Dec 03 2017

The Breakfast Club (Crazy)

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 December 3rd

First human heart transplant performed; Industrial accident kills thousands in Bhopal, India; Hundreds of students arrested at the University of California at Berkeley; “A Streetcar Named Desire” opens on Broadway; Singer Ozzy Osbourne is born.


Breakfast Tune Iron Horse Crazy train (cover of Ozzy Osbourne)


Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

As John Conyers Departs From Judiciary Committee Spot, the First Battle of the Anti-Monopoly Era Begins
Ryan Grim, Lee Fang, The Intercept

FIVE LONG YEARS ago, Zoe Lofgren was a hero. The Bay Area representative took a lonely stand against many of her Democratic colleagues, in what became known as the SOPA fight.

SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act — was a top priority of Hollywood and other artists and creators, aimed at stifling the free flow of content on the web. Open internet advocates pushed back against the bill in 2011 and 2012, and a coalition of big platforms, online progressive groups, and tech libertarians rallied to stop it in its tracks, with Lofgren as the lead champion in the House.

The next year, Edward Snowden laid bare the secret surveillance practices of the National Security Agency, carried out in collusion with cable companies and tech platforms, and Lofgren, a key figure on the House Judiciary Committee, once again took the lead. “Lofgren has been the House Judiciary Committee’s staunchest opponent of government surveillance during the post-Snowden era,” said David Segal, head of Demand Progress, who, along with his fellow co-founder the late Aaron Swartz, was deeply involved in the battle over SOPA.

Had Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., then well into his 80s, retired from Congress, Lofgren would have been well-positioned to claim the top-ranking seat on the Judiciary Committee. Yet he ran for re-election. Again. And again. And again.

He stayed so long that Lofgren’s brand of Silicon Valley politics is now past its expiration date, her once virtuous alliance with the forces of progress and innovation curdling into a protection racket for increasingly unpopular monopolies.

Conyers on Sunday announced he is stepping down as the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, launching a battle for his successor that has pitted two Democratic rivals — Lofgren and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. — against each other. On the one hand, his resignation comes in a politically fortuitous way for Lofgren, with Conyers felled not by age but by allegations of sexual harassment. The political logic of replacing him with a woman is obvious. But then there’s Google.

The race for committee chair threatens to become the first fight over monopoly politics after the rollout of House Democrats’ “Better Deal” platform for 2018, which was built on going after concentrated power, particularly in the tech sector. Elected to Congress in 1994, Lofgren represents San Jose and the Bay Area, and is far and away the most stalwart defender of big Silicon Valley firms among House Democrats. …

Lee Fang, The Intercept

TOUTING SUPPORT FOR their tax cut legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, released a letter this week signed by 137 economists who say they strongly endorse the Republican legislation before Congress. President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon tweeted a short video featuring the list of 137 economists.

“Economic growth will accelerate if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes, leading to more jobs, higher wages, and a better standard of living for the American people,” reads the letter, which was organized by the RATE Coalition, a corporate advocacy group that is lobbying in support of the bill.

But a review of the economists listed on the letter reveals a number of discrepancies, including economists that are supposedly still academics but are actually retired, and others who have never been employed as economists. One might not even exist. …

White House Memo Justifying CFPB Takeover Was Written By Payday Lender Attorney
David Dayen, The Intercept

THE LAWYER WHO wrote the Office of Legal Counsel memo supporting the Trump administration’s viewpoint that the president can appoint Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau represented a payday lender in front of the CFPB last year.

Steven A. Engel wrote the memo for OLC, which has been criticized by academics for seeking a conclusion and working backward to justify it. “Let’s be honest, this is an argument where you get the answer, and then you go to the other side of the equation,” said former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a lead author of the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB. Engel was confirmed as an assistant attorney general earlier this month by a voice vote in the Senate.

But in July 2015, Engel was one of two lead counsels for NDG Financial Corp., a Canadian payday lender that CFPB cited for running a nine-year scheme to use its foreign status to offer U.S. customers high-cost loans that were at odds with state and federal law. “We are taking action against the NDG Enterprise for collecting money it had no right to take from consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray at the time. Engel was active in the case up until August of this year. …

News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier
Rolf Dobelli, The Guardian

In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be. …

Flynn Pleads Guilty To Lying To FBI, But, Worst Of All, Lying To Himself
The Onion

WASHINGTON—Testifying to a judge that he was prepared to take full responsibility for his egregious actions, former National Security advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, but, worst of all, lying to himself. “I am prepared to admit that I lied to FBI officials about my contact with Russian officials—but, far, far worse than that, I was dishonest with myself,” said Flynn, adding that his false statements to investigators probing possible collusion between the Trump campaign and an adversarial foreign power had been part of the infinitely greater evil of not living true to the man he knows he is. “As much as I should never have lied about undermining American democracy, what’s more important is how I deceived myself into becoming someone I didn’t recognize in the mirror. I must repair the horrible damage I’ve done to this nation and, even more egregiously, to my self-esteem.” Flynn concluded his testimony by saying that, in the end, if he came out of this ordeal a better man, all the damage he caused will have been worth it.







Something to think about over coffee prozac

Hand grenade found in donation to California Goodwill store

PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say someone left a hand grenade inside a box of donations that was dropped off by a woman at a Goodwill store in Southern California.

The Los Angeles Times reports an unidentified woman dropped off the box Wednesday at the store in the city of Placentia near Los Angeles.

The Placentia Police Department says store workers discovered the grenade as they sifted through donations. …