Cartnoon

Jenny Nicholson

In case you’re tempted to see any version of The Purge

don’t.

The Breakfast Club (Metaphors)

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

Andrea Doria begins to sink after a collision in the North Atlantic; An Air France Concorde crashes outside Paris; First ‘test-tube’ baby born; Golfer Ben Hogan dies; ‘A Chorus Line’ opens on Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.

Orson Scott Card

Continue reading

Deliberate Confusion

The reason I went with the Manafort thing is there seems to be a deliberate confusion of 3 separate investigatory threads-

Manafort, cracked like Capone.

The paperwork is bad, really bad. Manafort goes to jail for real and a long time, he will not emerge alive. Manafort knows this and chooses silence in the hope the Russians spare his family.

So, ultimately unproductive. Manafort dies off screen, only his documents remain and to the extent they don’t contain direct evidence linking Trump to crimes like money laundering useless except to pressure Manafort who is, alas, dead.

What Manafort knows that makes him valuable is the strategy and finances of the Trump Spy Ring and its Moscow Centre controllers. A big get that won’t be got.

Cohen, Tape Hoarder.

He can’t wait to sell out to the lowest bidder and very disappointed people are not returning his calls.

The problem is he’s giving too much. All those tapes, all the reciepts, all 16 sets of books, the neatly filed threat letters and SLAPP suits.

Now this pile of junk is his life and you might expect him to be a little more familiar with it so the SDNY (not Mueller) are taking a fair amount of time to make sure they understand what they already have.

At least a slam dunk based just on the paper and unlike Manafort his emergency signals are on as he sits on the side of the road ahead of the cruiser waiting for the report from the station.

We will learn everything about Trump’s daily assholery from his gate crashing celebrity aggression to his cheapness and petty thievery. Other than that maybe not much, though if it turns out Trump impregnated the other Playboy Model (not the one the Inquirer bought out, the one that was paid by ‘Elliot Broidy’ to have an abortion) maybe the Evangelicals might be disgusted enough by their “Baby Killer” leader fo it to make a difference.

I expect not though.

Why we started investigating Carter Page.

You know? Who cares? The guy was listed as a recruiting target by Russians. You’ll notice that objections to the ‘Steele Dossier’ now centers entirely on whether Donald Trump committed one deviant sexual act (and at that you have people who argue that mere recruitment, direction, financing, and witness is insufficient if you can not prove participation).

Carter doesn’t know anything about that anyway. He’s a clown, a red hatted distraction. In this case for an elaborate conspiracy theory (Vincent Foster will not die) where Obama and Hillary spied on Trump AND produced an elaborate and fantastical cover up for when their election theft succeeded and they had to diffuse the proud patriots who were a minority.

In a minority.

In a minority party.

But you represent a HUGE minority in the White Bigoted Party and are thus allowed to be arrogant aggressive bullies because…

We’re a MAJORITY country, a democracy.

Cartnoon

Cooking with Jeff

and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Stopping Presidential Wars

One of my favorite constitutional lawyers is Bruce Fein. Although he is considered a conservative and was one of the authors of the articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, Fein advocated for the dual impeachment of Pres. George W. Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, during a discussion with then Washington correspondent for The Nation, John Nichols in 2007 with Bill Moyers. So it was no surprise cruising the internet on a train, I found an interview with him with James Carden at The Nation. Although Fein holds many views that I disagree with, I have found his opposition to the use of torture and presidential military intervention unfettered by congress quite compelling arguments.

In his interview with Carden, Fein takes up a discussing of House bill HR 922 which would define “presidential wars” as those not declared by Congress under Article I section 8 of the US Constitution as an impeachable “high crime and misdemeanor.” Fein wrote the bill that was introduced to the House Judiciary Committee by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on July 18. Carden notes that the interview with Fein was edited for length and clarity:

James Carden: Mr. Fein, you are a constitutional lawyer who served as an associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration. And I know you write frequently on constitutional and foreign policy for The American Conservative, among other publications. What prompted you to take the issue of presidential wars on? Where does your interest stem from?

