Sep 27 2016

The Late Night Pundits Assess The First Presidential Debate

Two of the late night show hosts, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, assessed the first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Sep 27 2016

Scandal v SCANDAL

We are now six weeks from the end of the silly season known as the 2016 Presidential Election, an election that even the most seasoned politicians and pundits say they have never seen this absurd. Both candidates have a “likability” and credibility problem with the public and each of them has their share of scandals. But, when you put them side by side, it glaringly obvious that one is far worse than the media presents. John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” took a deep look at the scandals of both candidates:

“I do know that even talking about her scandals will irritate some of you, given that her opponent is an unambiguously racist scarecrow stuffed with scrunched-up copies of Jugs magazine, and that’s fair. But not being as bad as Donald Trump is a low bar to clear, and if you focus on nothing but him, you fail to vet a woman who might be president.” [..]

“We’ve spent several frustrating weeks trolling through all the innuendo and exaggerations surrounding Hillary’s email and foundation scandals, and the worst thing we can say is that they both look bad. But the harder you look, the less you actually find. There’s not nothing there, but what is there is irritating rather than grossly nefarious.”

“And this is where it’s instructive to compare her to her opponent: Donald Trump, America’s wealthiest hemorrhoid. He’s quantifiably worse.” [..]

“Bear in mind: we know nothing about Trump’s finances, and that is not good. He’s the first major party nominee since 1980 not to release his tax returns, and his justification is pathetic.” [..]

“There is everything, from the ongoing lawsuits against that bullshit university, to the alleged use of undocumented workers when building Trump Tower, to the fact that he received an illegal $3.5 million loan from his father in the form of a purchase of chips from one of Trump’s casinos.” [..]

“The point is this: the campaign has been dominated by scandals, but it is dangerous to think there is an equal number on both sides. You can be irritated by some of Hillary’s. That is understandable, but you should be f*cking outraged by Trump’s.”

Meanwhile, our roving pundit Keith Olbermann has updated his list of things Donald Trump has done that disqualify him as president with 74 more reasons from just this last month

Don’t forget to vote on November 8.

Sep 27 2016

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

E. J. Dionne Jr: Clinton shifts the election in her direction

Donald Trump scowled and fumed and fussed and interrupted. On Monday night, he was forced to defend business practices that involved not paying workers and contractors, a tax plan that offers most of its benefits to the wealthy, the fact that he did not pay any federal taxes in some years (which he called “smart”) and the debt incurred by his businesses.

Hillary Clinton wanted to remind Americans of the Trump they had grown accustomed to disliking, the man who demeaned women, minorities and immigrants. Trump helped her out, even debating the moderator, Lester Holt, about “stop and frisk” police tactics. He grunted “ugh” when Clinton called out his sweeping comments on the allegedly parlous state of African American communities. [..]

The surprise of the debate was that Clinton put before voters a new Trump to dislike. Trump has campaigned as a populist paladin of the working class. But the Trump that Clinton described was a plutocrat who walked away from debts and obligations to his own employees. She pushed the debate into an extended discussion of how Trump had become wealthy and turned what he sees as one of his central assets, his business acumen, into what could become a big liability as the campaign goes forward.

Paul Krugman: Progressive Family Values

Here’s what happens every election cycle: pundits demand that politicians offer the country new ideas. Then, if and when a candidate actually does propose innovative policies, the news media pays little attention, chasing scandals or, all too often, fake scandals instead. Remember the extensive coverage last month, when Hillary Clinton laid out an ambitious mental health agenda? Neither do I.

For that matter, even the demand for new ideas is highly questionable, since there are plenty of good old ideas that haven’t been put into effect. Most advanced countries implemented some form of guaranteed health coverage decades if not generations ago. Does this mean that we should dismiss Obamacare as no big deal, since it’s just implementing a tired old agenda? The 20 million Americans who gained health coverage would beg to differ.

Still, there really are some interesting new ideas coming from one of the campaigns, and they arguably tell us a lot about how Mrs. Clinton would govern.

Wait — what about the other side? Aren’t Republicans also offering new ideas? Well, I guess proposing to round up and deport 11 million people counts as a new idea. And Republicans in Congress seem to have moved past their tradition of proposing tax cuts that deliver most of their benefits to the wealthy. Now they are, instead, proposing tax cuts that deliver all of their benefits to the 1 percent — O.K., actually just 99.6 percent, but who’s counting?

