Jun 25 2017

The Breakfast Club (Ed Helms II)

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 June 25th

The Korean War begins; Custer meets his end at the Battle of Little Bighorn; John Dean testifies before the Senate Watergate Committee; Author George Orwell born; Deep-sea explorer Jacques Cousteau dies.

 

Breakfast Tune The Mindy Song

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

Ed Helms’ Love Of Banjos Comes From “Deliverance” – CONAN on TBS

Jun 25 2017

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview

Pondering the Punditsis 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.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME); Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

The roundtable guests are: ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd; former Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign policy director Lanhee Chen; Associated Press Washington bureau chief Julie Pace; and Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’a guests are: Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV); Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA); Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA); The Washington Post‘s Adam Entous; and The Atlantic‘s Mark Bowden.

His panel guests are: The Federalist‘s Ben Domenech; Time Magazine‘s Michael Duffy; Washington Post Ed O’Keefe; and Cook Political Report‘s Amy Walter.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH); Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The panel guests are: New York Times correspondent Helene Cooper; New York Times Magazine correspondent Mark Leibovich; MSNBC News reporter Hallie Jackson; and Washington Post columnist George Will.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price; Gov. Tom Kasich (R-OH); and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

His panel guests are: Rep. André Carson (D-IN); former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter; and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ).

Jun 25 2017

Formula One 2017: Baku

There is news but it was a long weird day and I’m still tired.

Jun 24 2017

Definition

(noun) The ability to distinguish between one muscle and an adjacent, similar muscle.

Don’t let summer distract you from the fact that the news is still bad! Here’s your weekly nightmare roundup.

The New York State Senate

You can tell it’s European because it seems intellectual, it’s filmed in Black and White, and it makes no sense.

Jun 24 2017

Alone In The Kitchen With An Old Frenchman

Recently French chef Jacques Pépin turned 80 and retired. Over the years, he educated viewers of Public Television on how to cook and, something that no other cooking show host has done, techniques in the kitchen with wisdom, humor and a smattering of French lessons. As Gilad Edelman wrote in a Slate article, this man will teach you how to cook

All In The Family

Making memories with family is at the heart of Jacques’ kitchen and daughter, Claudine joins him at the stove to cook the classic recipes from his mother’s restaurant. Parisian Potage, a simple soup with flavors of yesteryear reminds Jacques of his beloved Lyon in France. The father-daughter duo continues with Poulet à la Crème paired with a perfectly pureed side of Rice Soubise. Granddaughter, Shorey, arrives just in time to make dessert, carefully watching as Jacques teaches her how to peel and segment an orange for Instant Orange Cake, a perfect citrus ending.

Poulet à la Crème

“Chicken in a cream sauce is a specialty of the town where I was born, Bourg-en-Bresse. My mother’s simple recipe included a whole cut-up chicken with water, a dash of flour, and a bit of cream to finish. I have added white wine and mushrooms to make the dish a bit more sophisticated, and used chicken thighs, which are the best part of the chicken (1 1/2 thighs per person should be a generous serving for a main course). A sprinkling of chopped tarragon at the end makes it more special, but it is optional. I am not sure my mother would approve of my changes, but this is easy, fast, and good. Most of the time, my mother served hers with rice pilaf.” —Jacques Pépin

Instant Orange Cake

“I made this dessert one evening when friends came by for drinks and didn’t leave. I found a pound cake in the freezer and a couple of oranges and some leftover mascarpone in the refrigerator, although crème fraîche or sour cream would have done as well. Often these impromptu dishes work out the best.” —Jacques Pépin

Jun 24 2017

The Breakfast Club (Thunderstruck)

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

Start of the Berlin blockade during the early Cold War; Boxing champ Jack Dempsey born; Comedian and actor Jackie Gleason of ‘The Honeymooners’ fame dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Your heaviest artillery will be your will to live. Keep that big gun going.