Bruce Fein: I am keenly interested in war for manifold reasons. War makes what is customarily first-degree murder legal, i.e., intentional killing not in self-defense. War violates the cornerstone precept of civilization: It is better to risk being the victim of injustice than to be complicit in it. War migrates a nation’s collective genius from production to destruction. War squanders vast sums better spent on infrastructure and education in civics indispensable to discharging the obligations of citizens in a republic. The first casualties of war are the rule of law and truth. As Cicero observed, in time of war the law is silent. War gives birth to a surveillance state and the crippling of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment under a national-security banner. War replaces transparency with secrecy inconsistent with government by the consent of the governed and congressional oversight of the executive. War destroys the Constitution’s separation of powers—a structural Bill of Rights—by entrusting limitless power to the president. If the American people and Congress neglect to terminate and sanction presidential wars, the American republic will crumble like the Roman Colosseum and the sacrifices and hardships of Valley Forge, Cemetery Ridge, and Omaha Beach shall have been in vain. At present, the United States is engaged in nine unconstitutional presidential wars in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and against Al Qaeda and ISIS.

JC: For many (or perhaps when you survey today’s Washington, too few) of my generation, George W. Bush’s Iraq II was a big wake-up call, but the trend of untrammeled presidential war making seemed to have begin in earnest under the Clinton administration, during which time the US militarily intervened in Somalia (1993), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995), and Kosovo (1999). Clinton also directed airstrikes on Sudan in what was said to be an attempt on Osama bin Laden’s life. Clinton also bombed Iraq (1998) over its violations of the NATO-enforced no-fly zone. And the number of unconstitutional wars has only multiplied under Clinton’s successors. What do you think explains the trend toward presidential wars?

BF: The beginning of presidential wars goes further back than that. Presidential wars began with President Truman’s Korean War, which he styled a “police action.” But it involved more than 5 million US military personnel, 3 million Chinese soldiers, millions of North and South Korean soldiers, millions of casualties, and the risk of nuclear weapons. Then came presidential wars in Vietnam, Laos, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, etc. The multiplication of presidential wars was sparked by the disintegration of the Soviet empire in 1991 (which acted as a small deterrent) and the blossoming of the American delusion that we won the Cold War because we had a monopoly of angelic DNA and were the new chosen people.

JC: How would this legislation halt these wars?

BF: HR 922 would end this extraconstitutional phenomenon by defining presidential wars as impeachable offenses, which would expose the president to impeachment by the House, conviction by the Senate, and removal from office.

JC: What has been Congress’s role in all of this? They have seemed to have abandoned their constitutional role for the better part of 25 years, at least since George H.W. Bush was compelled by the congressional leadership to win approval for the first Gulf War. What, in your view, explains this abdication?

BF: Congress has scampered away from voting on war because members are risk-averse and a vote for war would be controversial and expose them to criticism or worse if the war went south. But to be clear on the history: George H.W. Bush did not obtain a declaration of war against Iraq in Kuwait in 1991. He asked and received political, not legal, support. The congressional resolution says nothing about a declaration of war against Iraq, but kicks the decision to the president.

JC: A resolution to end presidential wars has been something you and your colleagues at the Committee for the Republic have been advocating for some time, but this is the first time two House members—Walter Jones and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard—have introduced legislation to address the issue in what could be, if passed, the most consequential foreign-policy legislation since the War Powers Resolution of 1973. What are the prospects for passage? Is there a companion bill in the works for the Senate?

BF: The prospects for passage of HR 922 are remote in the short run. Its immediate purpose is to spark a public and congressional debate about war powers that has been generally silenced by both the Republican and Democratic parties since the Korean War in 1950. At present, there is not a companion bill in the Senate because senators sit as triers of fact and adjudicate articles of impeachment voted on by the House.

