, bars, and gift shops were closed.  And our flight was delayed so I was really looking forward to my bag of peanuts on the plane.

Three cramped hours later in Vegas it is still midnight, my love was dragging and so was I, but-

When you’re on the make, you make things happen.  My political handlers were there to greet me in the lobby.  They had super, super secret training which I found out basically consisted of adjourning early and heading for the bar to trade lies.  They wanted me to circulate and make contacts.

Well, you have to make your marks.

I checked in, took my sweetie to our room and said goodnight.  Not the best goodnight I’ve ever given, but I was still a little cranky.  When I got all respectable again, I went back down to meet and greet.

Just as I was calling the whole thing a stupid waste of time, the delegation from my largest local rolls in.  I had to be nice to them, and they had to be nice to me.  Even so I was genuinely flattered that they invited me out to $1.99 breakfast with them.  It was Vegas, it was a good breakfast.

The sun comes up early on my birthday and I had all that super secret training to get through (mostly meeting the club’s corporate sponsors) so I went back to my room and got respectable yet again, woke up my honey and we went off to get trained.

I’ve already told you the valuable information I got.  My fiance got 4 hours of “you will never see him again” and totally embarrassed me (or so people say) by not sucking it up stoically but wailing “I love him so much”.  And she did, even when we broke up.

We had an awkward lunch together that consisted mostly of salad.  Two more hours of propaganda and we were free.

Well kind of.  In one of those coincidences that happens only in real life, her brother from California was also in Vegas, finishing up a business meeting.  We had about an hour of overlap before he had to jet out.

Wait, it gets better.  When we got back to the room there was a cake from room service.  Emily, my mom, didn’t forget my birthday (even though I was born in the age of epidurals) and had sent me the most expensive cake she never got to eat.  It was good, chocolate with chocolate icing and raspberry filling and some fresh raspberries on top.

Did I say I was wicked?  No rest for.  The one thing my sweetheart wanted to see in Vegas was the Hard Rock Hotel.  Now.  My problem was the incoming chief of the whole shebang was holding a party at 6 pm.  Attendance mandatory.

Incoming chief?  It was a contested race, the other guy could have won.  Who says this isn’t about politics?

Sure honey, we have an hour.  Let’s go.

Got my Hard Rock pin to go in my collection, got my complimentary shot glass.  Put a whole buck of slots on my Hard Rock card which still sits in my wallet to remind me of my misspent youth.  Let’s go.

She was not happy, being hustled around.  I was not happy to do it, but you make your marks.   The chosen one had rented the Grand Ballroom at the top of the Hotel and we arrived breathless and cranky at 5:59.  The line was not long and at 6:05 the other couple left.

At 6:06 the doors opened on this ballroom that occupied the entire floor.  The view was spectacular, all up and down the Strip.  There were 2 Champagne Fountains and 2 Chocolate Dippers.  There were buffet tables and carving stations.  THERE WAS AN OPEN BAR!  Four of them, it’s a fun club.

So basically there were 20 people there.  And me.  And my sweetheart.  All sweaty and flushed and tired, our credentials flopping around our necks.

Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and company go down the hall?  It was kind of like that, only bigger and longer.  At the end of (no kidding) about a quarter of a mile was the DJ.  We wandered up and said hi and he said- “So is there anything you want to hear?”  I let her pick the song.  It was slow and sappy and we grabbed each other and spun around, alone on acres of dance floor, on top of the world.

After a while some other people showed up so we could ditch, can’t leave a party before it’s started- that would be rude.  We went back to our room and said goodnight again.  I was much better this time, and after an hour or 2 I got respectable, this time in my tux (I own one, cheaper than real clothes) so I could go back to the party and kiss the ring.

It’s all about kissing the ring.

This was a totally different scene.  Though the opposition candidate would come as close as anyone in the previous 10 years to defeating the chosen one, he had totally moved his lame ass party to one corner of the ballroom at the invitation of the magnanimous eventual victor and everyone was doing group shots to ease the sting of their inevitable defeat.  The rest of the place was crowded with people looking for free booze and food (did I mention it’s a fun club?).

I kissed both rings.  It was easy, they were both standing together, the one who would be King and the one who would get a paid staff position as his consolation prize.  No more phoney they than my wishing them both good luck even though I had my marching orders.  And when the time came to convince my delegation to vote for the chosen one, my eloquence changed 60/40 challenger to 80/20 chosen, invoking our block vote rule and sparing us any loss of face as a state.

