Sep 21 2018

Evil ek

I suppose I should have warned you about this before. I have an evil twin who looks exactly like me and has all my passwords.

Now I realize this can cause some confusion so I have devised a foolproof test- if I say anything that diminishes your opinion of me as a suitable Supreme Court Justice or pin you on a bed and start raping you…

Well, that’s bad ek, my evil twin, and I forgive you for being mistaken because I’m such a nice and reasonable guy and not rapey at all. Your apology is accepted.

Now that that’s straightened out I want to talk to you about sovereign power, divine right, and why it’s good to be the King even if you have to put up with idiots like Hedley LaMarr (I mean Count the Money, I mean de de Monet– like Colbert and “de” means “of” in French which would mean he either owns all the Money which of course he can’t because it has my picture on it or he’s an accountant who knows the depth of my Scrooge McDuck vault so I can safely dive in it.

Or maybe I’m a Piss Boy, you can tell by the mole. His is fake.

I want you to round up every vicious criminal and gunslinger in the west. I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

Could you repeat that, sir?

So we’re going to have a super special midnight Supreme Court vote that no Democrats need stay awake for and most Republicans can give a pass too and all this unpleasantness will soon be over and we can get back to making America great again or at least safe for straight white rapey guys.

Sep 21 2018

The Breakfast Club (Innocent Trust)

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

President Bill Clinton’s grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky scandal aired on TV; Authors H.G. Wells and Stephen King born; ‘Monday Night Football’ premieres; Actor-comedian Bill Murray born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool. Stephen King

Material below the fold maybe NSFW.

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Sep 20 2018

The Threat

I have rejected all religions (including Paganism) and belive only in the study of philosophy. What is truth? Is it unchanging law? Oh this is new. Respect for Ceasar? Until now it has been noticably lacking.

Evangelical Leaders Are Frustrated at G.O.P. Caution on Kavanaugh Allegation
By Jeremy W. Peters and Elizabeth Dias, Washington Post
Sept. 20, 2018

Worried their chance to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could slip away, a growing number of evangelical and anti-abortion leaders are expressing frustration that Senate Republicans and the White House are not protecting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh more forcefully from a sexual assault allegation and warning that conservative voters may stay home in November if his nomination falls apart.

Several of these leaders, including ones with close ties to the White House and Senate Republicans, are urging Republicans to move forward with a confirmation vote imminently unless the woman who accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, agrees to share her story with the Senate Judiciary Committee within the next few days.

The pleas are, in part, an attempt to apply political pressure: Some evangelical leaders are warning that religious conservatives may feel little motivation to vote in the midterm elections unless Senate Republicans move the nomination out of committee soon and do more to defend Judge Kavanaugh from what they say is a desperate Democratic ploy to prevent President Trump from filling future court vacancies.

“One of the political costs of failing to confirm Brett Kavanaugh is likely the loss of the United States Senate,” said Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition who is in frequent contact with the White House.

“If Republicans were to fail to defend and confirm such an obviously and eminently qualified and decent nominee,” Mr. Reed added, “then it will be very difficult to motivate and energize faith-based and conservative voters in November.”

The evangelist Franklin Graham, one of Mr. Trump’s most unwavering defenders, told the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, “I hope the Senate is smarter than this, and they’re not going to let this stop the process from moving forward and confirming this man.”

Social conservatives are already envisioning a worst-case scenario related to Judge Kavanaugh, and they say it is not a remote one. Republican promises to shift the Supreme Court further to the right — which just a few days ago seemed like a fait accompli — have been one of the major reasons conservatives say they are willing to tolerate an otherwise dysfunctional Republican-controlled government. If Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination fails, and recent political history is any guide, voters will most likely point the finger not at Mr. Trump but at Republican lawmakers.

To be sure, evangelicals leaders are trying to push Senate leaders to stiffen their resolve to force the Kavanaugh confirmation to a vote at a time when it may be politically perilous to do so. And the likelihood that the base will stay home in November and risk handing the Senate to the Democrats may be relatively low, given how popular Mr. Trump remains with white evangelicals.

The reason the prospect of Judge Kavanaugh’s defeat is so alarming to conservatives is that they fear he could be the last shot at reshaping the nation’s highest court for years. If Republicans were to lose control of the Senate, where they hold a 51-to-49 majority, in November, Mr. Trump would find it difficult to get anyone confirmed before the end of the year. Even if Senate leaders were able to schedule hearings and hold a vote, there could be defections from Republican senators uneasy about using a lame duck session to ram through a lifetime appointment that would tip the court’s ideological balance.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas and one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal evangelical supporters, said he did not know who was telling the truth, Judge Kavanaugh or Dr. Blasey. “But I can say with absolute certainty,” he added, “that the Democrats don’t care who is telling the truth. Their only interest is in delaying and derailing this confirmation.”

