The Breakfast Club (Dangerous Combinations)

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

Martin Luther King, Junior born; Richard Nixon suspends U.S. offensive in Vietnam; Queen Elizabeth the First crowned; Work completed on Pentagon; first Super Bowl takes place.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Polling, Polling, Polling

Keep digin’, digin’, digin’
Though voters disapprovin’

The Wall!

Don’t realize you’re losing
Just lie, mope and confuse ’em
Soon we’ll be jailed and livin’ inside.

Oh, is it that bad? Yes, yes it is.

No wonder Trump is in such a foul mood
By James Downie, Washington Post
January 13, 2019

As a new Washington Post-ABC poll shows, Trump is losing the argument over the government shutdown and building a wall at the southern border. And he’s losing it badly.

In the new poll, released Sunday morning, 53 percent of respondents (including 53 percent of independents) blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown (now the longest ever). Only 29 percent overall (and less than a quarter of independents) blame the Democrats. Fifty-four percent oppose the border wall. As for the musings from Trump and some other Republicans about declaring a national emergency to fund the wall, only 24 percent say the border situation is a crisis. Not a single part of Trump’s framing has taken hold with a majority of the American public.

Other polls have bad news for the White House as well: A new CNN poll finds that 56 percent of voters oppose the wall; only 39 percent support it. Similar to the Post-ABC survey, 55 percent of voters tell CNN they blame the president for the shutdown, with only 32 percent blaming the Democrats. Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating has dropped five points since December.

The usual fallback here for those determined to find good news in bad polls for the president is “at least his base is holding.” And yes, Republican support for the border wall has “jumped 16 points in the past year, from 71 percent to 87 percent” in the Post-ABC poll. But Trump’s digging in on the border wall hasn’t actually improved his support among Republicans, just their support for the wall itself. Meanwhile, in the CNN poll, Trump’s decline “comes primarily among whites without college degrees, 45% of whom approve and 47% disapprove, marking the first time his approval rating with this group has been underwater in CNN polling since February 2018.” Those voters were crucial to Trump’s victories in Midwest states in 2016; without them, his path to 270 electoral votes narrows further.

That contradictory polling captures just how critical Trump’s crisis has become. Even as independents have turned more against him, the president’s base and conservative media have become more invested in the wall. (In the Post-ABC poll, two-thirds of Republicans who support the wall oppose a Trump compromise with Democrats.) What was “only” a top policy priority has become a near holy cause for the right. So whom should Trump choose to tick off?

At this point, the saving grace for Trump is that when it comes to shutdowns, voters quickly forget. If he folds soon, whatever damage done will be long gone by Election Day 2020. But what if he doesn’t give in for months? Or what if, just as the whole GOP doubled down on immigration before the midterms and suffered the consequences, Trump makes the wall a major issue in 2020? Suddenly, a shutdown would be a political disaster for Trump — and not just a policy disaster for the country.

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

Eugene Robinson: Trump is terrified of the far-right echo chamber

The government isn’t shut down because of President Trump’s unbelievable cluelessness as a dealmaker. It’s shut down because of his many fears.

I don’t mean his pretend fears. Surely Trump doesn’t really believe his own racist nonsense about the U.S.-Mexico border being a sieve for homicidal maniacs and walk-to-work terrorists, and he can’t be too worried about a humanitarian crisis that is largely of his own creation. I’m talking about his real fears — the ones that must keep him up at night.

Trump is afraid of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Laura Ingraham and the rest of the far-right echo chamber. (He sees Sean Hannity as more of a house pet.) He’s afraid of his shrunken but loyal base, which could abandon him if he doesn’t give them a wall. He’s afraid of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the federal, state and local prosecutors in New York who are investigating various Trump enterprises. And he’s afraid of losing his coercive hold over the Republican senators who one day could sit in judgment of his fate.

Karen Tumulty: Trump is the president of the Republican base — not the country

The Great Shutdown Showdown of 2019 has shown more clearly than anything before the central reality of Donald Trump’s presidency: He does not lead a country; he leads a movement.

Trump is president of the Republican base. He knows how to make his most passionate supporters vibrate like the reed of a clarinet. And they have the same effect on him.