I was grabbed by a fellow classmate, a state King on the make for the top and dragooned into a conga line of Incoming Kings that he led from bar to bar in the ballroom, bullying his way to the front of the line and buying us all free drinks.

But enough of that is certainly enough and besides I had work to do.  One of the things they teach you in super secret training is to cultivate your base.  In this case that meant post cards to every local officer who was not able to attend.  I stopped at the gift shop in the lobby and picked up the post cards (an assortment, can’t have people comparing notes) and a bottle of Champagne (how do you avoid a hangover for 7 days?  Stay drunk for 6).  You can’t wait to do this because they have to arrive before you return.

When I went in the room my sweetheart woke up, saw the Champagne and said, “Oh, is that for us?”  Sure darling.  I opened it, poured us both a glass.  She took one sip, we kissed, and then she mumbled, “G’night” and rolled away.

So my plan worked perfectly.  About 4 am I was out of cards and out of Champagne so I headed to the lobby again, mostly hoping I could hook up with my breakfast buddies from the day before.  And I did.

Nothing like a good breakfast to energize you.  All the basic food groups, grease and salt and sugar and caffeine, and a mutual game of ring kissing with new friends was a great way to pass the time.  Soon I had to let them pick up my tab and move on.  I went back to my room, showered, changed, wrote my honey a note (because I was in training all day and she was done and had no agenda), and gently shook her awake.  We had a nice chat and then it was time for me to go.

Gotta make your marks.

Now I know what you’re saying- ek you’ve been up for 72 hours.  You should be dead.  Not true, I had a whole 2 hours of sleep on the plane.  And I had meetings, close your eyes, pretend to pay attention, and you can snooze 15 minutes out of every 20.  In great need of chemical stimulation, at the break I bummed my very last cigarette so far- a Merit Light King.

At 3 pm the torture was over and I didn’t have a mark to make until 6.  I went back to my room, hooked up with my sweetie (she had rolled out around 10 and spent a few hours shopping and having lunch with friends), and loosened my tie and napped.  She got many, many ‘candid’ snapshots.

And at 6 we loaded up on the bus for ‘Old Las Vegas’ where there was a big street party.  Thank goodness for busses, I was able to get a half hour head start on my nap on the way home.

When I woke up at 4 am I was hungry.  My fiance was immovable.  I wrote her a note and snuck off to have breakfast.

So that was Las Vegas for a micro-politician on the make.

It went on for a week like that, we actually spent a fair amount of time together after the initial 3 days, shows, restaurants, endless meetings at the Convention Center.

I pause here to pass along a great lesson she gave me.  The most important I took away from Las Vegas.

The food at the Convention Center was terrible.  The first day we got 2 Plastic Pizzas for lunch.  They were about the size of hockey pucks and tasted about the same too.  The second day the Outgoing King gave me a wink and a nod and we joined the Kool Kidz across the street for a lunch that was at least edible.

Afterwards at the light she held my arm and while everyone else went ahead we missed it.  When she turned to me she was as angry as I’ve ever seen her and she said- “Don’t you ever do that again!”


“How do you think those people feel?”, and she pointed at the Convention Center.

She was absolutely right.

You can be King or you can lead.

Lead- be the first and have people follow you.

If you want to be a leader, you have to lead.  You have to be the first.  The first person to pick up a sack and clean up the garbage.  The first person to volunteer to make the phone calls.  The first person to have a hot dog and quip- “What, no Rat?  Only Glue?”

We never crossed the street again, making polite excuses and throwing away styrofoam boxes filled with styrofoam at the same table as everyone else.  As time progressed there were more and more ‘Puffs’ and less Paris Gellers, but we stayed to the bitter end.

Thank you darling, I will never forget.

Some of you may be curious about our break up at this point, but it’s really very simple.  I was a Captain, but she was not the Enterprise and that was what she desperately wanted.  She loved me with a single minded focus I did not share. She was unhappy when I spoke with another woman, or another man, or spent any time away from her.  For my part I couldn’t live up to her expectations- I am after all shallow and one dimensional, I’ve never pushed a noun against a verb except to blow something up.