The importance of the Supreme Court to the Trump White House and the Republican Party is difficult to overstate. Mr. Trump has heralded Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh, his two Supreme Court nominees, as crowning achievements in an otherwise uneven presidency. Conservative groups have spent tens of millions of dollars building the men up as legal luminaries, gentleman scholars and the fulfillment of Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to nominate judges who have “a record of applying the Constitution just as it was written,” as one ad by the Judicial Crisis Network described Judge Kavanaugh.

A relatively smooth, predictable confirmation fight has also been a key part of Republicans’ strategy to keep the Senate. In the 10 states that Mr. Trump won where Democratic senators are up for re-election, Republicans have attacked Democrats for either opposing the judge or remaining noncommittal. But Dr. Blasey’s claims may have given Democrats who were on the fence a way to vote no without paying a steep political price.

Even social conservatives who describe Dr. Blasey’s account as part of a Democratic plot to upend the nomination acknowledge the bind they are in. While they decry the process as tainted and unfair, some are also arguing that they cannot be indifferent and insensitive to a victim.

But many conservatives see little use in being deferential when, they argue, the Democrats play by no such rules. They look back at the failed confirmation of the Republican nominee Robert Bork in 1987, whose writings on civil rights were picked over by Democrats, and the 1991 hearings for Clarence Thomas, who faced testimony from Anita Hill that he had sexually harassed her, and they see a sophisticated and ruthless Democratic machine bent on discrediting their nominees.

“Republicans are right, as a moral matter as well as a political matter, to take allegations of misbehavior like this seriously,” said Frank Cannon, president of the American Principles Project and a veteran social conservative strategist. “At the same time, we’ve seen anything and everything thrown at Republican Supreme Court nominees for decades,” he added, noting that Republicans have been slow to understand that Democrats are “playing by different rules.”

“From the point of view of the average Republican conservative,” Mr. Cannon added, “these people aren’t the apparent monsters they’re being made out to be,” referring to maligned judicial nominees like Justice Thomas, Judge Bork and Judge Kavanaugh.

Privately, some conservatives were thrilled that Dr. Blasey and her lawyer have resisted the opportunity to testify in the Senate on Monday and demanded instead that the F.B.I. first investigate her claims. That would be just enough, they said, to give Republicans the justification for moving forward without her. The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, made clear on Wednesday that he would not postpone a hearing past Monday.

And once the Senate puts the Kavanaugh nomination on track for a final vote, barring any unforeseen disclosures, that sets up a fight that Republicans could win in the Senate but might ultimately lose at the ballot box in November. The level of outrage could run so hot among Democrats, who would likely use every procedural and political tool at their disposal to delay confirmation, that it could provide even more fuel to an already energized liberal base.

Some conservatives, however, seem happy to have that fight.

“Given the confirmation theatrics, followed by this allegation that was held until the last moment, this could be seen as another partisan attack and could actually fuel conservative turnout,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Conservatives are likely to use protests and other forms of resistance to Judge Kavanaugh as a way to clarify for unmotivated Republican voters what Democratic control of the Senate means: a Trump-nominated Supreme Court justice would never be confirmed again.

“If Chuck Schumer is majority leader and Dianne Feinstein is chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” said Mr. Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, “it will be open season on any Trump nominee to the federal bench at any level of the judiciary.”

Who is this Jesus? Why is he important? But to keep you vultures happy I shall flog him!

Sep 20 2018

Toad from Mario

Ugh. Not Enough Brain Bleach.

Be Democrats

Beep Beep

Sep 20 2018

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</i

Thom Hartman: Alexander Hamilton was obsessed with the threat a presidency like Trump’s poses for America

Presidential economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested to the Economic Club of New York that, after the elections, Republicans will target “spending” on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with “reforms” (cuts) to help pay for the massive deficits created by Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut for billionaires.

Conservatives have controlled our government for three definable periods in recent history—the Gilded Age of the last three decades of the 1800s (progressives followed from 1901 to 1920), the Roaring 20s (progressives followed from 1933 to 1980), and the Reagan Era that started in 1981 and continues to this day.

Each conservative era has led to terrible suffering among working people, each ended in a wipeout financial disaster, and this one will probably be no different. Republicans have already radically cut long-term unemployment insurance, killed “welfare as we know it” (with the help of Bill Clinton), and cut the budgets of Social Security and Medicare to the point where it’s hard to get anybody on the phone. They’ve deregulated much of the fossil fuel industry, sold off public lands to mining and drilling interests, and slashed away at the EPA.

