Great British Breakfast

 

For reasons I shan’t go into, I spent most of Friday trying to undo the damage caused by a piece of software going haywire at work and am really not of a mind to spend a lot of time preparing breakfast this week. A quick skim round a number of outlets reveals that they’re just about all featuring just one story — Trump’s press conference — and they all have just about the same reaction — WTF???!?

So here’s a few English-language bits I’ve managed to throw together.

I’ll start with something boringly sensible, the opinion of the ever-reliable Patrick Cockburn:

Self-absorbed and irrational Donald Trump may well be, but on Thursday he held what was probably the most interesting and entertaining White House press conference ever. These are usually grimly ritualistic events in which select members of the media establishment, who have often come to see themselves as part of the permanent government of the US, ask predictable questions and get equally predictable replies.

For now, Trump reminds one more of a theatrical populist like Silvio Berlusconi than anything resembling a proto-fascist or authoritarian demagogue like Benito Mussolini. This perception may change as he secures his grip on the levers of power as he promises to do, blaming leaks from the US intelligence services on holdovers from the Obama administration.

Sound advice on this was given 300 years ago in Dr John Arbuthnot’s wonderful treatise on “the Art of Political Lying”, published in 1712, which warns that once a false fact or lie is lodged in the public mind, it may be impossible to persuade people that it is untrue except by another lie. He says, as an example, that if there is a rumour that the pretender to the British throne in exile in France has come to London, do not contradict it by saying he was never in England. Rather “you must prove by eyewitnesses that he came no farther than Greenwich, but then went back again.” He warns against spreading lies about a political leader which are directly contrary to their known character and previous behaviour. Better to give credibility to a lie by keeping within realms of credibility, by blackening the name of a prince known to be merciful “that he has pardoned a criminal who did not deserve it.”

Arbuthnot assumes that political parties lie as a matter of course, and that the only way for the public to limit the power of governments is to lie as much as they do. He says that, just as ministers use political lying to support their power, “it is but reasonable that the people should employ the same weapon to defend themselves, and pull them down.”

Could this be the fate of Trump? He became president because false facts fatally damaged Hillary Clinton – and now the same thing is happening to him.

In the Irish Independent, Dan O’Brien also plays down the comparisons with 1930s fascists:

Although history can always provide context and sometimes sounds warnings, its lessons can also be mislearnt. Badly learnt lessons often result in bad analysis. Bad analysis usually leads to bad decisions, something other countries need to consider when weighing up how to respond to the very considerable threats and challenges Trump poses.

To see why the Nazi parallel is ill-judged, consider what Trump would have to do in the short term to match Hitler.

Among the first things he would have to do is to convince Congress to enact laws allowing for the closing down of media organisations he claims propagate ‘fake news’, such as the ‘New York Times’ and CNN. He would have to use parts of the police and security apparatus to imprison, torture and ‘disappear’ political opponents. He would have to fire or intimidate not one but thousands of federal and state-level judges so that the US’s independent judiciary cannot check illegal and/or unconstitutional executive orders and legislation. He would even have to cancel next year’s congressional elections. These are exactly the sorts of measures Hitler implemented within a short period of coming to power.

But because the US today is not Germany of the 1930s in many profound and important ways, such outcomes are unlikely. Perhaps the most important difference is the strength and durability of democracy in America.

How the American people respond to Trump is one thing. How countries like Ireland respond is another matter. For long-time allies of the US to start acting towards it as if it were Nazi Germany would push the world in a more dangerous direction than it is already going, playing into the hands of those around Trump who seek escalation, conflict and permanent crisis.

The time to act against the Trump administration will be if it takes measures which go against the interests of Ireland and other friendly countries and if he continues down the path of actions which do not chime with democratic values.

Trump poses very real threats and challenges to his own country and the rest of the world, but at this juncture drawing parallels with Hitler are at best a distraction and at worst counter-productive.

Robert Fisk is a very erratic pundit — he’s wonderful if you want a wholly incorrect analysis of events in the Middle East, for instance — but here’s a piece which makes the odd useful point:

That’s what disqualifies all the Hitler parallels, even the Mussolini comparisons, although the comical side of Italian fascist imperium is clearly there. It’s not that Trump is no longer terrifying. He should be. Nor that he is mentally unstable – he clearly is. It’s that his performances are so rivetingly zany, so absolutely inside the prison of the absurd that I swear some of the human race will commit suicide when he’s gone.