That is why he was willing to go to the wall over The Wall, despite the fact that most Americans think it is a lousy idea. It is why he proudly claimed ownership of what has now become the longest government shutdown ever, and is deservedly getting more of the blame for the pain that it is causing.

Trump used his first televised Oval Office address not to offer a more persuasive argument, or a fresh compromise, or to bring the country together. The only thing he managed to do in that precious nine minutes was to cheapen our most revered national platform with the same histrionic claims about illegal immigration that he made when he came down the Trump Tower escalator in 2015.

All of this stands in contrast with how presidents normally act — or, perhaps, that should be how normal presidents act — when their promises turn out to be implausible or deeply unpopular.

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Big Day For Brexit

Tomorrow the British Parliament will finally take a vote on Theresa May’s Brexit Plan. It is all but certain to fail, the biggest question is the magnitude of the failure.

I would vote against it, not because it’s necessarily bad though it’s not a gift to the UK Economy (which it will likely trash almost as much as a No Deal Brexit), but because it makes it probable that May’s Conservative Government will fall and force a General Election.

Jeremy Corbyn has unfortunately not drawn much of a distinction between Tories and Labour on the issue. Other than promising a No Confidence vote after the failure of the plan, his support for a second referendum has been lukewarm at best despite the fact that his own membership is in favor of holding one immediately by a 2 to 1 margin with similar sentiments held almost as strongly by the entire electorate.

Not that a Remain vote is a sure thing, the polling on that is much more evenly divided though Remain seems to be holding a slight edge at the moment.

Still, Corbyn publicly believes he can get a better deal from the EU than May which I consider highly speculative. It could make a difference to approach it from the Left rather than the Right in that there might be some concessions he would be willing to make that the Tories are ideologically opposed to and that might result in addressing some of the Left criticisms of EU membership, but I don’t think they would be particularly significant.

This is mostly due to the EU wanting to punish the UK for leaving as a warning to others who, quite correctly, have concerns about the EU’s Austerity Policy and it’s Autocratic anti-Democratic structure. They have no incentive to negotiate and it would be very hard to generate a new consensus among the 27 nations with individual veto power anyway.

The extent of May’s failure is demonstrated by the fact that the only argument among British observers is whether her Plan loses by more than 200 votes or not. If her defeat is narrow you can envision scenarios like her eeking out a Confidence Vote victory or presiding over an interim custodial Government. About the only thing that Tories agree on is that Labour is a pack of Communist rabble that must be defeated at all costs because…

Well, Communists you know.

Myself? I think Thatcherite Neo Liberal Privatization and looting of the Commons is a proven failure that ought to be tossed on the rubbish heap of History and killed with fire (it’s an Internet meme, not a threat) as soon as possible. Why the British tolerate their monopolistic private Railway System is as much a puzzle to me as why the U.S. doesn’t have one to speak of at all (it’s spotty, inconvenient, and prohibitively expensive with tickets costing 3 to 5 times as much compared to flights to the same destination, of course Airlines are heavily subsidized and Amtrack an unwanted stepchild).

So we shall see what we shall see tomorrow but you should pay attention because it’s a really big deal.

Cartnoon

“C” Movie. It’s About Capitalism (Seriously.)

The Breakfast Club (Coffee and Donuts)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for January 14th

 

George Wallace is sworn in;United States ratifies a peace treaty with Britain;, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meet; Joe DiMaggio and actress Marilyn Monroe get married;Today Show debuts.

 

Breakfast Tune Coffee and Donuts

 

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

 
Krispy Kreme delivers doughnuts to officers over pastry loss

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Krispy Kreme has stepped in to comfort Kentucky police officers mourning the loss of a doughnut truck that caught fire.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the company and a police escort delivered dozens of doughnuts to the city police department Wednesday afternoon.

Officer Kyle Mounce says no one was injured when a Krispy Kreme truck caught fire in the city on Monday, but the truck’s doughnuts were ruined. The fire’s cause was unclear as of Monday.

Throwball Quarterfinals: Iggles at Aints

Well, I still hate the Iggles just as much as ever, maybe even more, while the Aints have my grudging respect because of Katrina.