JC: President Trump campaigned on an “America first” foreign policy, which, according to one well-known study, may have proved the one of the decisive factors in his surprise win over the liberal hawk Hillary Clinton. In other words, there seems to be popular support for a less activist, militarist foreign policy in the US at large, but such views have virtually no constituency here in DC. What do you think explains the—for lack of a better term—popular/elite disconnect?

BF: I disagree. There is no popular disconnect between the elite and the general populace. In our culture, like others, the armored knight moves across the pages of romance and poetry and excites the rapture of the multitude by offering the vicarious thrill of power or domination of others to deflect attention from their philosophically empty souls. We have 4,000 war memorials and museums and virtually none for philosophers or sages like Nestor or Merlin. At the All-Star Game I attended yesterday in DC, the crowd loved the flyovers of fighter-bombers. War is the oldest scourge of mankind, and will always be. The only way to arrest it is to place the war power in an institution with no incentive to exercise it except in self-defense, i.e., Congress with a temperament of a Labrador retriever, not a pit bull like our current executive-branch personality.

I don’t think that this current congress, or even a future one, would have the cajones to pass this and expect a president to sign it, especially Donald Trump. The real solution is for congress to rescind the current Authorization for Use of Military Force and stop abrogating its duty under under Article I section 8 of the US Constitution.

The Breakfast club (Fire ‘Em)

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

A key ruling during the Watergate scandal; Nixon and Khrushchev hold a ‘kitchen debate’ during the Cold War; Brigham Young and Mormon followers arrive in present-day Utah; Apollo 11’s crew returns home.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I don’t want to overthrow the government. I wanna fire ’em.

Gallagher

Continue reading

The Five ‘Mystery’ Witnesses

Well, the real mystery is why they felt they needed immunity.

Five Financiers Granted Immunity Ahead of Manafort Trial
by BRANDI BUCHMAN, Court House News Services
July 23, 2018

A federal judge said Monday he will push back the start of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s trial on multiple fraud charges six days, and that he will grant immunity to five witnesses scheduled to testify for the prosecution.

The five witnesses granted immunity Monday are James Brennan, Donna Duggan, Conor O”Brien, Cindy Laporta and Dennis Raico, all of whom are connected to financial institutions.

And that’s all anybody really has reported (though the cited article has a pretty thorough summary of the charges as they relate to payments for services by Ukraine and the representation of those assets for taxes, bank reports, and registration as an agent.

Rawstory does better-

Here’s what we know about the 5 witnesses getting immunity in exchange for Manafort testimony
by Tana Ganeva, Raw Story
23 Jul 2018 at 16:30 ET

  1. Dennis Raico worked with Federal Savings Bank (FSB), a Chicago bank that supplied Manafort with a $16 million dollar loan, TPM reported. In 2017, Raico was sued for $78,750.00 for fraudulent inducement and breach of good faith covenant over a loan in a property deal.
  2. Cindy Laporta is an accountant affiliated with KWC accounting services, which are named as tax organizers for Manafort starting in 2012. The Mueller indictment contains an email chain between Laporta and others regarding Manafort’s “Int’l Income Question.”
  3. Conor O’Brien is primarily cited in the indictment in relation to email chains linked to DMP International. Manafort co-founded Davis Manafort Partners (DMP) in 2005, to engage in political consulting, with staff in the US, Ukraine and Russia.
  4. Donna Duggan appears in email chains about Chubb insurance, a Zurich based insurance company that focuses on property insurance.
  5. James Brennan: In an email from Dennis Raico to James Brennan sent on December 7th, 2016, the two discussed “moving forward with Manafort’s Brooklyn property.”

Prosecutors have said they don’t expect a single witness to utter the word “Russia.”

Cartnoon

Because Volcanoes and Dinosaurs.

The Breakfast Club (Doubt)

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

Race rioting hits Detroit; Former President Ulysses S. Grant dies; Britain’s Prince Andrew marries ‘Fergie’; Vanessa Williams gives up Miss America crown; Golfer Tiger Woods wins career grand slam.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

When in doubt, don’t.

Benjamin Franklin

Continue reading

Not A Rant

A Closer Look

Because Tax Cuts solve everything.