But this time, there’s a larger concern than the survival of the economy, the environment, and the middle class. This time, democracy itself may well be at stake.

The 2016 takeover of our government by Trump and his billionaire oligarch cronies could be the nightmare that Alexander Hamilton identified, warned us about, and then refused to believe could ever come to pass.

Mimi Rocah, Barbara McQuade, Jill Wine-Banks, Joyce White Vance and Maya Wiley: The Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh Are Not Simply a ‘He Said, She Said’ Situation

Allegations of sexual assault are deserving of a full and fair investigation, particularly when a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court is at stake.

We now have the specifics of an alleged attack Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, says occurred in the 1980s when she and Judge Brett Kavanaugh were in high school in Maryland. Speaking to The Washington Post, Ford claims that Kavanaugh “physically and sexually assaulted” her and provided very specific details about how he allegedly pinned her to a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming — with such force that she was afraid he might suffocate her.

So now the question is: What’s next? The latest proposal is for Ford and Kavanaugh to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. However, these allegations are extremely serious and we — five former federal prosecutors with a combined experience of many decades — believe that a Senate hearing, if it indeed occurs, is not enough. It will not adequately provide the American public with the full facts and truth about these allegations, nor, importantly, will it allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional role of “advice and consent” in the context of potential Supreme Court justices. Rather, there must be a thorough, unrushed investigation by the FBI or by another independent investigator and a full and fair public hearing, including all relevant witnesses and not just Kavanaugh and his accuser.

Because, if true, the allegation alone should disqualify Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court.

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Sep 20 2018

The Breakfast Club (Succeed By Fraud)

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

Magellan begins globe-trotting voyage; Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal dies; Actress Sophia Loren born; Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in ‘Battle of the Sexes’; Singer Jim Croce dies in plane crash.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.


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Sep 19 2018

Sturm und Drang

Good for China? Too soon to tell.

These quotes from Republicans give away their game on Kavanaugh
By Greg Sargent, Washington Post
September 19 2018

The Republicans’ strategy to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed is to do the absolute minimum necessary to appear as if they are taking the sexual assault charges against him seriously — while doing all they can to limit the ability of the American people to make a fully informed judgment about those charges themselves.

The words and actions of Republicans themselves confirm the rationale behind this strategy: Any delay and further fact-finding might make it less likely that Kavanaugh gets confirmed and could threaten more political damage to the GOP’s chances in the midterms. And if confirmation is delayed past the election, and Democrats somehow do win the Senate, that throws the seat’s fate into some doubt.

On Tuesday night, Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee demanding an FBI investigation into her allegations against Kavanaugh before she testifies to the committee, as Republicans have invited her to do next Monday.

In the letter, Ford’s team notes that since she came forward, she has been the target of “vicious harassment” and “death threats,” and argues that an FBI probe is necessary because some GOP senators have already made up their minds that she is “mistaken” and “mixed up,” as Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) so delicately put it.

“A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing,” Ford’s lawyers wrote, adding that no serious investigation can be conducted by Monday, which is when Republicans have scheduled the hearing at which she and Kavanaugh would testify.

Republican senators are flatly rejecting these demands. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, said that “we’ve offered Dr. Ford the opportunity to share her story with the committee,” and “the invitation for Monday still stands.” Bob Corker of Tennessee claimed: “Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote.” John Cornyn of Texas, speaking earlier yesterday, glibly remarked: “She’s not in really a position to make conditions in my view.”

But why is it that the hearing cannot be delayed past Monday? Fortunately, this morning Sen. Lindsey Graham gave the game away, perhaps without meaning to.

An investigation might end up “delaying the process till after the midterms.” Graham blames Democrats for tacitly wanting to do this, but what Graham cannot explain here is why the fact that this could be delayed until after the midterms should place limits on the Senate’s efforts to determine what happened.

That’s because the real answer is obvious, and it’s untenable as a public position: Because if this is delayed until after the midterms, and Republicans lose the Senate, they’d have to confirm the justice in the lame-duck period. As Brian Beutler points out, President Trump would be badly weakened, and this would cast a further cloud of illegitimacy over the process of filling the seat — whether with Kavanaugh or someone else — and compounding the legitimacy problem, that justice could end up ruling on matters related to Trump’s legal travails.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is helpfully explicit on the real calculus here as well, warning: “If Democrats take the Senate majority, they’ll then insist on no vote until the new Senate convenes in January.” Republicans would not listen to that, of course, but as this basically concedes, moving forward at that point would put them in a politically brutal position.

