A Good Question

Frontline PBS

That Was It

Stephen live post debate.

The Breakfast Club (Pocket Full Of Mumbles)

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

Suicide blast kills U.S. Marines and sailors in Lebanon; Students in Hungary spark Cold War revolt; President Richard Nixon agrees to turn over White House tapes; ‘Tonight Show’ host Johnny Carson born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

Adlai Stevenson I

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Last Debate (Probably)

I’m surprised Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is even showing up. He’s done himself no favors so far. and tonight is another likely debacle.

On the other hand he has few enough chances to change anything at all.

Starts at 8 pm et.

I’ve been waiting for this all day.

The White House version of the Stalh interview. I’m not under embargo and I don’t like CBS anyway.

I told you. Halloween is scarier than normal.

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

Jennifer Rubin: How big a Republican wipeout are we looking at?

Trump and the GOP’s geographic footprint is shrinking.

The expansion of the presidential map into states where Democrats have not made inroads for many election cycles (e.g., Georgia, Texas and Arizona) has two critical ramifications.

First, a strategy of discrediting an election or challenging its results becomes untenable when Biden’s electoral count rises above 300. The public perception of the legitimacy of a Biden win increases, and the inclination of a court or a state legislature to engage in gamesmanship diminishes. The adage that “if it’s not close, he can’t cheat” certainly has relevance here.

Second, the incentive for Republicans to rethink their narrow-casting approach to politics, to stop relying on the politics of White grievance and to shed their dependence on voter suppression techniques increases when it becomes clear that they are at risk of becoming a regional, niche party. It is only when Republicans understand that such tactics cannot succeed as a national message that its primary proponents will lose power. If the Trumpers’ approach means Republicans cannot even hold Texas or Georgia, then their dominance of the party is threatened. In other words, a devastating, geographically broad defeat for the Republican Party may be critical to its recovery and reform.

Amanda Marcotte: Mitch McConnell admits he’s blocking coronavirus bill — will media finally stop blaming Democrats?

Republicans clearly never intended to pass a new relief bill — so why has the media consistently blamed Democrats?

For months, Congress has failed to pass a coronavirus relief bill, despite the widespread economic devastation and the fact that, under Donald Trump’s malicious mismanagement, the pandemic has spiraled out of control, infecting 8.25 million people and killing more than 220,000, as of Wednesday morning.

The mainstream media has firmly decided who they blame for the lack of a bill: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who control the lower house of Congress. Blaming Democrats has been the dominant press narrative, even though it’s been obvious from the get-go that Republicans don’t want more relief legislation.

Now we have concrete proof that Republicans are to blame: Late Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “has warned the White House not to strike an agreement,” on the grounds that any new deal struck with Pelosi and the Democrats and “could disrupt the Senate’s plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week.”

To anyone unburdened by the delusion that “balance” is a more important journalistic principle than truth, it was always obvious that Republicans were the reason no coronavirus bill was getting passed. For one thing, House Democrats already passed a robust relief bill in May, which Senate Republicans have basically ignored while avoiding any substantive efforts at negotiating a bill that can pass both houses. For another thing, there are obvious ideological differences between Democrats, where even the party’s “moderate” wing supports increased social spending, and Republicans, whose only real goal is moving as much wealth as possible from the hands of working people to the rich.

Robert Reich: How to stop Trump from stealing the election

Donald Trump will stop at nothing to retain his power

Trump is likely to claim that mail-in ballots, made necessary by the pandemic, are rife with “fraud like you’ve never seen,” as he alleged during his debate with Joe Biden — although it’s been shown that Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.

So we should expect him to dispute election results in any Republican-led state he loses by a small margin — such as Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.

The 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides that if state electors deadlock or neither candidate gets a majority of the votes in the Electoral College needed to win the presidency (now 270) — because, for example, Trump contests votes in several key states — the decision about who’ll be president goes to the House, where each of the nation’s 50 states gets one vote.

That means less-populous Republican-dominated states like Alaska (with one House member, who’s a Republican) would have the same clout as large Democratic states like California (with 53 House members, 45 of whom are Democrats).

So if the decision goes to the House, Trump has the advantage right now: 26 of state congressional delegations in the House are now controlled by Republicans, and 22 by Democrats (two — Pennsylvania and Michigan — are essentially tied).

But he won’t necessarily keep that advantage after the election. If the decision goes to the House, it would be made by lawmakers elected in November, who will be sworn in on January 3 — three days before they’ll convene to decide the winner of the election.