I’m still not sure why the Trump shows have such depth. Maybe it’s because of the revolting seriousness of all around him. This thing, after all, has a cast of thousands. While the Chief Clown froths in the East Wing, his Attendant Lords blather away at immensely important conferences in Europe, desperately trying to assure the EU, Nato, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the World Bank, Isis, al-Qaeda, you name it, that nothing has changed. Everyone, both the American panjandrums and the European leaders and the Nato generals, even poor Sergei Lavrov, all pretend that this is quite normal. They act the part.

One of them, only slightly less insane than Trump since she is leading her own country over the Brexit cliff, has even told the Chief Lunatic that Her Majesty the Queen is inviting him for a state visit. There has been nothing like this since Alice in Wonderland. Across the globe, they all shake hands and curtsy and grovel and fawn just as they did when Good King Obama ruled the world.

For none of these creatures must give the slightest clue that they know. That’s why the whole thing is so addictive. Everyone – Mad Dog Mattis, Rex Exxon Tillerson, Angela We-Can-Do-This Merkel, Theresa Goodbye May – all have to pretend that absolutely nothing unusual is taking place.

They must not for a moment even hint that they know what we all know: that back at the White House, the President of the United States of America has dressed up in a green smock, stood on his head, smoked a joint in front of CNN and proclaimed that his hutch of performing rabbits are capable of playing Beethoven on three pianos at the same time.

And that’s why the whole thing is so addictive. This is not the ultimate reality show – and it’s not Adolf in the West Wing or Benito in the Rose Garden. It’s Punch and Judy set to Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

For how much longer can our colleagues stand in front of the White House or freeze in front of Nato conferences, parroting to us about what “officials say” (the most overused clause in US media history) with their usual self-assurance and self-regard when we all know that the game is up? For they, too, are still pretending that everything is normal.

But now we know they know nothing – because the President of the United States of America is completely bonkers, crackers, insane, out-of-kilter-in-the-brain and certifiably over the top. He’s not only a disgrace to the nation. Far worse, he’s a disgrace to the press. So it’s obviously in the national interest that he goes.

Sean O’Grady has a mildly different view:

Amateur psychology, maybe, but one can easily detect the same sort of inner fragility in Nixon than in the outwardly bombastic and ever-boastful Trump. The current President, too, over-estimates the power of his office (Nixon went so far as to try to develop a doctrine that “if the president does it, it’s legal” when he was in power).

Why else, other than some deep-seated insecurity, does Trump keep wanting to remind everyone about how he won the campaign, despite the media? Why does he feel the need, long after the campaign proper is over, to carry on appearing at rallies to adoring, chanting crowds? Like his poring over his media coverage, or getting wound up about Alec Baldwin’s hilarious renditions of him on Saturday Night Live, President Trump should have better things to do. He seems to be forgetting to get on with his sometimes tedious day job, and, as a result, making the sort of elementary errors that Nixon did, albeit in a different sphere.

Nixon was an experienced figure who had met and learned much from most of the world’s leaders, from Winston Churchill to the Shah of Iran, before he was elected President, who had served as Vice President, Congressman and Senator, who was a gifted lawyer and debated with Nikita Khrushchev on TV, and had a much surer touch about his cabinet appointments – Henry Kissinger, for example. Trump doesn’t have quite the same experience, skill or credentials. Both men would keep a faculty of psychologists busy, but essentially Trump is Nixon without the brains. That’s not so smart, as Trump himself might say.

Brian Klaas in the conservative Telegraph has another slightly different angle (you can tell I’m scraping around, can’t you?):

Thursday’s press conference was a remarkable moment in American history. It showcased something new: the White House of one. Trump made a series of false claims, berated the press for doing their jobs, and returned to the boisterous and combative back-and-forth that delighted his base on the campaign trail. He amped up his labeling of legitimate media outlets from “fake news” to “very fake news.” He trumpeted his electoral victory. And all along, the only thing that seemed to matter to him was Donald Trump. There was no talk of policy solutions to help a single mum raising three kids on two jobs. There was no talk of the downtrodden middle class, robbed of their American Dream by festering inequality. Instead, Trump’s overriding theme was that he was a winner, unfairly victimized by the losers in the press.