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Sep 27 2016

The Breakfast Club (Hallucinations)

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 stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

Warren Commission concludes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in JFK’s assassination; Taliban captures Afghanistan’s capital; First steam locomotive to haul passengers; ‘The Tonight Show’ premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I’m not completely sure we aren’t all living in a hallucination now.

Marc Maron

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Sep 26 2016

So you want a Debate do you?

Little Debbie’s Cloud Cakes v. Twinkies. Discuss!

Hah, fooled you. They’re exactly the same thing.

Of course you realize you’re a scab don’t you? The reason Hostess sold out was to break its Union.

Life is complicated, me not so much. I will nap and the electric video machine will tell me exactly what to think. Or I can watch Falcons at Saints (go Drew!). I may or may not be back with Stephen to gloat (he’s live tonight).

You expected something more fraught? I have TMC to handle the commentary. Hillary will win on points, The Donald on spin. The corrupt plastic media will not tolerate less than a horse race even if they have to put a broke down plug on roller skates and jam rockets up its ass.

Faith in voters? What gave you that impression? Still, it would take a miracle for Trump to squeeze out an electoral victory (how do you like that college now?).

I hope Republicans suffer a crushing defeat. They’re all bigoted traitors. The problem is Democrats think they need be just a trifle better to ensure victory from a captive electorate. The reason Obama and the Party refused to crush them in 2008 is they needed a foil to excuse their own corruption and criminality.

Cynical? Moi?! I will vote as I always do and no stinking Debate will change my mind.

Sep 26 2016

Rainbows and Unicorns- Part 3

Lollipops, and circuses, and things that rhyme with that.

I love today. Today is even better than yesterday, and yesterday was the best day EVER! I’d think about tomorrow, but I am afraid I might burst into sparkles!

You remember the Tiny Trots don’t you? Getting their heads stuffed with all that Bolshie propaganda?

Shock moment Momentum Kids praise ‘king’ Corbyn and slam ‘evil’ May at Labour conference
By Ajay Nair, The Daily Express
14:28, Mon, Sep 26, 2016

The programmes includes face painting and street art workshops, as well as mock protests and socialist storytelling with children’s author Alan Gibbons.

It even included a sing-song for when Mr Corbyn was announced as Labour leader.

The radio appearance comes as Momentum Kids founder Natasha Josette defended the youth group last week after accusations flew of her building a new Nazi Youth.

“You can ask children about politics but they might start talking about unicorns and rainbows in all honesty,” she said.

“I think it’s really offering them a space where we can use fun activities to start talking about the world around them and what they would do to change the world around them.

“Personally I’m not interested in children being mini-Jeremy Corbyn supporters or even Momentum supporters. My children have absorbed it through my own activity but actually, it’s about them being aware of the political process.”

The comments came after the group came under fire on social media.

First of all let’s just accept that the only reason adults are interested in kids other than as items you share because there’s too much to eat in one sitting is that they’re goat horned pedophiles. It couldn’t possibly be they’re concerned that they grow into empathic caring humans instead of the squalling egotistical brats they’re born as.

Allow me to remember a moment or so from my youth as a member of Lord Baden Powell’s MI-6 supported Hitlerjugend.

First moment- these are guys who think farting in a glass so you can share the smell is funny.

Second moment- these are guys who think chopping up picnic tables in a park (that you pay for by the way) is acceptable because they’re just too damn lazy to drag the whole thing over and toss in a bonfire (blood spurting injuries optional).

If the rules had allowed at the time I’d have been much better suited as a Girl Scout, where at least you learned useful skills. I’ve always envied my sister that way.

Final moment- So I got exiled to Punishment Boy Scout Camp where you slept in leaky tents on cargo pallets and the only activities of amusement were pushing half floating canoes through the mud puddle they called a lake and unlimited .22 ammo at the Range (oh, did I mention the NRA sponsorship?). Mom made my bed as usual despite my customary sleeping on top in my bag.

Mid-week we got turfed out for an “adventure” which consisted of miles of paddling and a not shabby campfire of weenies and s’mores after which we were expected to rack out.

Umm… in what? Oh, I thought we made that quite clear at camp, you’re expected to provide your own shelter.

