Nov 16 2019

House

Metal mood.

Cirice – Ghost

More Human Than Human – White Zombie

Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against The Machine

I’m telling you, the answer is Connecticut.

Nov 16 2019

The Breakfast Club (Limits)

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

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

Democracy, like any non-coercive relationship, rests on a shared understanding of limits.

Elizabeth Drew

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 15 2019

How Long Can You Tread Water?

Mother Nature is sending a message and she is pissed at the climate change deniers. Unfortunately, we are all paying the price of their greed and ignorance.

Rightwing parties reject proposals as lagoon city faces worst flooding in 53 years

Veneto’s regional council rejected a plan to combat climate change minutes before its offices on the Grand Canal, in Venice, were flooded, it has emerged as the city continues to battle high water levels.

Venice has been hit by recurrent flooding since Tuesday, with 70% of the lagoon city engulfed on Friday morning as the acqua alta, or high water, level reached 1.54 metres amid heavy downpours.

On Tuesday night, as Veneto councillors were debating the climate emergency in Ferro Fini Palace, Venice experienced its worst flooding since 1966.

Politicians from the regional council’s majority rightwing parties: the League, Brothers of Italy and Forza Italia, rejected amendments to fight the climate crisis in the 2020 budget that were proposed by the centre-left Democratic party.

Sharing pictures of the room as water entered, Andrea Zanoni, the Democratic party’s deputy chairman of the council’s environment committee, wrote on Facebook: “Ironically, the chamber was flooded two minutes after the majority parties rejected our proposals to tackle climate change.”

 

 

Nov 15 2019

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

Paul Krugman: Trump and His Party of Pollution

Environmental destruction may be their biggest legacy.

Given what we’ve seen in the impeachment hearings so far, there is literally no crime, no abuse of power, that would induce Republicans to turn on President Trump. So if you’re waiting for some dramatic political turn, don’t hold your breath.

On second thought, however, maybe you should hold your breath. For air quality has deteriorated significantly over the past few years — a deterioration that has already cost thousands of American lives. And if Trump remains in power, the air will get much worse, and the death toll rise dramatically, in the years ahead. [..]

Why? Follow the money. There’s huge variation among industries in how much environmental damage they do per dollar of production. And the super-polluting industries have basically put all their chips on the Republicans. In 2016, for example, coal mining gave 97 percent of its political contributions to Republican candidates and causes. And polluters are getting what they paid for.

This, by the way, is one reason I and others find it so mind-boggling when people like Joe Biden say that everything will be fine once Trump is gone. If Trump doesn’t succeed in destroying our democracy (a big if), his most damaging legacy will be the vast environmental destruction he leaves behind. And Trump’s pro-pollution stance isn’t an aberration. In this, he is very much a man of his party.

Charles M. Blow: This Is Not a Game

The first public hearing in the impeachment proceedings was sad, yet necessary.

On Wednesday the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump took place.

It was a somber moment. The country has not often inched up to this precipice, and for good reason.

The fact that we are here signals that the country got something horribly wrong. It elevated a man of poor character who did not keep faith with the country, but instead did something so egregious and offensive that lawmakers are forced to employ one of the Constitution’s greatest powers.

No, this was not a good day. But it was a necessary day.

It is a stress test for the country and its institutions. It will test whether a president with utter contempt for tradition, history, conventions and the rule of law itself can be reprimanded and chastened by the instruments of power as they now exist.

The notion that no one is above the law is being tested.

The thing is that Trump, knowingly or not, has been priming the country for this moment, weakening it for this moment. He has attacked vital institutions like the press. He has corroded the very idea of truth. He has snatched the souls from Republicans in Congress. And he has seeded the courts as much as possible with people who are likely to be more in line with his positions.
Sign Up for Debatable

Agree to disagree, or disagree better? We’ll help you understand the sharpest arguments on the most pressing issues of the week, from new and familiar voices.

This impeachment will test whether the spell Trump cast can indeed be broken.

Eugene Robinson: History is in motion. Tweets and tantrums cannot stop it.

This is not a food fight, though Republicans seem to wish it were. This is not a cheesy reality show where fake outrage “wins” and substance “loses.” This is history.