This arena – jousting with the press – is Trump’s comfort zone. Unfortunately, his return to his comfort zone pushed everyone else – Republicans, Democrats, foreign leaders – out of theirs. Republicans are panicking behind closed doors. World leaders are panicking in the open. President Trump looked way out of his league for the hardest job on Earth.

Of course, partisanship is a hell of a drug. Trump’s combative authoritarian approach to attacking the press will play exceedingly well in Rust Belt Ohio and Deep South Alabama. There is no question that his hardcore supporters will cheer the attacks on the mainstream media as long overdue. But the problem for Trump, and the world, is that economies don’t thrive, national security isn’t achieved, and justice is not served based on galvanizing a political base.

The campaign is over. He won. And yet Thursday’s press conference showed that Trump is not yet ready to govern. For anyone who understands the complexity of running the most powerful government on the planet, it was a 77 minute advertisement of Trump’s woeful unpreparedness. But as Trump sets off to Florida today for a campaign-style rally on Saturday, he will trade a tough crowd in the press room for an adoring one outside Washington. And the crowd noise he is sure to encounter, the chants, the cheering – those are the lifeblood that sustains the White House of one.

In the Herald Scotland, Kevin McKenna is concerned that exposing Trump’s lies will do no good:

Mr Trump knows that his claim about his margin of victory in the electoral college even now is being accepted as fact in a bar-room debate somewhere in Indiana in a community where sales and online subscriptions to The Washington Post and the New York Times are not high. Ah, we liberals are wont to point out, Mr Trump’s approval figures in the first month of his presidency are the lowest since Richard Nixon’s.

I doubt these will cause The Donald to have many sleepless nights. Despite his claims of vote-rigging, he rests secure in the knowledge that he accessed the White House with around three million votes fewer than his opponent and contrary to the predictions of opinion polls right up until his moment of triumph.

If he lasts the full stretch of even one term it’s the fond belief of the liberal elites that the Republican party will have sustained such grievous damage in the process that it will be virtually unelectable for a generation.

Yet, what if it’s the reputation of the American press that suffers most damage, to the extent that it is simply dismissed by that section of the American electorate that opted for Mr Trump?

Such an outcome will give succour to every reactionary right-wing Republican demagogue who fancies a shot at running the country. “To hell with the facts,” will be the strategy. “Facts are for the Post and the Times that will twist them to suit their liberal agendas. We deal in the truth, and the truth is what we say it is, thanks to Donald J.”

This would be the real tragedy of Mr Trump’s alt-right adventure. The independence and authority of the American press helped bring an end to the Vietnam War. During Watergate, the Post withstood a barrage of officially-sanctioned threats to its future and to the lives of its ace reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein before finally bringing down a crooked president.

Yet, without the scrutiny of its robust press, it would be more tempestuous still. This is where Mr Trump wants to take us and why he is constantly chipping away at the one estate that might yet arrest him on that wretched journey.

Again in Herald Scotland, Catriona Stewart looks forward to Trump’s planned UK visit:

Dear Donald,

I have a confession to make. I signed the petition calling for your invitation to come to the UK on a state visit to be rescinded.

It was a big mistake. The bigliest. On reflection, we don’t like bans. Maybe the other 1,857,847 signatories feel it was a tremendous mistake too. Such a mistake.

In fact, I speak for all of us when I say that we are looking forward to greeting you. There will be lots of greeting during your visit. The most.

Just this month, thousands of people, millions of them, came out across Scotland with special banners hailing your presidency. Around 1.5 million, the same as your inauguration. They came out in the rain. It was a hurricane.

They’ll definitely do it again. Thousands, I didn’t say millions.

You might see people carrying signs calling you a roaster. A roaster is a real compliment in Scotland. The highest compliment, actually. It means that you’re so hot you’re nuclear. And Donald, if I may, you sure are a nuclear option. You may also hear yourself called a rocket, a zoomer, a screamer, a nugget and a bam. These are all terms of respect, particularly President Bawbag. Or, for short, SCROTUS.

You don’t have to worry about FAKE NEWS in Scotland. We’re already alert to it. We have a dedicated consortium of patriots who attack the media and uncover conspiracy theories. They too would like to build a wall along the country south of the border.

Please, Donald, come to Scotland. We’ll all be waiting with a Glasgow kiss.