Greg Sargent: How the Iran news actually undermines one of Trump’s biggest lies

Trump’s own director of national intelligence accidentally gives away the president’s game.

There’s a lot to scrutinize about John Ratcliffe’s big announcement about Iran and Russia, but an important piece of news about it is getting lost: Without doing so directly, President Trump’s own director of national intelligence actually debunked one of the president’s biggest lies about the election.

Much discussion of Ratcliffe’s remarks to the media has focused on his claim that Iran is sending fake threatening emails to voters — purportedly from the right-wing extremist Proud Boys — to help Trump. As many have noted, the idea that this benefits Trump makes little sense on its face.

But Ratcliffe also said something else in his Wednesday evening comments that is oddly getting overlooked: He indirectly but unequivocally confirmed that the claims that Trump has been making about voter fraud, particularly in vote-by-mail, are false.

Dan Froomkin: If Joe Biden wins this election, mainstream media has plenty of catch-up work ahead

After Nov. 3, comparing Biden to Donald Trump may no longer be enough. It will be time to ask the hard questions

There’s a lot we don’t know about what kind of leader Joe Biden will be if he wins the presidential election.

None of it matters very much before Nov. 3, because this is not a normal election. There is nothing we could possibly learn about Biden that would make him a worse candidate than Donald Trump. We know Biden is a fundamentally decent man, with flaws. Trump is a disaster and an existential threat to core American values.

But the political press corps has never pressed Biden hard on, well, anything — not even when he was running for the Democratic nomination against several strong competitors. Reporters failed to aggressively question him during the primaries, a professional lapse I still don’t understand.

(And no, I don’t mean bogus questions about planted conspiracy theories. I mean tough questions about his history, his policies and his campaign.)

Once it was clear Biden would become the nominee, everything suddenly became relative — relative to Donald Trump, that is. So the press corps’ docile stance was largely appropriate. I was initially more worried that reporters might repeat the journalistic failures of 2016: blowing Democratic mini-scandals out of proportion, while underplaying Trump’s unbounded corruption and tragic incapacity, to create the appearance of balance.

But Trump’s clueless and disastrous response to a deadly pandemic — on top of his unhinged lies and some excellent investigative reporting on his finances — made that kind of false equivalence impossible even for the most jaded political journalists. The few attempted Biden gotchas have fallen terribly flat.

It wasn’t Biden that the Washington press corps needed to hold accountable. He simply was not the story.

But all that changes if and when he becomes the president-elect.

The Fourth Estate

For the record the First was Clergy, the Second was Nobles, and the Third was the stinking Peasants.

This is difficult. Cororatist Media is basically poorly presented (they aren’t even good) Propoganda and they all need to be fired.

Now.

On the other hand I think these people hate them for the wrong reasons.

That’s the kind of Journalism Game of Thrones money buys.

Cartnoon

Halloween is scarier than usual.

The Breakfast Club (Homeward Bound)

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

A Cold War crisis over Cuba leads to brink of nuclear war; Shah of Iran allowed into U.S. for treatment; ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd killed; Last victim slain in D.C. sniper shootings; Cellist Pablo Casals dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That’s what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

Bobby Seale

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Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news 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

Amanda Marcotte: Mitch McConnell admits he’s blocking coronavirus bill — will media finally stop blaming Democrats?

Republicans clearly never intended to pass a new relief bill — so why has the media consistently blamed Democrats?

For months, Congress has failed to pass a coronavirus relief bill, despite the widespread economic devastation and the fact that, under Donald Trump’s malicious mismanagement, the pandemic has spiraled out of control, infecting 8.25 million people and killing more than 220,000, as of Wednesday morning.

The mainstream media has firmly decided who they blame for the lack of a bill: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who control the lower house of Congress. Blaming Democrats has been the dominant press narrative, even though it’s been obvious from the get-go that Republicans don’t want more relief legislation. [..]

To anyone unburdened by the delusion that “balance” is a more important journalistic principle than truth, it was always obvious that Republicans were the reason no coronavirus bill was getting passed. For one thing, House Democrats already passed a robust relief bill in May, which Senate Republicans have basically ignored while avoiding any substantive efforts at negotiating a bill that can pass both houses. For another thing, there are obvious ideological differences between Democrats, where even the party’s “moderate” wing supports increased social spending, and Republicans, whose only real goal is moving as much wealth as possible from the hands of working people to the rich.