The first day of public testimony in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday produced a stunning account of misconduct by the president of the United States. Two veteran diplomats described an elaborate clandestine scheme in which President Trump sought to coerce the president of Ukraine into trading arms for dirt — nearly $400 million in desperately needed military aid in exchange for publicly smearing former vice president Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the 2020 election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that the testimony of William B. Taylor Jr., the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, “corroborated evidence of bribery” by Trump. Pelosi’s assessment, in my view, is an understatement. We heard evidence to substantiate at least three articles of impeachment.

Karen Tumulty: Impeaching a president requires both a lens and a mirror

Impeaching a president is an investigational endeavor that requires both a lens and a mirror.

It demands an examination of actions by the person to whom the country has entrusted the most powerful office in the world. But impeachment also means examining what we as a nation have decided to tolerate.

That is why it was fitting that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) opened Wednesday’s public impeachment hearing by reminding us of three shocking words that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney uttered last month.

Mulvaney publicly admitted that President Trump attempted to turn hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally appropriated security aid for Ukraine into a lever to force that country’s president to take actions that would help Trump’s own political interests. And then Mulvaney said: “Get over it.” [..]

Extortion, coercion, bribery — name it what you will. Schiff called it all of those things. But then the Intelligence Committee chairman posed the real questions at hand: “Is that what Americans should now expect from their president? If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

And what does it say about a country that could look at Trump’s actions and decide to shrug them off?

Catherine Rampell: Trump has bulldozed over Congress on immigration. Will lawmakers ever act?

Republican lawmakers seem to be having self-esteem issues.

The legislature, after all, is an equal branch of government with constitutionally granted powers. Lately, nearly all of those powers have been siphoned off by the president and his team of unelected bureaucrats. Yet, again and again, GOP lawmakers meekly submit to this constitutional castration.

To wit: Congress’s power of the purse? Gone. Regardless of how much money Congress appropriates for, say, a border wall or military aid to Ukraine, President Trump has made clear that he’ll ignore the number and pencil in his own. [..]

Which brings me to the most significant power Trump has stripped from Congress: its lawmaking authority. This is best illustrated by the administration’s actions basically rewriting immigration law wholesale, with nary a peep from GOP legislators.

Sure, on some immigration matters, Congress has relinquished its responsibilities, effectively giving Trump the ability to contort immigration policy as he sees fit.

Nov 15 2019

Impeachment: Day 2 Testimony

Testimony in the impeachment investigation of Donald Trump began on Wednesday November 13 with two witnesses, Ambassador William Taylor Jr., the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, and the senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine, George P. Kent. Today we will here the testimony of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch. She has served in the foreign service for 32 years. Trump abruptly recalled Ms. Yovanovich from her post in May. She was the focus of targeted attacks from the president’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who pushed for her removal.

How and why Ms. Yovanovitch was removed from her job has emerged as a major focus of the impeachment inquiry – as investigators have explored whether the president did so because she was viewed as an impediment to Mr. Giuliani implementing a shadow Ukraine foreign policy that would have benefited Mr. Trump politically.

Nov 15 2019

Still think it didn’t happen?

Look I’ll flat out say that I don’t respect Fareed Zakaria any more than I do most “Objective” Journalists, which is to say- “Not at all.” He isn’t objective, instead he’s promoting the same kind of Beltway Both-siderism they all do because they’re a bunch of selfish geedheads who either deludedly think they actually are talented because they are successful or cynically exploit the system while understanding its manifest flaws.

But at least he doesn’t lie constantly like corrupt crud who keep feeding the MAGA Deplorables (I have my beefs with Hillary, but that was dead on) complicated and self contradictory Conspiracy Theories (still think Ted Cruz’s Dad shot Kennedy? Really?).

Like most memoirists I suspect this is slanted to put him in the most favorable light, but what do you expect?

Zelensky was planning to announce Trump’s ‘quid pro quo’ on my show. Here’s what happened.
By Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post
November 14,2019

The phrase “quid pro quo” is usually translated as “something for something.” In the case of President Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, it appears that the “quo” was supposed to have been a declaration of Zelensky’s commitment to undertake investigations into the 2016 election and Joe Biden. The New York Times has reported that a public announcement was set to be made on my CNN program. So I think I owe readers my best understanding of what actually happened.

Ever since Zelensky was elected president in April, my team and I have been interested in having him appear on the show. He is a fascinating political figure, a total outsider who swept into power. I had visited Ukraine several times and interviewed the previous president of the country three times, so I was familiar with the place and had good contacts.

