Cartnoon

Country music singer Chris Stapleton has some CoVid-19 takes on old Christmas carols.

TMC for ek hornbeck

The Breakfast Club (Make The Laughs Outweigh The Tears)

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

Cult leader Jim Jones and hundreds of followers die in mass murder-suicide in South America; Massachusetts high court rules gay couples can marry; Disney’s ‘Steamboat Willie’ premieres in New York.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There isn’t a single human being who hasn’t plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears.

Dorothy Dix

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Late Night Today

This is a round up of the previous night’s late night talk show host’s opening monologues and highlight segments, because we need a good laugh to get through the rest of the day

from Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, New York Has A Clear Message For The Lame Duck:

As the current president nears the end of his term, one state in particular desperately does not want him to move back.

Scott Atlas, the man advising our current president on the Coronavirus pandemic, has argued that the United States should follow Sweden’s example and focus on achieving herd immunity. Stephen looks into how that policy has been going for the Swedes.

Late night with Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump irreversibly lighting American democracy on fire as his allies and lawyers pursue one deranged conspiracy theory after another while also letting a deadly plague ravage the country uncontrolled.

Day 13 of #Squattergate is upon us, Trump spent the weekend rage tweeting about the “rigged” election, Jimmy Kimmel goes through the ten “Trump Stages of Grief,” talks about the “Million” MAGA March, his plan to trick Trump out of the presidency, a Coronavirus vaccine that is on the horizon, Guillermo attempts a cartwheel, and Trump puts his legal fate in Rudy Giuliani, and kids tell us all the great lessons they’ve learned from our great misleader.

James Corden catches up with Reggie Watts after the weekend and dives into the news, including President Donald Trump using Twitter to declare he won the election both in ALL CAPS and regular caps. And Ritz is giving away a 10-inch cracker that has piqued our curiosity.

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

Paul Krugman: Why the 2020 Election Makes It Hard to Be Optimistic About the Future

If we can’t face up to a pandemic, how can we avoid apocalypse?

The 2020 election is over. And the big winners were the coronavirus and, quite possibly, catastrophic climate change.

OK, democracy also won, at least for now. By defeating Donald Trump, Joe Biden pulled us back from the brink of authoritarian rule.

But Trump paid less of a penalty than expected for his deadly failure to deal with Covid-19, and few down-ballot Republicans seem to have paid any penalty at all. As a headline in The Washington Post put it, “With pandemic raging, Republicans say election results validate their approach.”

And their approach, in case you missed it, has been denial and a refusal to take even the most basic, low-cost precautions — like requiring that people wear masks in public.

The epidemiological consequences of this cynical irresponsibility will be ghastly. I’m not sure how many people realize just how terrible this winter is going to be.

Amanda Marcotte: Lock him up! If Trump refuses to leave the scene after his defeat, there’s an obvious solution

To heal the country, Donald Trump needs to go away. He won’t do it on his own, so prosecution is the only answer

The national celebrations after Joe Biden decisively defeated Donald Trump in this month’s election focused heavily on the image of Trump being pushed out the door. People took to the streets and boogied down to Steam’s 1969 hit “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.” Signs carried by celebrants tended to focus more on Trump’s loss than Biden’s victory. During Saturday’s underwhelming MAGA march in Washington, counter-protesters chanted, “Trump, pack your shit! You’re illegitimate!”

Alas, like Freddy Krueger or the shark from “Jaws,” Trump will not be easy to get rid of. It’s not just that he refuses to concede and keeps telling his supporters he will find some legal miracle to invalidate the election, a ruse that stopped being serious several days ago and is now mostly the mercenary pitch of a con man. [..]

The only solution to this problem is for Trump to be too busy trying to stay out of jail — or too busy sitting in jail — to be the forever-candidate. To save America, Biden’s Department of Justice and state prosecutors in New York should focus on holding Trump accountable for all the various alleged or apparent crimes he’s committed. Trump’s executive privilege ends on Jan. 20 at noon Eastern time. That’s when the prosecutions should begin.

The list of such crimes is so long that the only real question should be where to start.