Feminist Content

My Netflix and YouTube accounts are suddenly filled with “Strong Female Lead” suggestions which is funny because I’ve always considered myself more a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Mary Sue/Action/Superhero kinda guy.

Watch Moana and Lilo and Stitch a few times and get so totally labeled.

To be fair I streamed all the Direct-to-DVD Sequels too and Julia and Chocolat and Practical Magic, but also Justice League (so much less than you think), Wonder Woman (best DC ever but flawed), Suicide Squad (not terrible– Will Smith does Will Smith, hypercompetent emotionless Assassin, Robbie and Leto light the screen with crazy and I mean light as in a Zippo in the corner of a thermite blanket), and Atomic Blonde, and…

Ok, I think I’m beginning to sense a pattern here. Speaking of Netflix, so does Michelle Wolf-

Happy Puppet Story Time (very Meta)

Yeah, binged that 3 times. Here are some other items that will make sure I get invited to view more profoundly insightful/intelligent/funny things that happen to be said and done by women-

ICE Recruitment

Angry Bitter Hate

Angry and bitter? Try Hannah Gadsby.

Babies

The Breakfast Club (Robbers)

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 July 22nd

Wiley Post completes first solo flight around the world; Robber John Dillinger shot dead; Saddam Hussein’s sons killed in Iraq; The September 11th Commission releases its report; Birth of the Frisbee.

Breakfast Tune Barbara Lamb and Danny Barnes – Bootsy Met a Bank Robber

 
 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
 

CAN THIS PROGRESSIVE WOMAN OF COLOR PULL OFF AN OCASIO-CORTEZ-STYLE UPSET IN MASSACHUSETTS?
Eoin Higgins, The Intercept

IN THE WEEKS since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s surprise victory in New York’s 14th District, the Democratic Party has been waking up to the possibility that a progressive wave could overturn the party’s leadership and usher in a new guard — one led by young women of color. Ocasio-Cortez said as much in her victory speech, delivered from a bar top at the pool hall in the Bronx that hosted her election night party.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of primaries to go. When we get to November, we should be electing a caucus,” she said.

That’s what Tahirah Amatul-Wadud is hoping will happen in Massachusetts’s 1st District, where she’s mounting an insurgent campaign against Richard Neal, one of the longest serving Democratic representatives in the House.

According to Amatul-Wadud, Neal represents everything that’s wrong with Washington Democrats. He’s an uninvolved career politician who puts the interests of his national donors in front of the people he represents, Amatul-Wadud says, and his seniority in the House hasn’t brought much benefit to the region. While Ocasio-Cortez effectively dinged her primary opponent, Joe Crowley, by pointing out that he and his family don’t live in his congressional district, Neal’s reputation among his constituents might be worse: Last year, some of his rural constituents took out an ad in the local Weekend Gazette asking, “Has anyone seen this man? (yes, he’s your congressman).”

Amatul-Wadud hopes to fill that absence.

 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Trump Demands NATO Allies Match U.S. Commitment To Prioritizing Military Spending Over Healthcare
The Onion

BRUSSELS—Blasting member states for failing to contribute their “fair share,” President Trump demanded at a summit meeting Wednesday that NATO allies match the U.S. commitment to making military spending a far greater national priority than healthcare.

“In the United States, we’ve gone above and beyond to make sure military expenditures are our number one concern above all else, including access to life-saving medications for sick people, and it’s high time other NATO countries did the same,” said Trump, lambasting German chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders who he remarked “really ought to be spending maybe even 50 percent of their GDP” on defense instead of endlessly sinking funds into essential medical care for their citizens.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful how the United States comes in and picks up the slack for these nations who insist on throwing their money away on the prevention and treatment of deadly diseases. It’s an embarrassment, everyone’s laughing at us, and I’ll tell you what—we aren’t going to put up with it anymore.”

Representatives from the 28 other NATO countries later issued statements concurring with Trump’s assessment that the United States has become a laughingstock.

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