We began the process of establishing connections with the new administration, which was cordial and efficient throughout. Heads of state often find it useful to give interviews around the time of the annual U.N. General Assembly in September, and that was our target.

About a week before the main U.N. gathering, another major conference was taking place in Kyiv, an annual event that brings together Ukrainian elites with Western politicians, diplomats, intellectuals and journalists. Since I was scheduled to participate, I queried as to whether I could meet with Zelensky to secure the televised interview and get him comfortable with me. His office readily agreed.

On Sept. 13, I met with Zelensky in Kyiv, on the sidelines of the conference. He came across as smart, energetic and with a much sharper feel for politics than you might expect from a neophyte. It was a brief conversation, but we did discuss most of the big issues he faced — Ukraine’s relations with Russia and the United States, economic reform and corruption. We also talked about whether he wanted to do the interview in English — which he speaks well — or Ukrainian. I left with the sense that all was well. Zelensky had perhaps seemed a bit distracted, but I assumed that this was because of the many challenges he faced.

It’s a testament to Zelensky’s skill that he did not let on in any way the immense pressure he was under. As we now know, for months the Trump White House had been mounting an intense campaign to force him to publicly announce the election-related investigations. He had tried to resist and put them off in various ways, but ultimately decided he would have to give in, according to the Times. His team apparently concluded that since he was planning an interview with me anyway, that would be the forum in which he would make the announcement, though neither he nor any of his team ever gave us any inkling that this was their plan. However, after my meeting with him in Kyiv, my team began to discuss potential logistics of the interview with his team — time and place.

But I had not realized how much the ground had already begun to shift before our meeting. On Sept. 5, The Post published an editorial revealing that it had been “reliably told” that Trump was trying to force Zelensky to investigate Biden. On Sept. 9, four days before my visit to Kyiv, House Democrats initiated an investigation into the allegations. That same day, the intelligence community inspector general notified the House and Senate intelligence committees of the whistleblower complaint. The next day, Sept. 10, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire demanding that he turn over the complaint. That is also the day Trump announced he had fired John Bolton as national security adviser. And then, on Sept. 11, aid to Ukraine was unfrozen with no conditions.

Imagine Zelensky’s dilemma. By the time I met with him in Kyiv, he knew the aid had been released, but the backstory had not yet broken into public view. Ukrainian officials I spoke to about the release of the aid were delighted but a little surprised and unsure as to what had happened. Zelensky and his team were probably trying to figure out whether they should still do the interview.

A few days later, on Sept. 18 and 19, The Post broke the story wide open. The interview was called off. We are, of course, still trying to get it.

I think what this story illustrates, besides the lies of Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio, is the willingness of “Objective Journalists” to report Fake News and Propoganda and allow themselves to be manipulated by Politicians.

Nov 15 2019

Cartnoon

Perhaps a little late.

Nov 15 2019

The Breakfast Club (Hold On)

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

Sherman begins ‘March to the Sea’ in American Civil War; Zebulon Pike spots namesake mountaintop; Anti-Vietnam War protesters gather in DC; Joey Buttafuoco gets jail time; Actor Sam Waterston born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Ignorance has always been the weapon of tyrants; enlightenment the salvation of the free.

Bill Richardson

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 14 2019

For The Record- Day 1

C-SPAN

Reliable and boring.

Transcript

Nov 14 2019

Impeachment Day 1: First Responses

(just a note: The original title was “First Responders”. After today’s events at Santa Clarita I decided to change it.)

Some people may disagree but I contend that, at the moment, what is called “Late Night Talk”, with a few exceptions that remain firmly committed to a “no politics” approach, is the most important means of public communication the Left has.

Even a Network like MSNBC allows an appalling number of Conservative Conmen to spout their lies uncontested or make even more important policy mistakes in an effort to be “objective”. As Stockton says, the myth of Objective Journalism is why this country has been so corrupt for so long.

Late Night has the additional advantage of being popular and accessible. Oh sure the cable networks try to yuk it up in their transitions and some (Ari Melber, looking right at you) are transparently desperate in developing lighter “signature” pieces. You’re funny sometimes but it’s not at all the same.

The point being that I think examining these pieces is just as important as wading through all the both-siderist crap at Wapo or The Times.

Trevor

Stephen

Seth

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