Since then I’ve never been with anyone else, not that I’ve worried about it- my ego is self sustaining.  I understand she is marrying her 2nd grade crush this summer.  Good for her.  I hope he makes her happy, she deserves it.

I will always remember dancing alone with her in a ballroom in the sky over Vegas.

Kelly Speaks

This is the Article in The Atlantic everyone is talking about. Now as far as I’m concerned it’s Kelly that’s in violation of his Service Oath because he is guilty of doing exactly the opposite of what he praises Vindman for doing.

Not that he’s not absolutely correct about the policy and doesn’t have useful information about Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio and his Criminal RICO Syndicate.

John Kelly Finally Lets Loose on Trump
by Peter Nicholas, The Atlantic

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council aide and impeachment witness President Donald Trump fired Friday, was just doing his job, former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told students and guests at a Drew University event here Wednesday night.

Over a 75-minute speech and Q&A session, Kelly laid out, in the clearest terms yet, his misgivings about Trump’s words and actions regarding North Korea, illegal immigration, military discipline, Ukraine, and the news media.

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, said that Vindman is blameless and was simply following the training he’d received as a soldier; migrants are “overwhelmingly good people” and “not all rapists”; and Trump’s decision to condition military aid to Ukraine on an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden upended long-standing U.S. policy.

Vindman was rightly disturbed by Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July, Kelly suggested: Having seen something “questionable,” Vindman properly notified his superiors, Kelly said. Vindman, who specialized in Ukraine policy at the National Security Council at the time, was among multiple U.S. officials who listened in on the call. When subpoenaed by Congress in the House impeachment hearings, Vindman complied and told the truth, Kelly said.

“He did exactly what we teach them to do from cradle to grave,” Kelly told the audience at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. “He went and told his boss what he just heard.”

Although Trump has long insisted that his call to Zelensky was “perfect,” Kelly made clear that Trump indeed conditioned military aid on Zelensky’s help digging up dirt on the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

That amounted to a momentous change in U.S. policy toward Ukraine—one that Vindman was right to flag, because other federal agencies needed to know about the shift, Kelly said.

“Through the Obama administration up until that phone call, the policy of the U.S. was militarily to support Ukraine in their defensive fight against … the Russians,” Kelly said. “And so, when the president said that continued support would be based on X, that essentially changed. And that’s what that guy [Vindman] was most interested in.”

When Vindman heard the president tell Zelensky he wanted to see the Biden family investigated, that was tantamount to hearing “an illegal order,” Kelly said. “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order. And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’”

Pondering the Pundits

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

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Robert Reich: Michael Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency – that should set off alarms

If the choice comes down to tyrant or oligarch, we must choose the latter. But our democracy would still be in peril

We haven’t seen his name on any of the ballots in the first four states, but that’s about to change. I’m talking, of course, about multibillionaire presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has a chance of winning the presidency because his net worth is more than $60bn.

The yearly return on $60bn is at least $2bn – which is what Bloomberg says he’ll pour into buying the highest office in the land. It’s hardly a sacrifice for him, but it’s a huge sacrifice for American democracy.

Encouraged by the murky outcome from the Iowa caucuses and the notable lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden, Bloomberg has decided to double his spending on TV commercials in every market where he is currently advertising, and expand his campaign field staff to more than 2,000.

He’s not competing in the first four states with caucuses and primaries but focusing instead on 3 March. So-called Super Tuesday will be more super than ever because it now includes California, Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Massachusetts – a third of all delegates to the Democratic convention.

“It’s much more efficient to go to the big states, to go to the swing states,” Bloomberg told the New York Times. “The others chose to compete in the first four. And nobody makes them do it, they wanted to do it. I think part of it is because the conventional wisdom is, ‘Oh you can’t possibly win without them.’”

Later, he added: “Those are old rules.”

Yes, and the new rules are also to spend billions of your own money, if you have it.

Nicholas Kristof: I Worry About Sanders, and His Coattails

Can he win, and if so, can he help elect a Democratic Senate so he can accomplish something?

He was an earnest and intelligent oddball, I decided, but not a serious politician with a future. So I didn’t write about Mayor Bernie Sanders — underscoring that I have a record going back almost four decades of misjudging political talent.

Sanders is now the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination. Yet note that in the betting markets, Sanders is the leader to win the nomination but President Trump is favored to then win re-election in November.