Norman Cousins

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 23 2017

The Jimmy Kimmel Test

 

 

Jun 23 2017

The Russian Connection: Felix Slater, RICO and Trump

Donald Trump’s connections to Russian organized crime is getting greater scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team. Trump’s association with a known convicted felon could lead to charges against Trump for financial fraud. Earlier this week in Brooklyn Federal Court, a lawyer representing an investigative reporter requested that the documents related to Slater’s guilty plea in a $40 million Mafia stock fraud scheme and how he avoided prison time be made public. The documents include the complaint, the cooperation agreement and the pre-sentencing report from Sater’s case. The lawyer, Richard Lerner, argued that the documents may contain evidence that Donald Trump committed financial fraud by knowingly doing real estate deals with a known felon.

Now, Mueller has hired Andrew Weissman, one of the prosecutors in the 1998 mob stock-scam case during which Felix Sater flipped.

On Monday night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spelled out the Mafia stock scheme, Russian mobsters, money laundering and Felix Slater’s involvement along with Trump and financial fraud.

Bloomberg View executive editor and columnist Timothy L. O’Brien has a close examination of Trump, Russia and his shadowy business partnerships 

Robert Mueller is examining whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Washington Post recently reported. As we’ve heard for months now, there is also a probe of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign team and the Kremlin to tilt the 2016 election in the president’s favor.

But the Justice Department inquiry led by Mueller now has added flavors. The Post noted that the investigation also includes “suspicious financial activity” involving “Russian operatives.” The New York Times was more specific in its account, saying that Mueller is looking at whether Trump associates laundered financial payoffs from Russian officials by channeling them through offshore accounts.

Trump has repeatedly labeled Comey’s and Mueller’s investigations “witch hunts,” and his lawyers have said that the last decade of his tax returns (which the president has declined to release) would show that he had no income or loans from Russian sources. In May, Trump told NBC that he has no property or investments in Russia. “I am not involved in Russia,” he said.

But that doesn’t address national security and other problems that might arise for the president if Russia is involved in Trump, either through potentially compromising U.S. business relationships or through funds that flowed into his wallet years ago. In that context, a troubling history of Trump’s dealings with Russians exists outside of Russia: in a dormant real-estate development firm, the Bayrock Group, which once operated just two floors beneath the president’s own office in Trump Tower.

Bayrock partnered with the future president and his two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, on a series of real-estate deals between 2002 and about 2011, the most prominent being the troubled Trump Soho hotel and condominium in Manhattan.

During the years that Bayrock and Trump did deals together, the company was also a bridge between murky European funding and a number of projects in the U.S. to which the president once lent his name in exchange for handsome fees. Icelandic banks that dealt with Bayrock, for example, were easy marks for money launderers and foreign influence, according to interviews with government investigators, legislators, and others in Reykjavik, Brussels, Paris and London. Trump testified under oath in a 2007 deposition that Bayrock brought Russian investors to his Trump Tower office to discuss deals in Moscow, and said he was pondering investing there.

“It’s ridiculous that I wouldn’t be investing in Russia,” Trump said in that deposition. “Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment.”

One of Bayrock’s principals was a career criminal named Felix Sater who had ties to Russian and American organized crime groups. Before linking up with the company and with Trump, he had worked as a mob informant for the U.S. government, fled to Moscow to avoid criminal charges while boasting of his KGB and Kremlin contacts there, and had gone to prison for slashing apart another man’s face with a broken cocktail glass.

In a series of interviews and a lawsuit, a former Bayrock insider, Jody Kriss, claims that he eventually departed from the firm because he became convinced that Bayrock was actually a front for money laundering.

Kriss has sued Bayrock, alleging that in addition to laundering money, the Bayrock team also skimmed cash from the operation, dodged taxes and cheated him out of millions of dollars. Sater and others at Bayrock would not comment for this column; in court documents they have contested Kriss’s charges and describe him, essentially, as a disgruntled employee trying to shake them down.