Katherine Stewart: Trump or No Trump, Religious Authoritarianism Is Here to Stay

Their unlikely ally may have lost the White House, but Christian nationalists still plan to win the war..

Will President-elect Joe Biden’s victory force America’s Christian nationalists to rethink the unholy alliance that powered Donald Trump’s four-year tour as one of the nation’s most dangerous presidents? Don’t count on it.

The 2020 election is proof that religious authoritarianism is here to stay, and the early signs now indicate that the movement seems determined to reinterpret defeat at the top of the ticket as evidence of persecution and of its own righteousness. With or without Mr. Trump, they will remain committed to the illiberal politics that the president has so ably embodied. [..]

Republicans have long known that the judiciary is one of the most effective instruments of minority rule. Mr. Trump’s success in packing the federal judiciary — as of this writing, 220 federal judges, including three Supreme Court justices — will be one of his most devastating legacies. The prospect of further entrenching minority rule in the coming years will keep the alliance between Republicans and the religious right alive.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Christian nationalist response to the 2020 election is that we’ve seen this movie before. The “stolen election” meme won’t bring Mr. Trump back into the Oval Office. But then, the birther narrative never took President Barack Obama out of office, either. The point of conspiratorial narratives and apocalyptic rhetoric is to lay the groundwork for a politics of total obstruction, in preparation for the return of a “legitimate” ruler. The best guess is that religious authoritarianism of the next four years will look a lot like it did in the last four years. We ignore the political implications for our democracy at our peril.

Cas Mudde: With Trump gone, can we talk about the fear of fascism we had about him?

It’s time to start a critical self-assessment of our analyses and commentary of the past years. What held up and what didn’t?

A March on Rome it was not. The “Million Maga March” attracted an estimated 5-10,000 people, far less than the roughly 30,000 fascists that marched from Naples to Rome in 1922, and it came nowhere near the “million” it had promised – despite the usual number-boosting from Trumpists. While Mussolini was able to use his march to grab power, this march will not help Trump cling on to power. In fact, Trump was so invested in the march, that his convoy sped past the protesters so that Trump could spend another day at his golf club in Virginia.

The Million Maga March is a good reminder of how problematic comparisons with historical fascism are. As soon as Trump became a serious contender for the US presidency, in early 2016, articles and books on the death of democracy/liberalism and the rise of fascism exploded. Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century became a #1 New York Times bestseller and the self-help book for anxious liberals. In 2016, users of the term “fascism” (for Trump) were criticized as fearmongers. Four years later, those not using the term were seen as cowards and enablers.

They All Fall Down

The loser of the 2020 presidential election is still losing in his and his supporters attempt to overturn a decisive defeat. So far, the courts have rejected, flat out 12 of the trump campaigns lawsuits. In order for Trump to remain in office, the results of Pennsylvania plus two of Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin. As Philip Bump writes in the Washington Post, “it’s increasingly obvious that that’s not going to happen.”

In Arizona, he has no route to overturning the results. The state does not allow candidates to call for recounts, and recounts are done only if the results are within one-tenth of 1 percent. (As of writing, the margin between Trump and Biden is three times that.) Trump’s campaign pushed to have Election Day ballots reviewed, later amending that request to focus only on ballots where scanners indicated that voters made multiple selections in a contest, invalidating the ballot. If the scanner was wrong, there may be votes to be found — but only 191 presidential votes met that standard, with Trump down more than 10,000.

In Georgia, a recount is underway as mandated by law. A Bloomberg News review of the proceedings published Sunday afternoon found that 48 of 159 counties in the state had completed their reviews of the votes cast. In most cases, only a handful of additional votes were added. Biden’s margin of victory in the state is more than 14,000 votes. Trump’s campaign had tried to have absentee ballots invalidated; the lawsuit was thrown out.

In Wisconsin, the Trump campaign can request a recount after votes are finalized in each county, the deadline for which is Tuesday. If it chooses to do so, the results are likely to mirror those in Georgia. Unlike in Georgia, the campaign itself will have to foot the bill. (Even though the state pays for the recount in Georgia, that has not prevented the Trump campaign from making fundraising pitches related to the effort.)