I cringe as I write that. Yet Trump’s Gallup job approval rating has reached a new high and oddsmakers have significantly elevated his chances of re-election.

So that is the prism through which to view this election: Would Sanders increase or reduce the likelihood of a Trump victory? And would he help or hurt Democrats running for the Senate in states like Kansas and Alabama?

I admire Sanders for his authenticity and passion. He has poured his heart into ending American complicity in atrocities in Yemen, even though this cause wins him no votes. Likewise, Sanders has shown unusual political courage in criticizing Israel’s land grabs in the West Bank, leading a political action committee to run attack ads against him. (The accusation that Sanders, who lived on an Israeli kibbutz for a time and would be the first Jewish president, is anti-Israel is absurd.)

That said, Sanders raises some red flags.

Charles M. Blow: The Notorious Michael R. Bloomberg

His racist stop-and-frisk policy as New York mayor can’t be forgotten.

Let’s state some facts: Michael Ruben Bloomberg notoriously expanded stop-and-frisk in New York City to obscene proportions, violating the bodies and constitutional rights of mostly minority men and boys, and not only defended the policy, but mocked his detractors and bragged about it.

What Bloomberg did as mayor amounted to a police occupation of minority neighborhoods, a terroristic pressure campaign, with little evidence that it was accomplishing the goal of sustained, long-term crime reduction.

Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped were completely innocent. He knew that. They were the collateral damage in his crusade, black and brown bodies up against walls and down on the ground, groped in the middle of the city by strange men with guns, a vast expanse of human psychological wreckage about which he couldn’t care less. [..]

No amount of Democrats’ anti-Trump fear and panic will ever erase what Bloomberg did. Democrats have a field of fascinating candidates. Many have some crime and justice issues of their own, but nothing approaching the scale of Bloomberg’s racist policy.

If Democrats cast aside all of these candidates in favor of Bloomberg and his wealth, I fear they will be making it harder to defeat Trump in November.

Chuck Rosenberrg: This is a revolting assault on the fragile rule of law

Something extraordinary and deeply troubling happened at — and to — the Justice Department this week. Four federal prosecutors properly, and as a matter of conscience, withdrew from the Roger Stone case. They had shepherded that case through the criminal-justice system but in an alarming development were ordered to disavow a sentencing recommendation they filed with the federal judge overseeing the matter.

Their original recommendation — asking the judge to sentence Stone within the range set by the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines for the offenses for which Stone was convicted at trial — was a perfectly ordinary filing. It is the type of pleading filed in federal courts by federal prosecutors every day. Certainly, when a defendant is convicted at trial, it is routine for prosecutors to suggest to the judge that he be sentenced within a prescribed range — the result of a cumbersome sentencing guidelines calculation that is often debated between the parties and adjudicated by the court.

Of course, the filing was just a recommendation to the judge, who has ample authority to sentence Stone within that range — or above it or below it — as she determines. Prosecutors do not sentence defendants; judges do. So how did something so ordinary become so extraordinary?

Mimi Rocah and Glen Kirschner: Roger Stone case reveals Barr and Trump’s gross politicization of American criminal justice

Barr’s gross distortion of the Mueller report led to calls for him to step down. He did not, and now we are facing the same situation all over again.

On Monday, federal prosecutors recommended that Republican operative and Trump associate Roger Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years in prison for crimes including witness tampering and making false statements. In the middle of the night, the president lashed out, tweeting that the sentencing request was “horrible,” “very unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The following day, all four prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case, with one, Jonathan Kravis, immediately resigning from the Department of Justice.

Later that day, the interim U.S. attorney for D.C., Timothy Shea — a former adviser to Attorney General William P. Barr — filed an updated memo saying that the original sentencing request “did not accurately reflect the Department of Justice’s position on what would be a reasonable sentence” and the sentence originally requested “would not be appropriate or serve the interests of justice in this case.”

This series of events sent shock waves through the network of former Justice Department prosecutors and officials. Why? Because it signals a new and dangerous chapter in the politicization of the department by Donald Trump and William Barr.

Wutanfall Bekommen

Stell dich nicht so an.

Rache Reise

Not A School

Olympic Dressage

How can he quit?

The Grinning Gloom




Pernicious Memes

It seems I am stuck in New Hampshire for the foreseeable future.