You know that 5 Cops were convicted of gunning down 6 unarmed civilians (2 dead) on Danziger Bridge for crossing while Black, right? And they lied their asses off about it claiming there was an Officer down and they were under fire from at least 4 suspects. Cops are mostly professional assholes and liars, it’s what attracts them to the job.

Everyone tells me New Orleans is a fun town too. Wouldn’t know myself (though I have a small collection of Mardi Gras Beads re-gifted me by visitors), the attraction of any destination South of the Mason-Dixon is entirely measured by proximity to Waffle House Hash Browns (I like mine Country, Capped, Covered, and Smothered- $4.10 for a Large which is quite enough).

The Aints are easily my favorite team left in the Playoffs AND they are the top rated overall (take that Patsies). I sincerely hope they crush the Iggles and put me at 3 – 1 (at the moment the Patsies are dominating the Chargers, wait until you see the Chiefs) for the weekend.

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – Keg Stand

The host of CBS’ “The Late Show” Stephen Colbert explains the longest government shutdown with beer.

The Russian Connection: The Manchurian Candidate

In the novel, The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon, published in 1959, the story is of an infantry platoon captured during the Korean conflict. The platoon members are brainwashed to believe that their Sargent, Robert Shaw, heroically saved their lives. Unbeknownst to them, Shaw, who is a member of a powerful political family, has been brainwashed into being an assassin for a Communist conspiracy. It’s a really good thriller and the 1962 movie is faithful to the story line. The title became a meme as defined by Dictionary.com as:

A Manchurian candidate is a person, especially a politician, being used as a puppet by an enemy power. The term is commonly used to indicate disloyalty or corruption, whether intentional or unintentional.

That leads us to today and real life with this:

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia
by Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.

The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude. But the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said. [..]

The criminal and counterintelligence elements were coupled together into one investigation, former law enforcement officials said in interviews in recent weeks, because if Mr. Trump had ousted the head of the F.B.I. to impede or even end the Russia investigation, that was both a possible crime and a national security concern. The F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division handles national security matters.

If the president had fired Mr. Comey to stop the Russia investigation, the action would have been a national security issue because it naturally would have hurt the bureau’s effort to learn how Moscow interfered in the 2016 election and whether any Americans were involved, according to James A. Baker, who served as F.B.I. general counsel until late 2017. He privately testified in October before House investigators who were examining the F.B.I.’s handling of the full Russia inquiry.

What caught the FBI counterintelligence agents’ attention was Trump’s call for Russia, during a campaign news conference in July 2016, to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. His refusal to criticize Russia or President Vladimir Putin, as well as, the Republican Party softening its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia, added to the alarm for the investigators.

The Times report acknowledges that there is currently no public evidence from the Mueller investigation that Trump is working with Russian against the US. However, former assistant FBI director of counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC’s Joy Reid that Mueller’s team most likely has classified evidence of Trump’s relationship with Russia.

It means likely, Joy, even though the article is citing the public behavior of the president, as you just noted, in order to get this to pass muster, in order to get this through FBI headquarters, through teams of lawyers, across the street to the Department of Justice, to be the title name of an investigation, I am virtually certain that more evidence than just the public behavior of the president is involved in this and I think that evidence is likely classified evidence

When asked by Ms. Reid if the FBI might have intercepted phone communications and signal intelligence about ongoing cooperation between the president of the United States and Russia, Agent Figliuzzi responded “yes”:

“But I don’t even think that those relaxed regulations may play into that or not. They might, but from day one, Joy, you’ve heard the intelligence professionals saying there is much more to this iceberg than just the tip. [..]

That is what we call the dark side — the signals intelligence, the intercepts worldwide. [..]

We know from reporting throughout this case that allied partners have shared intelligence, whether it’s Australians or Brits or others [..]

This is really the hard part to get your arms around, literally our allies may hav been helping — and our intelligence community may have been supporting — a case and evidence development against our own president.

Since the campaign and the first few months of his administration, Trump hasn’t done much to allay the suspicions of the counterintelligence agents. In his meetings and conversations with Putin, Trump has gone to great lengths to conceal what was discussed, as was reported Saturday night in The Washington Post:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference. [..]

Former U.S. officials said that Trump’s behavior is at odds with the known practices of previous presidents, who have relied on senior aides to witness meetings and take comprehensive notes then shared with other officials and departments. [..]