Hmm… must have missed the briefing.

Well, I had a poncho that would double as a tarp and I scrounged 2 pieces of string to span the trees.

And then it started to rain.

As you might imagine because I’m basically hopeless that didn’t last very long and I wrapped my sleeping bag to keep it from getting any more water logged than it was and sought shelter underneath a canoe with the mosquitoes and found it unsatisfactory. Later, after the downpour had passed, I grabbed one of the (now empty) garbage cans they used to haul the food and leaned against a tree as it sagged under me watching headlights on the road which was clearly visible until the sun came up and it was time to return.

My sleeping bag was a sodden mess that never actually dried out enough to use as long as I remained and I snuggled between the clean sheets my Mom had prepared.

Thank you Mom.

It would be wrong to say I’m unappreciative of my family.

Sep 26 2016

Zulu- Part 2

In case you’re not familiar

Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians. The Zulus were equipped mainly with the traditional assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields, but also had a number of muskets and old rifles though they were not formally trained in their use. The British and colonial troops were armed with the state-of-the-art Martini-Henry breech-loading rifle and two 7-pounder (3-inch, 76 mm) mountain guns deployed as field guns, as well as a rocket battery. Despite a vast disadvantage in weapons technology, the numerically superior Zulus ultimately overwhelmed the poorly led and badly deployed British, killing over 1,300 troops, including all those out on the forward firing line. The Zulu army suffered around a thousand killed.

The battle was a decisive victory for the Zulus and caused the defeat of the first British invasion of Zululand. The British Army had suffered its worst defeat against an indigenous foe with vastly inferior military technology. Isandlwana resulted in the British taking a much more aggressive approach in the Anglo–Zulu War, leading to a heavily reinforced second invasion and the destruction of King Cetshwayo’s hopes of a negotiated peace.

On the other hand, live on your feet or die on your knees. Sometimes life presents you with cruel choices.

And sometimes, you win. Highlighting the positive points of the North American Colonial Rebellion, the British were driven from the heights around Boston and had to abandon it. Likewise George Washington was displaced from New York. An attempt was made to divide the Colonies which was defeated by victory at Saratoga (bringing in the French and Spanish as allies) due to Lord Howe’s distraction of temporarily siezing the National Capital at Philadelphia, a meaningless triumph.

In the South the loss of Charleston threatened to ensure at least a partial British success, but Cornwallis was lured into a futile chase by Daniel Morgan and Nathaniel Greene which left his army, the only striking force available, surrounded and doomed to surrender.

Oh, the war continued for years after Yorktown. British loyalists were shipped to Canada and the West Indies, the ones who weren’t executed.

Now if you’re the patriot I am you tend to view this event, warts and all and despite negative subsequent developments, as generally positive and good for humanity though the truth is that like the invention of fire it is ‘too soon to tell’.

Perhaps individual freedom and a commitment to ensuring that not only is there an equal opportunity to succeed but also a basic level of support and a uniform standard of justice are not ideas worth defending, however I do not agree.

I think they’re very important.

Jeremy Corbyn tightens his grip on power over shadow cabinet elections as defiant MPs dig in for a fight
by Joe Watts, Rob Merrick, The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn is preparing to tighten his stranglehold over Labour by appointing his own shadow cabinet and cementing his control over the party’s ruling executive.

Critics claimed he had shelved a plan to give MPs a chance to elect his shadow cabinet members, which many saw as the price he must pay for a truce in the party.

But having smashed the challenge to his leadership from Owen Smith and seen off a bid to impose the elections, sources began to report that Mr Corbyn would conduct his own reshuffle.

At the same time a string of high-ranking MPs prepared for a fight, making speeches at meetings across the party’s conference in Liverpool calling for resistance.

Battle lines were being drawn less than 24 hours after calls for unity came from all sides of the party in the wake of Mr Corbyn’s victory. But one senior backbencher laid them to rest, saying the leader only wanted “the unity of the graveyard”.

Leading MPs had said the elections plan drawn up by deputy leader Tom Watson was the only way that Mr Corbyn could regain the trust of his party.

Mr Corbyn hinted at a limited number of deselections of MPs, as he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the “vast majority” of Labour MPs had nothing to fear.

He also vowed to give grass-roots Labour supporters more say over policy-making, which could sideline the MPs who oppose him – calling it key to building a “more equal and decent society”.