By the way, Democrats may well partly want to delay this until after the midterms. But even if true, the fact that Republicans are citing this is still revealing. Republicans, after all, could support a fuller investigation into what happened while also getting in the vote before the elections — there is still time for both. The only thing that would delay this until after the elections is if Kavanaugh’s nomination became untenable due to that fuller investigation, forcing Trump to nominate a replacement. Thus, that is what they really want to avoid — a fuller accounting that could scuttle the nomination.

What’s more, when Corker claims Republicans have acted in “good faith” in scheduling a hearing and that this justifies sticking to a Monday vote, this, too, illuminates what’s really motivating Republicans. It’s a stretch to say Republicans showed good faith here. Remember, Grassley originally wanted to schedule only private calls between Ford and senators, and agreed to a public hearing for her only after that became politically untenable. Again, the desire was to do the absolute minimum to appear to be taking the charges seriously while doing everything possible to limit a full accounting in the eyes of the public. Corker is doing the same again.

This is also at the core of the current GOP stance. Republicans — Trump included — say it’s not the FBI’s role to investigate Ford’s claims. But as NBC News points out, as part of the background check process, the White House could ask the FBI to look into the veracity of her claims if it wanted to. What’s more, Democrats have proposed that, if an FBI investigation doesn’t happen, the Judiciary Committee could conduct a fuller investigation, hearing from more witnesses other than just Ford and Kavanaugh. But Republicans don’t want to.

Who cares what they want? Corporatist Media Villagers and their Billionaire Paymasters.

Sep 19 2018

Hillary Speaks

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow sat down with former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. They touched on many topics from the upcoming midterm elections to the controversial confirmation hearing to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Here are the highlights of their discussion.

In the first segment, they spoke about the midterms, the Democratic agenda should Democrats take back the congress and whether they should impeach Donald Trump.

The conversation continues with discussion about the allegation of sexual assault that have been raised during the Kavanaugh hearing and having the FBI reopen his background check.

In the final segment, the discussion turns to the ramifications of the chaos in the White House, the awkward position of staffers who see themselves as protecting the U.S. from Trump’s incompetence, and predicts that Trump will engage in mass firings after the 2018 election.

Sep 19 2018

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</i

Anita Hill: How to Get the Kavanaugh Hearings Right

There is no way to redo 1991, but there are ways to do better.

The facts underlying Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of being sexually assaulted by a young Brett Kavanaugh will continue to be revealed as confirmation proceedings unfold. Yet it’s impossible to miss the parallels between the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing of 2018 and the 1991 confirmation hearing for Justice Clarence Thomas. In 1991, the Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation for both the seriousness of sexual harassment claims and the need for public confidence in the character of a nominee to the Supreme Court. It failed on both counts. [..]

With the current heightened awareness of sexual violence comes heightened accountability for our representatives. To do better, the 2018 Senate Judiciary Committee must demonstrate a clear understanding that sexual violence is a social reality to which elected representatives must respond. A fair, neutral and well-thought-out course is the only way to approach Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh’s forthcoming testimony. The details of what that process would look like should be guided by experts who have devoted their careers to understanding sexual violence. The job of the Senate Judiciary Committee is to serve as fact-finders, to better serve the American public, and the weight of the government should not be used to destroy the lives of witnesses who are called to testify.

Here are some basic ground rules the committee should follow:

Eugene Robinson: Climate change is real. Welcome to the new normal.

Hurricane Florence has drenched eastern North Carolina with more than 30 inches of rain, an all-time record for the state. Last year, Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston and dumped more than 60 inches of rain, an all-time record for the whole country. Also last year, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico and caused, according to an independent study, nearly 3,000 deaths.

Welcome to the new normal.

Tropical cyclones are nothing new, of course. But climate scientists say that global warming should make such storms wetter, slower and more intense — which is exactly what seems to be happening. And if we fail to act, these kinds of devastating weather events will likely become even more frequent and more severe.

Climate change is a global phenomenon. Authorities in the Philippines are still trying to assess the damage and death toll from Typhoon Mangkhut, a rare Category 5-equivalent storm that struck the archipelago Saturday with sustained winds of 165 mph. Mangkhut went on to batter Hong Kong and now, as it weakens, is plowing across southern China.

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Sep 19 2018

The Breakfast Club (Indifference)

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.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

A pivotal battle in the American Revolution; President James Garfield dies; Bruno Hauptmann arrested in the Lindbergh baby case; Unabomber’s manifesto published; ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.

Jack Kerouac

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