Remember: Trump needs two of these states and Pennsylvania. And in Pennsylvania, the campaign’s already long-shot legal effort was significantly pared back in a revised court filing this weekend. Where it once sought to block the inclusion of hundreds of thousands of votes after claiming that observers were too “far away from the action” — though still present — the suit now focuses on whether voters were allowed to fix rejected absentee ballots. If this argument is upheld, the effect would be limited to a small fraction of votes cast.

The Trump campaign insists that it is still contesting those hundreds of thousands of ballots, despite the suit dropping any requests for remediation centered on the issue.

Add to that, Trump has lost most of his white shoe law firms.

You will recognize Giuliani as the architect of Trump’s effort to impugn Biden with dubious allegations about his son’s business dealings, among other things. Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, who are married, overlap heavily with Giuliani on that effort and in general, including having employed the two Giuliani associates indicted last year for campaign finance violations. Both had been fixtures on Fox News Channel until DiGenova made wild claims about much of the State Department being under the control of a well-known Jewish financier. Sidney Powell is the attorney for former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and has become enmeshed in dubious theories of Flynn’s innocence rampant in conservative media. Jenna Ellis has been a legal adviser to Trump’s campaign for some time, although she’s primarily known for her energetic defenses of the president on social media and on Fox News.

In other words, Trump’s core legal team is now mostly made up of lawyers known more for their engagement with conservative media and public advocacy than for winning well-honed arguments challenging election results. It’s a team of lawyers focused on bolstering Trump more than on overturning any election results. It’s less a legal dream team than it is a @realDonaldTrump Twitter list named “good lawyers.”

This charade is 100% over, as was noted by Rick Hasen, election law expert and University of California, Irvine law professor.

With an overwhelming number of losses and withdrawals of cases, there is no path for the Trump campaign to overturn the results in a single state, much less states making up more than 36 electoral college votes.

It’s over. Trump may still say he has won the election. But there is no path. Even the two key federal cases in Pennsylvania do not involve nearly enough votes to overturn the results there even if they were successful (and I don’t expect them to be).

There is no path. Rudy Giuliani can say what he wants and the President can keep declaring that he’s won, but there’s no plausible legal way this election gets overturned.

We are not talking three Hail Marys anymore. We are talking done.

At noon on January 20, conman Donald Trump will become a civilian and face the music of his criminal fraud.

Cartnoon

First Dog On The Moon: Christmas is only 39 sleeps away! Could 2021 be worse than 2020? Surely not

TMC for ek hornbeck

The Breakfast Club (All The Colors)

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

Cult leader Jim Jones and hundreds of followers die in mass murder-suicide in South America; Massachusetts high court rules gay couples can marry; Disney’s ‘Steamboat Willie’ premieres in New York.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The whole point is to live life and be – to use all the colors in the crayon box.

RuPaul

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John Oliver – Trump & Election Results

A week after Joe Biden’s win in the US presidential election, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight John Oliver discusses Donald Trump’s various attempts to overturn the results, why his claims don’t hold water, and the consequences of indulging him.

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

Roger Cohen: Mr. President, Pack Your Bags and Be Gone

Trump wants to preserve, protect and defend only himself.

The ruler broods, alone with his rage and shame, undone by rejection, his mind, like Macbeth’s, “full of scorpions,” plotting to overturn facts and destroy American democracy. His lackeys, and only they remain, try to humor the master in his labyrinth.

Donald Trump, departing president, lost in an election that a division of the Department of Homeland Security has now called “the most secure in American history,” with no “evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”

Mr. President, get the boxes, get the tape, pack your bags and be gone.

He can’t. He won’t. It’s not in the man. Truth is unbearable. Fraud! Rigged! Trump can no more accept defeat than recall the fact that he took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

His only vow is to preserve, protect and defend himself. He has never been able to see beyond that orange face in the mirror. No Bible offers consolation to this man, no creed, no truth, no sense of decency, not even Fox News now, nothing.