There’s something I’m hearing a lot that is simply not true. This is the idea that Democrats are somehow lacking in Primary Turnout. Typically they compare it with the 2018 Blowout. How exactly do they do that? It wasn’t a Presidential Cycle. There were no Primaries, only the Election. Well duh, Turnout for Elections is higher than that for Primaries.

2018 is entirely irrelevant.

Well what about 2016?

Well, what about it? No Incumbent! Contested Races both Parties! Dump Trump! Bernie/Hill!

You would think people would be a little excited about that, and they were. Turnout was quite high.

Turnout in the New Hampshire Primary in 2020 was over 10% higher than 2016. Almost as high as in 2008. Who was in that one again?

Oh, Obama and Clinton. No Incumbent! Contested Races both Parties! Admittedly McCain wasn’t in much of a contest.

So, ignorant or lying- you make the call.

Not at all Racist

Mayo Mike, Republican, 2015-

It’s controversial, but first thing is, all of your — 95 percent of your murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York. It’s true in virtually every city. And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed.

We want to spend a lot of money, put a lot of cops in the street, put those cops where the crime is, which is in the minority neighborhoods. So this is — one of the unintended consequences is, people say, “Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.” Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is…. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw ’em against the wall and frisk ’em. And then they start — they say, “I don’t want to get caught,” so they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.

The Breakfast Club (Mad World)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

This Day in History

Bruno Richard Hauptmann convicted in the Lindbergh baby kidnap-murder; The World War II bombing of Dresden begins; Konstantin Chernenko becomes Soviet leader; Peter Gabriel born; Waylon Jennings dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.

Chuck Yeager

Continue reading

Ideas We Should Steal

Ali Velshi and John Oliver on the importance of humor in turbulent political times.

Pondering the Pundits

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

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Michelle Cottle: Vengeance Is Mine, Saith the President

Acquitted of impeachment charges, Trump goes after those who defied him.

John Bolton, Joe Manchin, Adam Schiff, Hunter Biden, Doug Jones, Gordon Sondland, Alexander Vindman, Yevgeny Vindman, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jerry Nadler, Debbie Dingell, New York air travelers, federal prosecutors, the F.B.I. It’s been a mere week since Senate Republicans acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trial — assuring him once and for all that he needn’t fret about congressional accountability — but he has already made significant progress on his enemies list.

Members of Congress, administration officials, law enforcement officials, residents of blue states — anyone who has ever displeased Mr. Trump is a potential target. Heads may not wind up on literal pikes, but the president is already neck-deep into his reprisal tour. [..]

Far from denying Operation Vengeance, the White House has been justifying it. In the run-up to the president’s acquittal address last Thursday, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, assured Fox News viewers that he would be talking about “just how horribly he was treated and, you know, that maybe people should pay for that.”

Mr. Trump is now hard at work making that happen. And who’s to stop him?

Max Rose and Ali H. Soufan: We Once Fought Jihadists. Now We Battle White Supremacists.

The truth about so-called domestic terrorism? There is nothing domestic about it.

As a former soldier and F.B.I. agent, we both risked our lives to fight Al Qaeda. But the enemy we currently face is not a jihadist threat. It’s white supremacists — in the United States and overseas.

One American group, The Base, peppered a recruitment video with footage of our faces, intercut with shots of masked men machine-gunning a spray-painted Star of David. The Scandinavia-based Nordic Resistance Movement called us out by name, referring to us in a recent statement as “the Jew Max Rose” and “Arab F.B.I. agent Ali Soufan.” Defenders of the Ukrainian Azov Battalion, which the F.B.I. calls “a paramilitary unit” notorious for its “association with neo-Nazi ideology,” accuse us of being part of a Kremlin campaign to “demonize” the group.

Why the sudden attention? Because we, along with dedicated colleagues from across the political spectrum, are working to expose the truth about so-called domestic terrorism: There is nothing domestic about it.

Over the past several months — at congressional hearings, in a report by the Soufan Center, and in a letter to the State Department signed by 40 members of Congress — we have documented the existence of a global network of white supremacist extremists that stretches across North America, Europe and Australia. White supremacists today are organizing in a similar fashion to jihadist terrorist organizations, like Al Qaeda, in the 1980s and 1990s. They transcend national barriers with recruitment and dissemination of propaganda. And just as jihadists exploited conflicts in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Syria, so too are white supremacists using the conflict in Ukraine as a laboratory and training ground.