The concerns have been compounded by actions and positions Trump has taken as president that are seen as favorable to the Kremlin. He has dismissed Russia’s election interference as a “hoax,” suggested that Russia was entitled to annex Crimea, repeatedly attacked NATO allies, resisted efforts to impose sanctions on Moscow, and begun to pull U.S. forces out of Syria — a move that critics see as effectively ceding ground to Russia.

At the same time, Trump’s decision to fire Comey and other attempts to contain the ongoing Russia investigation led the bureau in May 2017 to launch a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was seeking to help Russia and if so, why, a step first reported by the New York Times.

It is not clear whether Trump has taken notes from interpreters on other occasions, but several officials said they were never able to get a reliable readout of the president’s two-hour meeting in Helsinki. Unlike in Hamburg, Trump allowed no Cabinet officials or any aides to be in the room for that conversation.

Trump also had other private conversations with Putin at meetings of global leaders outside the presence of aides. He spoke at length with Putin at a banquet at the same 2017 global conference in Hamburg, where only Putin’s interpreter was present. Trump also had a brief conversation with Putin at a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires last month.

Trump generally has allowed aides to listen to his phone conversations with Putin, although Russia has often been first to disclose those calls when they occur and release statements characterizing them in broad terms favorable to the Kremlin. [..]

Because of the absence of any reliable record of Trump’s conversations with Putin, officials at times have had to rely on reports by U.S. intelligence agencies tracking the reaction in the Kremlin.

Previous presidents and senior advisers have often studied such reports to assess whether they had accomplished their objectives in meetings as well as to gain insights for future conversations.

Investigations of politicians, clergy, members of the media, etc., are not done lightly by the FBI and require approval from the highest level, i.e., the Attorney General or his deputy and the director of the FBI or his deputy. At the time this investigation was opened that would have been Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe, respectively. These investigations are not done on whim and this is certainly an unprecedented first. Could the man-baby who occupies the Oval Office be a Russian asset, at worst, an agent? We may never know but the heavens help us if if it’s true.

The Breakfast Club (Oveur Unger & Dunn)

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 January 13th

 

Japan apologizes; Douglas Wilder of Virginia is sworn in; “J’accuse” published;Composer Stephen Foster dies.

Breakfast Tune Rhiannon Giddens – Wayfaring Stranger

 

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

 
Man pleads guilty after alligator threat

BRIDEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A man who police say placed a 3-foot alligator on top of another man in Connecticut as part of an extortion attempt has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.

The Connecticut Post reports 30-year-old Isaias Garcia, of Garland, Texas, entered his plea Thursday to unlawful restraint.

Garcia originally faced kidnapping, assault and larceny charges in what police said was one of the strangest cases they have investigated.

Authorities say a 21-year-old man called his aunt in April to say he had been kidnapped and his abductor was demanding $800.

Police say she received a photograph of him face down in a bathtub, with an open-mouthed alligator on top of him.

Authorities later arrested Garcia at a Shelton hotel.

He faces up to one year in prison during his sentencing March 15.

Throwball Quarterfinals: Chargers at Patsies

Have I mentioned that I hate the Patsies with the white hot passion of a thousand suns because of the way Robert Kraft dicked over Hartford to get his new Stadium?

Oh, yeah, right.

He’s also a huge supporter of Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio and Bibi, got a medal for it and everything.

So are Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (supporters of Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio I mean, I don’t know how they feel about Bibi and they certainly don’t have medals for it, yet). They’re also cheats.

They look distinctly vulnerable and I hope the Chargers kick their ass.

The Chargers have the tools to do it and the Patsies (read Gronkowski and Brady) look old and tired. Ask Harriet Jones of Flydale North.

If not the Chargers then the Chiefs who just dismantled the Bolts 31 – 13 (yay, called one!). They look pretty unstoppable though I’m hoping the ‘Aints can take them in the finals.

House

So you think you know Nine Inch Nails from “Closer” or “Every Day Is Exactly The Same” (one of my favorites)?

Only – Nine Inch Nails

Wish – Nine Inch Nails

We’re In This Together – Nine Inch Nails

Well, maybe.

Look, I may do more artist oriented profiles in the future but I’m more driven by mood, sonic quality, visual excitement, and desperation.

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