Heather Digby Parton: GOP’s invented Hunter Biden scandal isn’t going away: Are they shooting for 2022 already?

Republicans know they may face a sweeping defeat in two weeks. But their latest pseudo-scandal may keep hope alive

One of the many nerve-wracking questions Americans facing with the 2020 presidential election is whether all the bizarre conspiracy theories that have sprung up in the last few years will outlast the Trump administration. Are we in for a prolonged period of this level of lunacy in our politics? [..]

The fever may break once the chaos agent is out of the White House. As Bump pointed out in that Washington Post article, part of the reason some people gravitate to these elaborate conspiracies is because they need to feel that someone, somewhere, is pulling the strings because otherwise everything feels out of control. Perversely, if Trump loses, these people may actually calm down. Even if they don’t, what’s left of the GOP establishment is likely to distance itself as much as possible from the kookier conspiracists. It’s bad for business.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to give up conspiracy theories and pseudo-scandal-mongering altogether. It is, after all, one of their favorite political weapons. [..]

The Hunter Biden “scandal” has all the hallmarks of one of those patented GOP mudslinging operations. It’s not as wild as a pedophile ring in a pizza parlor, but it’s got lots of hurtful personal slander and ugly calumny to keep the folks entertained. That it has a Russia-Ukraine element makes it especially fun for those who want payback for Donald Trump being exposed as the most useful of idiots in the past four years.

Stuart Stevens, Rick Wilson, Steve Schmidt and Reed Galen: Republicans, it’s time to choose between autocracy and a republic

Republicans Reed Galen, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson are co-founders of the Lincoln Project. Stuart Stevens is a senior adviser to the Lincoln Project.

This is for the many men and women in Washington with whom we have worked over the past 30-plus years. Some of you hold elected office. Some are officials in the Trump administration. Many of you are members of the consultant and lobbyist class.

In two weeks, the most consequential election of our generation will come, and your time for choosing will arrive. As Republicans, will you stand with President Trump, or will you stand with, and stand up for, America? Will you protect democracy or protect a single person and his family?

We’re not merely talking about your vote.

We’re talking about what comes next.

Never before in U.S. history has an incumbent president refused in advance to accept the outcome of an election. In the days ahead, your party may call upon you to support efforts by a White House that refuses to transfer power after a loss at the polls. The weapons won’t be tanks but thousands of lawyers backed by an attorney general who works for the president, not the people.

This effort will succeed only if a Republican Party power structure offers blind allegiance to one man instead of the republic. Every Republican elected official, staffer, consultant, operative and sympathizer will face a choice: my party or my country?

Paul Waldman: Think things are ugly and divisive now? Just wait until 2021.

If they lose in November, the party of Donald Trump will only double down on divisiveness.

In our more innocent pre-2016 days, politicians often accused each other of being “divisive,” which often meant little more than “You’re advocating policies I don’t like” or “You’re criticizing me and I don’t like that either.” Donald Trump showed us what divisiveness really is, with two campaigns and a presidency devoted to fomenting hatred and resentment, all based on his belief that if Americans were at war with one another then he could profit from the conflict.

As he closes out his term, Trump is leaning ever harder on division, and other Republicans are enthusiastic participants in his project. But what if he loses? Will they decide that their path back to power might be found somewhere other than telling some Americans to focus their anger on other Americans?

The sad answer is no. This is driven home by a new report that you may have to read two or three times to actually believe it

Greg Sargent: Why Trump’s endgame is to rage at Lesley Stahl

Trump had hoped to wage this campaign in a fictional universe of his own creation.

Now that President Trump has gone on the attack against CBS’s Lesley Stahl, some observers appear puzzled: Why would Trump squander his final chance to close his big polling gap with Joe Biden on unhinged public fights rather than on winning back voters who’ve been alienated by exactly these sorts of meltdowns?

The fact that this comes after Trump waged a public assault on Anthony S. Fauci, his own leading infectious-disease expert, only seems to compound the folly here, since voters are surely looking to the popular Fauci for advice with the coronavirus again spiking around the country.

But in a very real sense people such as Stahl and Fauci actually are the chief opponents Trump must contend with in the campaign’s final days. They are the figures he perceives to be standing in the way of his effort to conduct this campaign in an entirely invented universe that he’d hoped to manufacture for this very purpose.