Robert Reich: Trump’s refusal to concede is just the latest gambit to please Republican donors

Millions who should be ranged against the American oligarchy are distracted and divided – just as their leaders want

Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

Charles M. Blow: Trump, the Absolute Worst Loser

He has spent his life gaming the system, so it’s no surprise that he can’t accept defeat.

Donald Trump lost the election. He knows it. But he won’t admit it.

He still hopes and believes that there is a way for the courts to erase enough votes to tip the election in his favor. This will not happen.

His legal challenges in swing states across the country are largely being met with defeat and setback. In court, you have to provide evidence. Lies, accusations and conspiracy theory don’t cut it. Trump has spent his life gaming the system. It is unfathomable to him that this system can’t be gamed.

In the end, Trump hopes to push his case to the Supreme Court, where he has seated three conservative justices. That is also not likely to be a winning strategy.

Trump believes he can use the judiciary as a weapon against the American people. The judiciary is not likely to allow itself to be used.

Barring that, he is committed to destroying faith in the electoral process itself. If he didn’t win, he insists he must have been cheated because, in his mind, failure is not a possibility.

Like he has done for the entirety of his presidency, he is lying, concocting a narrative detached from reality.

Michelle Goldberg: The Post-Presidency of a Con Man

Out of office, Trump might seem a lot less formidable.

It’s hard to tell whether Donald Trump is attempting a coup or throwing a tantrum. [..]

But there’s cause for comfort, of a sort, in signs that the president is preparing for life outside the White House in exactly the way one would expect — by initiating new grifts. Trump has been sending out frantic fund-raising requests to “defend the election,” but as The New York Times reports, most of the money is actually going to a PAC, Save America, that “will be used to underwrite Mr. Trump’s post-presidential activities.” Axios reports that Trump is considering starting a digital media company to undermine Fox News, which he now regards as disloyal.

These moves suggest that while Trump may be willing to torch American democracy to salve his wounded ego, at least part of him is getting ready to leave office.

Laurence H. Tribe: Republicans are playing with fire. And we all risk getting burned

The party is challenging the outcome of the election without any proof of fraud. Their degradation of democracy will reverberate for years to come

Our system requires legitimate government, which requires legitimate elections. As Senator Chris Murphy put it, if Republicans convince half the country that “those people that got elected were illegitimately chosen, then so must be the actions they take when they get in office.” [..]

Even if violence doesn’t ensue this election cycle – and I fervently hope it won’t – the degradation of democracy will reverberate for years to come. Democratic self-government is not a condition, it’s a practice. The colonies practiced for over 150 years before forming a union, and even then they succeeded only on the second try. We practiced poorly for a century before unshackling our fellow citizens, and it took another 50 years of effort to enfranchise America’s women. We have not been perfect, but we have constantly endeavored to embody our ideals, to ensure that government of the people, by the people, and for the people will flourish in our great nation.

When we begin to doubt that government does reflect and represent the people, we begin to doubt that it ever can.

Republicans are sowing those seeds of doubt. And if we allow them to germinate and grow, we’ll soon find thorny disunion where our manicured garden of democracy once bloomed. No, the gates won’t be overrun and yes, the Biden administration will take office on 20 January.

But we should all worry whether that will be enough. To Republican leaders: democracy needs your help to flourish. Please, put patriotism above party loyalty before it’s too late.

Cartnoon

In his Last Week Tonight season finale for 2020, John Oliver blows up 2020, an exceptionally horrible year. He returns in February.

TMC for ek hornbeck

The Breakfast Club (American Ideals)

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

Highlights of this day in history: Dr. Sam Sheppard acquitted of murder in new trial; U.S. and U.S.S.R. form diplomatic ties; Second anthrax letter found sent to Capitol Hill; Actor William Holden dies; ‘Sound of Music’ hits Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

What are the American ideals? They are the development of the individual for his own and the common good; the development of the individual through liberty; and the attainment of the common good through democracy and social justice.

Louis D. Brandeis

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Rant of the Week: Vic Dibitetto – Out of Touch Politicians

Our Brooklyn, NY neighbor Vic Debitetto is ranting in NSFW language about politicians being out of touch with the needs of business owners in this pandemic.

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