Yet despite these profound similarities, United States law has not caught up to the new threat we face. International white supremacist groups are still not designated as foreign terrorist organizations, which means our law enforcement and intelligence agencies cannot access the full suite of tools available to them in countering groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

A few examples lay bare the extent of this tangled, transnational web.

Jennifer Rubin: Sanders won, but he’s not the big story coming out of New Hampshire

he New Hampshire primary may very well be remembered for the third- through fifth-place finishers and for how surprisingly close the race between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — the overwhelming favorite who won with 60 percent in 2016 — and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg was. Sanders was leading in the polls, but he nearly fell to the former Midwest mayor less than half his age. [..]

With the electorate heavily skewed in favor of electability (60 percent) rather than agreement on the issues, and about half the voters finding Sanders too liberal, there is reason to believe voters have become wary of Sanders as the standard bearer in a must-win election. His base of support seems not to have grown significantly from the start of the race. [..]

The shocker was Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who charged past her opponents so quickly the polls never fully accounted for her surge. A week ago, no one would have foreseen she would get to almost 20 percent of the vote and a third-place finish. She won voters who wanted to continue President Barack Obama’s policies (Obama’s own vice president came in third in that segment of the electorate), older voters, religious voters and voters for whom the debate was an important factor.

Richard Wolffe: After New Hampshire it’s clear: Joe Biden’s campaign is on life support

With so much opportunity, and frankly so much fear, Democrats are shopping around for their best bet to beat the biggest bozo

Twelve years ago, an insurgent challenger riding a wave of political momentum ran into a brick wall in New Hampshire. Barack Obama rediscovered his mojo in South Carolina, but for two weeks, it wasn’t clear where his campaign and his story were headed.

It’s too early to know where this Democratic story is headed in the fight to unseat Donald Trump. But some things are already clear.

The first is that Joe Biden’s campaign is on life support. Not so long ago, this was Biden’s contest to lose. After two crushing defeats, there’s no doubt about the prognosis: the former vice-president is fading fast.

Back in 2008 and 2016, Hillary Clinton ran two versions of the argument that voters wanted a mix of experience and change: of looking back and looking forward. That argument failed among Democrats the first time, and won the national popular vote the second time around by a large margin.

But it has resoundingly failed amid the wreckage of Donald Trump’s presidency, just as it did amid the carnage of George W Bush’s. Democratic voters want more change, not less change. Biden likes to say that we should compare him to the alternative, not the almighty. Sadly the voters have made the comparison and found him wanting against both.

Reverend William Barber: Trump’s greatest vulnerability is the economy – just ask poor Americans

Yes, the Dow is at a record high and unemployment rates are lower than they have been in decades – but 140 million people are also poor or low wealth

Rather than offer a report on the State of the Union, Donald Trump used his annual primetime slot in the House of Representatives to host a re-election rally. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, summed up the sentiment of the House majority when she stood behind Trump and ripped the text of his speech in half. “I tore up a manifesto of mistruths,” she later said. But of all the lies he told, the president is proudest of the economy he claims is booming. Poor and low-income Americans know that the economy is, in fact, his greatest vulnerability.

Yes, the Dow is at a record high and official unemployment rates are lower than they have been in decades. But measuring the health of the economy by these stats is like measuring the 19th-century’s plantation economy by the price of cotton. However much the slaveholders profited, enslaved people and the poor white farmers whose wages were stifled by free labor did not see the benefits of the boom.

In America today, 140 million people are poor or low wealth. While three individuals own as much wealth as all of them put together, the real cost of living has soared as wages have stagnated. Since the 1970s, the number of people who are paying more than a third of their monthly income in rent has doubled, and there is not a single county in the nation where a person working full-time at minimum wage can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment. Sixty per cent of African Americans are poor or low-income, as are 64% of Hispanics, but the largest single racial group among America’s poor and low-income – 66 million Americans – are white.

The Bloom Is Off By A Nose

Look, I have my weaknesses.

As it turns out May Mike Bloomberg’s defense of his Racist ‘Stop & Frisk’ Policies is a complete and total fabrication.

Or in plain English- a lie.