David McWilliams thinks that the economy will prove to be what really puts the skids under Trump:

Mr Trump’s team believes that the economy can grow to 3pc or 4pc and therefore believe that the Fed shouldn’t raise rates too soon. But if the Fed goes along with Mr Trump and is seen to be captured by his will and is seen to be soft on inflation, the US bond market will sell off, driving up long-term rates.

But here is the dilemma.

This conflict between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury in the US is one of the oldest in the book. In 1981/82, Paul Volcker hiked interest rates in response to Ronald Reagan’s tax-cutting start. Mr Volcker said he had to beat inflation and the ensuing recession blighted Reagan’s first three years.

Reagan backed down.

In 1992/3, Bill Clinton was pitted against Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. Mr Clinton fought the election on the promise of tax cuts for the middle classes.

Mr Greenspan took Mr Clinton’s economic guru, Robert Rubin, aside and told him firmly that if Mr Clinton cut taxes, he’d raise rates in retaliation. If, on the other hand, Mr Clinton reneged on his electoral promise, Mr Greenspan would do nothing and long-term interest rates would fall, driving up stock and house prices and driving the Clinton boom via higher asset prices.

Mr Clinton backed down.

Now will Mr Trump back down, or will he see this as yet more technocratic, unelected insiders – the central bankers – frustrating the people’s president?

What would this mean?

It would mean Mr Trump interfering in the appointment of future Fed governors and ultimately Ms Yellen’s successor. If he is happy to go after the spooks in the CIA, I’m sure he will not be scared of a few economists in the Fed. After all, they represent to him the ultimate insiders – civil servants who are unelected. He may well make them his next target.

If that happens, all hell will break loose on Wall Street because, after all, the near 30-year boom in American asset prices has been driven on the understanding that the Fed always wins.

What if that no longer holds true?

Then all bets are off.

In the Scotsman, Thomas Smart reflects on life as an expat:

I’m an American. I now live in the United Kingdom. Eleven years ago, I left the baking red heat of the Arizona desert for the soggy green hills of Scotland. The reason for my emigration was an excuse as old as humanity: love. I’d met a girl from Scotland. We got married in a cross-Atlantic swirl of confused accents and too much whisky. We bought a house. I got a job. We now have two young children.I like living in the UK. I like the people and I like the place. Yes, February is bleak and my tan has long since faded, but Great Britain has offered me opportunities which I would have never had in the United States. I can see a doctor – for free. I was able to pursue a postgraduate degree for a very reasonable price – free. When I went to get a prescription for an infection the pharmacist told me the cost, “Free”. I still remember when my first employer told me my holiday entitlement was 30 days. I was baffled. I wondered, do these people realise they’re giving me over a month off, paid? Beyond the constant drizzle, I began to understand that there was a cultural divide I would need to work hard to bridge.


The America I left didn’t feel xenophobic and isolationist. Admittedly, racism is a part of American history and still very much exists. However, I never thought the American people would vote to literally wall themselves in. The America I thought I knew wasn’t misogynistic and mean. Yes, equality was a long way off but I never believed a politician could openly bragg about abusing women and still win power. In short, America has always had its flaws, but the radical now seems to have become mainstream – it’s as if those on the fringe have somehow gotten hold of the microphone.I’ve not been back to the United States for four years. Between the cost of flights and the kids, it’s been too difficult to make the journey. The election of Trump has made me wonder, if I do ever go back to the US, will it be anything like the country I remember? It’s very easy to view the past through rose tinted spectacles, and perhaps, over the years, I’ve created a sanitised view of the America I want to remember. But I do remember it as a happy place, as a place which was, for lack of a better word, good. It seems like, somewhere between the mass shootings, violent police officers, and a megalomaniac in the White House, everything has changed. I wonder where all the kindness went? While I’m sure that the earth is the same size it was eleven years, ago, it just feels like home is much further away.

I’ll finish with an important piece from the Southend News Network, one of Britain’s premier news sites:

A spokesperson for Donald Trump’s administration has confirmed that the CIA’s list of approved methods of torture has been replaced by an executive order that authorises the use of Stacey Solomon voice recordings.

According to the new ruling, this means that all levels of suspects will be subjected to 60-second audio files of the Essex TV personality’s many appearances.

the President decided that it was time to look for a new mental or emotional method that would be just as effective, and at that point somebody handed him a tape of an episode of The Xtra Factor.’