If the leader does appoint his own shadow cabinet it means the crucial seats its members take on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee could all be held by his backers – further strengthening his control over that crucial decision-making body.

One longstanding MP said: “Tom’s plan was delayed to November which suits his backers just fine. They can then decide on it after a reshuffle, when Jeremy’s people could well have an extra seat on the NEC.

“Once they have the NEC, they have the party.”

At the Progress rally where those from the right of Labour gathered, Alison McGovern MP brandished a Militant newsletter she said she had been handed on the way into the conference.

The MP claimed Militant had “ruined her childhood” in Liverpool, adding: “I will not stand by as they ruin the next generation.”

At a conference fringe meeting one former minister Vernon Coaker said the stakes could not be higher, telling delegates: “Our policies have to change. If we don’t change we will die.”

At the meeting staged by the Labour First group, which calls itself the voice of “moderates”, Mr Coaker added: “The real task, of course, is changing the membership and winning the party back to the views of electability as well as principle.”

Heidi Alexander, the former Shadow Health Secretary, said Mr Corbyn still had to prove he is “a competent and capable” leader of the opposition – after a “dysfunctional” first year in office.

She warned: “What people like me are determined to do is to continue fighting for a Labour Party that speaks to and for the whole of the country, and one which is capable of winning the next general election.”

But the daunting task facing them became clear when it emerged there had been a further membership boost even in the hours since Mr Corbyn’s victory, with a further 15,500 people joining the party.

The dark mood among the defeated Owen Smith supporters was summed up by Conor McGinn MP, a whip, who joked that Labour was in a “much worse position” than the doomed British troops in his favourite film Zulu.

Oh, you are so intolerant of the majority that wish to sell our liberty for slavery! Why won’t you give us a voice and a choice so we can include your souls in the bargain?

Fine. Leave. I’ll have no living enemies behind me. And you privileged pampered assholes are not a majority- stop being in denial about facts.

Did I hurt your fee-fees? I’m not a diplomat.

Sep 26 2016

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

Washington Post Editorial Board: It’s beyond debate that Donald Trump is unfit to be president

Democratic Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will debate on national television for the first time Monday night, and the stakes could not be higher. The presidency and, by extension, the country’s future — maybe the world’s — could hinge on what they say and how they say it.

Or so we have been told — in breathless pre-event speculation about everything from whether the moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt, will intervene to correct a candidate who strays from the truth, to whether one candidate or the other will be able to goad his or her opponent into a campaign-altering gaffe before an audience expected to reach 100 million.

Permit us to dissent from this conventional wisdom, vigorously. Yes, Monday night’s clash, and two additional debates to follow, will add drama to the election, and a bit more data to the massive pile of it already available to voters. In a fundamental sense, however, there is nothing much at stake, or shouldn’t be, because there is not much more to learn: Mr. Trump has amply demonstrated his unworthiness to occupy the Oval Office. It’s beyond his capacity in the upcoming 90-minute question-and-answer sessions to reverse or even substantially modify that conclusion.

The New York Times Editorial Board: Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President

When Donald Trump began his improbable run for president 15 months ago, he offered his wealth and television celebrity as credentials, then slyly added a twist of fearmongering about Mexican “rapists” flooding across the Southern border.

From that moment of combustion, it became clear that Mr. Trump’s views were matters of dangerous impulse and cynical pandering rather than thoughtful politics. Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.

Now here stands Mr. Trump, feisty from his runaway Republican primary victories and ready for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Monday night, with Hillary Clinton. It is time for others who are still undecided, and perhaps hoping for some dramatic change in our politics and governance, to take a hard look and see Mr. Trump for who he is. They have an obligation to scrutinize his supposed virtues as a refreshing counterpolitician. Otherwise, they could face the consequences of handing the White House to a man far more consumed with himself than with the nation’s well-being.

Here’s how Mr. Trump is selling himself and why he can’t be believed.

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Sep 26 2016

The Breakfast Club (Risk)

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

This Day in History

JFK and Nixon participate in TV’s first presidential debate; Cuba ends Mariel boatlift; Composer George Gershwin, poet T.S. Eliot and tennis star Serena Williams born; ‘West Side Story’ hits Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

T. S. Eliot

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Sep 25 2016

Dear Diary…

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