Who Has A China Scandal?

As it turns out the Unidicted Co-consprirator Bottomless Pinoccchio reported $25 Million from questionable Chinese sources in 2017, $15.5 Million of which went right in his pocket and $3.5 Million came from a sweetheart sale of Javanka’s condo in NYC.

In addition to her licensing deal.

Trump Records Shed New Light on Chinese Business Pursuits
By Mike McIntire, Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig, The New York Times
Oct. 20, 2020

President Trump and his allies have tried to paint the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son’s business dealings there.

Senate Republicans produced a report asserting, among other things, that Mr. Biden’s son Hunter “opened a bank account” with a Chinese businessman, part of what it said were his numerous connections to “foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.”

But Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company.

It is difficult to determine from the tax records precisely how much money Mr. Trump has spent trying to land business in China. The records show that he has invested at least $192,000 in five small companies created specifically to pursue projects there over the years. Those companies claimed at least $97,400 in business expenses since 2010, including some minor payments for taxes and accounting fees as recently as 2018.

But Mr. Trump’s plans in China have been largely driven by a different company, Trump International Hotels Management — the one with a Chinese bank account.

The company has direct ownership of THC China Development, but is also involved in management of other Trump-branded properties around the world, and it is not possible to discern from its tax records how much of its financial activity is China-related. It normally reports a few million dollars in annual income and deductible expenses.

In 2017, the company reported an unusually large spike in revenue — some $17.5 million, more than the previous five years’ combined. It was accompanied by a $15.1 million withdrawal by Mr. Trump from the company’s capital account.

On the president’s public financial disclosures for that year, he reported the large revenue figure, and described it only as “management fees and other contract payments.” One significant event for the company that is known to have occurred in 2017 was the buyout of its management contract for the SoHo hotel in New York, which Bloomberg reported to have cost around $6 million.

And not long after winning the 2016 election, Mr. Trump reported selling a penthouse in one of his Manhattan buildings for $15.8 million to a Chinese-American businesswoman named Xiao Yan Chen, who bought the unit, previously occupied by Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, in an off-market transaction. Ms. Chen runs an international consulting firm and reportedly has high-level connections to government and political elites in China.

Mr. Trump’s tax records show that he reported a capital gain of at least $5.6 million from the penthouse sale in 2017, his first year as president.

Who is this Hunter Biden you speak of?

Happiest Place On Earth?

Maybe not so much. Frankly you couldn’t pay me to go to any of these places under current conditions.

California lays out strict conditions for theme park reopenings
By Agence France-Presse
October 21, 2020

California health officials on Tuesday set out strict conditions for the reopening of theme parks such as Disneyland that were forced to shut down because of the coronavirus crisis, with the new guidelines likely extending the closures for several more weeks.

Under the eagerly anticipated protocols, large parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios will be allowed to reopen once coronavirus transmission in the county in which they operate reaches the state’s least restrictive “yellow” tier.

A smaller park will be allowed to reopen once its home county reaches the second least restrictive tier.

Orange County, home to Disneyland in Anaheim, currently is in the “red”, or second tier, while Universal Studios is in the “purple,” the state’s most restrictive tier.

Once allowed to reopen, larger theme parks can only operate at 25 percent capacity and visitors will have to make advance reservations and must wear face coverings except when eating or drinking, according to the guidelines.

Mark Ghaly, the state’s director of health and human services, said it was unclear when the theme parks will be able to reopen given the fluctuating Covid-19 infection rates.

“There is a path forward,” he told reporters. “We don’t know when, but we know how.”

California’s theme parks were forced to shut down in March. Disney in September announced it would cut 28,000 jobs, blaming California officials for refusing to ease restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen.

The company’s Florida theme park reopened in mid-July with boosted health and safety measures and reduced capacity.

Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, lashed out at the protocols outlined Tuesday, saying they would lead to the closure of small family-owned businesses and keep the world’s second-most visited theme park shuttered for the foreseeable future.

“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world,” he said in a statement.

“Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities.”

Erin Guerrero, president of the California Attractions and Parks Association, also denounced the measures, saying they will devastate the industry and will essentially “keep theme parks closed indefinitely.”

“This plan prolongs unemployment for tens of thousands of people, hastens bankruptcy for families and small business owners adjacent to parks, and contributes to insolvency for local governments whose budgets rely on parks as an anchor economic driver,” she said in a statement.

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