‘He noticed that her vocal delivery of ending one thought and beginning a new thought simultaneously at varying speeds was ‘giving him the motherf*cker of all headaches,’ and just 20 seconds later he was crying on the floor and getting ready to email our nuclear missile launch codes to The Kremlin.’

‘Thankfully someone was there to turn off the recording and intercept him.’

‘We carried out a test interrogation on a registered terror suspect last night, and within three cycles he had denounced Allah, shaved off his beard and was preparing for a new career selling bicycles and spreading the word of The Good Book.’

Although Washington is delighted at the success of the trial, there may be some difficult times ahead after the United Nations confirmed that the move may be violating a number of clauses in the Geneva Convention.

You may find it interesting to peruse some more of SNN’s stories, which often give an interesting new angle to current events. It’ll be one way to occupy your Sunday.

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43 Comments

  1. Michael, this is the best Sunday breakfast of news I’ve ever read! Thank you. Yes, I am entertained, as the crowd roared to the gladiator.

    Now I’ve got to Google “the Volcker Rule,” because I’m not sure what it means—unless it means what you just reported. “You cut taxes, chickie, and I’ll raise interest rates.”

    Well, after this, I feel set up for the day.

  2. Well you fixed the font size and I get to salivate over two of your fattening breakfasts…Thanks Michael, excellent as always.

    • {{{Batch}}} – salivate over them is OK – not sure you should actually eat one though. :) and moar {{{HUGS}}}

  3. Whooo…I didn’t know whether to be entertained or very depressed….so I decided to be entertained as it’s too early to be that depressed…I did find it interesting that one account thought the Hilter comparisons were too much and that the American democracy is too strong…not sure I agree with that…I think we have been slipping that way for a while…we shall see…
    Oh yes thanks for the breakfast Michael…

    • I get frustrated because it seems like the people resisting the Hitler comparisons seem to think Hitler and Nazism sprang into existence fully formed. They didn’t, and people making the comparison, myself included, are comparing 1933 Hitler with 2017 Trump….and there are many comparisons to be made, with both how Trump acts, his motivations and his approach. But that’s not the greatest concern, the real concern is the comparison between how the people acted and reacted.

      I’m growing more and more shocked by the people who keep pushing ” The Democratic Party left the people behind!” and “What can you expect these people are being hurt by neo-liberalism”. Germans were fucking hurt by post-WWI economic anxiety….but here’s the thing, it did not, does not and never will, justify allowing Nazis to come to power.

      • {{{CBD}}} The Germans were hurt much worse by the post-WWI economy than we ever have been. Not going to say ever will be as this administration is perfectly capable of causing such damage, but I hope we can block that. The meme of “hurt by neo-liberalism” was created by the CEOs of the 6 RW corporations that own 90% of the media and influence the rest. And their chosen RW-ALEC-spewing representatives in government are the ones who’ve blocked anything and everything government could do to mitigate change – the only constant – in order to increase their own wealth and power. Our Alt-Left loves them some authoritarianism – and apparently figures that if it works so well for the Rs, it will work fine for Dems. Totally ignoring the facts that the makeup of the Rs is vastly different from that of the Dems.

        • Exactly! That’s the only non-substantive part of the comparison, that the Germans were in a much worse position, arguably not of their own doing. Whereas the largest areas of Trump support, if they are in fact suffering from economic hardship, have been consistently voting red and screwing themselves over.

          I make the comparison not to say that it is inevitable, but because I think that the motivation and the voices of the Women’s March, protests in airports etc are so critical. If the brogressives who want to make this whole thing about ‘neo-liberalism’ would have their way all of those issues and aspects of the situation would be silenced, which in my opinion would be very dangerous.

          The ‘othering’ and attack of others, right now immigrants and Muslims, as with Nazi Germany, was one of the key and critical factors which led to the authoritarianism. That degree of fear, hatred and anger is the catalyst for something like Nazism. That is what leads to the derangement and gets people to turn their brains and compassion off. That’s why it must be fought so aggressively and why I’m so optimistic when I see signs saying “First they came for the Muslims and we were like, Not This TIme M-F’er”

          • Yes, if we can do nothing else except some variation on the “not this time, em-effer” that will still be enough to get us through this. It won’t be good, nor quick. It will basically be something along the lines of Churchill saying that the Allies only hope (we’re talking 1940 when he daren’t make even the suggestion that America might come in) was for Hitler to “attack this island and break his air weapon” – which Hitler more or less did.