But Kriss’s assertion that Bayrock was a criminal operation during the years it partnered with Trump has been deemed plausible enough to earn him a court victory: In December, a federal judge in New York said Kriss’s lawsuit against Bayrock, which he first filed nine years ago, could proceed as a racketeering case. [..]

Trump has said over the years that he barely knows Sater. In fact, Sater — who former Bayrock employees say met frequently with Trump in the Trump Organization’s New York headquarters, once shepherded the president’s children around Moscow and carried a Trump Organization business card — apparently has remained firmly in the orbit of the president and his closest advisers.

Sater made the front page of the New York Times in February for his role in a failed effort — along with Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen — to lobby former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on a Ukrainian peace proposal.

Comey was still Trump’s FBI director when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee in March about Russian interference in the 2016 election. During that hearing, Comey was asked if he was “aware of” Felix Sater, his criminal history and his business dealings with the Trump Organization. Comey declined to comment.

It’s unclear whether Sater and Bayrock are part of Mueller’s investigation. But Mueller has populated his investigative team with veteran prosecutors expert in white-collar fraud and Russian-organized-crime probes. One of them, Andrew Weissmann, once led an FBI team that examined financial fraud leading to the demise of Enron. Before that, Weissmann was a prosecutor with the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and part of a team that prosecuted Sater and mob associates for investment scams in the late 1990s.

However the Mueller probe unfolds, a tour of Trump’s partnership with Bayrock exposes a number of uncomfortable truths about the president’s business history, his judgment, and the possible vulnerabilities that his past as a freewheeling dealmaker — and his involvement with figures like Sater — have visited upon his present as the nation’s chief executive.

The rest of the article is well worth the read.

Rachel Maddow interviews Mr. O’Brien about his article and how Trump’s past business dealings could integrates with the investigation into Trump’s Russian connection.

Jun 23 2017

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

Richard Eskow: GOP ‘Health’ Bill: Death, Disaster, and Gilded Age Greed

The Republican Senate’s draft health bill differs from the House version, but its basic purpose is the same: give millionaires and billionaires a massive new tax cut by slashing health benefits for millions of Americans, and take care away altogether from millions more.

People will die if this bill becomes law, but that doesn’t seem to trouble the Republicans’ conscience. The only thing they seem to fear is losing their jobs. That’s why this bill was written in unprecedented secrecy. That’s why it, like the House version, obfuscates and misdirects to conceal its true goals.
Make Them Think It’s More

Once, as a young health financing consultant, I met with the CEO of one of Wall Street’s most powerful firms. He had a reputation for both brilliance and meanness, and he was proposing some complicated changes to his company’s health plan. His own staff seemed reluctant to question him, so I asked him instead: “What are you trying to accomplish?”

“It’s my employees,” he answered. “I want to give them less and make them think it’s more.”

Give them less and make them think it’s more. That’s the Republican Party’s goal with “Trumpcare.”

Eugene Robinson: Senate Republicans ready themselves for a massive theft from the poor

The “health-care bill” that Republicans are trying to pass in the Senate, like the one approved by the GOP majority in the House, isn’t really about health care at all. It’s the first step in a massive redistribution of wealth from struggling wage-earners to the rich — a theft of historic proportions.

Is the Senate version less “mean” than the House bill, to use President Trump’s description of that earlier effort? Not really. Does the new bill have the “heart” that Trump demanded? No, it doesn’t. The devil is not in the details, it’s in the big picture.

Fundamentally, what Republicans in both chambers want to do is cut nearly $1 trillion over the next decade from the Medicaid program, which serves almost 70 million people. Medicaid provides health care not just for the indigent and disabled but also for the working poor — low-wage employees who cannot afford health insurance, even the plans offered through their jobs.

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Jun 23 2017

The Breakfast Club (The Typewriter)

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

A key moment in the Watergate scandal; Adolf Hitler visits Paris after France falls to Nazi Germany; The typewriter gets a patent; Polio vaccine pioneer Dr. Jonas Salk and TV producer Aaron Spelling die.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency.

Alan Turing

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