He may in fact have reduced the number by 95%, but only after increasing it by 700% and aggressively expanding it throughout his Administration, and had to be forced by an Appeals Court (meaning he wanted to persist so badly after a an intial loss that he was willing to waste another few Million of New York City’s money) finding it just as Unconstitutional (Duh) as the Trial Court did.

So in addition to being a Racist he’s also Stupid (he didn’t listen to his Lawyers who must have told him because the Law is clear).

Mike Bloomberg Claims He Cut Stop and Frisk by 95 Percent — After Increasing It Seven Fold
Lee Fang
February 12 2020, 12:23 a.m.

Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg has been facing mounting online criticism over his mayoral record on stop and frisk, a tactic used by the New York Police Department in what critics — and, eventually, a federal judge — said was a biased manner. This week, a five-year-old recording emerged of Bloomberg obliquely defending the program. In response, the Bloomberg campaign released a statement on Tuesday misleadingly claiming that he simply inherited the policy and later reduced the practice.

“I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused,” he said in a statement posted on his presidential campaign website. “By the time I left office,” the statement continued, “I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.”

The statement drew immediate backlash over its twisting of history. In 2001, New York City maintained an aggressive program of stopping and searching people throughout the city, with an overwhelming focus on young African American and Latino men. But, under the Bloomberg administration, the program vastly expanded, from around 97,296 stops in 2002 to a height of 685,724 in 2011 — a more than seven-fold increase during the former mayor’s tenure.

Far from changing course over the mayor’s focus on “racial equity,” as he has since claimed, the practice was clawed back by several lawsuits that charged that the law enforcement program violated the basic constitutional rights of residents. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, in a scathing decision, noted that over the course of 2.3 million frisks, weapons were found only 1.5 percent of the time. The decision pointed out that over half of the stops included African Americans, and about third Latino, with less than 10 percent targeting whites.

The Bloomberg administration fought alongside New York’s notoriously aggressive police union to continue the program, arguing that the stop-and-frisk effort was focused on suspects with “Furtive Movements,” in “High Crime Areas” and those with a “Suspicious Bulge.” But the judge knocked down those assertions, noting that such claims are vague and subjective.

While data does reflect that violent crime tends to cluster in particular neighborhoods and among young men, the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk program went well beyond targeting based solely on objective evidence. Expert testimony in federal court found that the New York Police Department carried out far more stop and frisks on African American and Latino residents even when controlling for precinct-level crime statistics and socioeconomic characteristics. In other words, the evidence showed that minorities were targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of suspicion than white people.

The charge of racial bias was also backed up by multiple investigations and media scandals. In one case, a low-level police officer recorded his superior instructing him on how to target residents for stop and frisk in a particular neighborhood. “I have no problem telling you this: male blacks, 14 to 20, 21,” the officer said in the recording. In another case, a young Harlem teenager surreptitiously recorded officers stopping and frisking him. Asked why they had targeted him, the officer replied, “For being a fucking mutt.”

What’s more, the true extent of the program may never be known. Every time a New York police officer engages in a stop and frisk, they are expected to fill out a form for the action to be recorded by the city. Court monitors have noted that there is evidence that many stops go unrecorded or are improperly documented. Current New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who succeeded Bloomberg in 2014, dramatically curtailed the police program, prompting backlash from the police union. In 2019, the New York Police Department reported 11,008 stops, a small fraction of the amount of stops during the Bloomberg era.

Bloomberg has attempted to use his vast fortune to rebrand his image. The Bloomberg Philanthropy has given grants to various civil rights groups and worked to build schools, libraries, and community centers in low-income and minority neighborhoods, a fact often cited during Bloomberg’s campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

The billionaire executive’s largesse, however, can’t conceal Bloomberg’s own words defending the racial bias in his approach to law enforcement. The Aspen Institute comments in 2015 were among many instances in which he defended the program. In 2013, during a radio program, Bloomberg declared, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It’s exactly the reverse of what they say.”

It amazes me that anyone considers Bloomberg any more a Democrat than Sanders (he was elected as a Republican). The difference is he won’t hold accountable the Institutional Establishment Democrats and their Consultants who are directly responsible for the Party’s Electoral Failures over the last 40 years…

And Sanders will.

That’s why the Party hates him (C’mon, the bias is clear and undeniable).

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