            If we can do more – make those contacts at the different marches, protests, and other very public events and then go home and work together on blocking what we can while we register voters, help them get IDs where necessary, find people to run for whatever’s open, and GOTV in every race that comes along – we’ll curtail the damage. But not allowing Hate and Fear to take over is crucial. The reaction to Hate and especially Fear is the Rs “air weapon” – we have to be strong enough with our Love and Kindness that their weapon is broken against us.

    • {{{rto}}} – always glad to see you. Hope the lack of winter doesn’t make Chicago a tick-fest come spring.

  4. Thanks, again, for another great breakfast. I liked every single story you provided which, with me, is a miracle. Off to enjoy a donut and a cup of coffee.

      • I did, thank you. I then went on a two hour walk to rid myself of the calories. Aw, the price I pay for my indulgences.

        • I really need to do more walking but besides the Raynaud’s I’ve got a small scar on my right foot that hurts when it’s cold (like below 70) or when the weather’s changing. Barometer shifts are the worst (partly because that also gives me a major headache) whether or not we get rain. We’ve had a lot of barometer shifts this winter – lots of clouds but very little rain, darn it. Once summer gets here I hope I can get back into the habit of walking home from work (2 miles) several times a week.

          • It definitely provides you with a feeling of accomplishment. This has been an unusual winter for a large part of the country. Of course, if it means we finally get our reservoirs full and our ground water replenished, I’ll take it.

          • I feel better when I move more, as far as general body and all that. But when walking itself is painful, well, depends on level of pain as to whether I do it anyway. It’s not so painful I can’t manage to get from car to office – which is 2 blocks – but let’s just say I’m very happy to sit down and take the weight off once those 2 blocks are accomplished.

            We’ve had a lot of cloudy but not rain weather here – the damp ache in the bones sort of weather without the benefit of full reservoirs and replenished groundwater. But then, while we’re in a drought it’s nothing like the one you folks had – and unfortunately will have again – on the west coast. Enjoy it while you got it (and Holding the Good Thought no more flooding).

    • Hope you (and Batch) have everything ready to take if you need to evacuate in a hurry. As for the elliptical, perhaps it can tame the demon flood waters?

      • Hey basket. I travel light if I need to make a run for it. I’ll head for the Red Hawk Casino and enjoy myself. As for Batch, being in Florida, he won’t be much help. I got rained on this morning a little, but believe it may be the last walk for a few days. Elliptical must be manipulated into being an ally and not a foe. Thanks for the NWS information on Facebook.

  5. Thanks, Michael – I agree that the constitutional foundation of America will prevent pvl45 from becoming Hitler or Mussolini. There will be lots of damage – I can’t even guess how much at this point – but we will recover. We’re working on the how, with the Alt Left trying to hamstring us. Unfortunately they like the authoritarian system – they just want to replace the authority with one who does what they want. Sort of “good king v bad king” and not paying any attention to the idea that having a king at all might be the problem. Which is rather unpatriotic of them as our very nation was founded on the idea that having a king at all was the problem.

    But even having to dodge the Alt Left we will recover. It just may take longer that way. sigh.

    • This is my take as well, the Alt-Left have no problem with the power and control, even when it comes to the inequality of capitalism, they’re just angry that they’re not at the top of the food chain.

      • Yep – they want to be king and throw temper tantrums at those of us who point out we don’t live in a monarchy. (And they’re as “blessed” with projection as pvl45 – all those accusations of a “coronation” for Hillary. As much projection as the other guy saying “you’re the puppet” when Hillary pointed out the Russian connection at a “debate”. sigh.)

        • I will never, for the life of me, understand how that line could pass anyone’s lips. Saint Slanders the Panderer didn’t work for the first 40 years of his life, he white flighted to lily white Vermont, he never worked within a political party and his only accomplishments was finger wagging and slapping his name on other people’s legislation, yet he felt he could show up at a party he wasn’t a member of and criticized regularly and be handed, on a silver platter the nomination. Only Bros wouldn’t consider that a coronation, only bros can’t see how insane that is. A woman could never act like that.

  6. Thanks for the hearty (and entertaining) breakfast, Michael! I’m still caffeinating here so don’t have much to add to that at the moment. Will check back in with all of you later!

      • {{{bfitz}}} and you as well.

        Thinking of heading over to the Fat Rabbit (a pub) for their Irish breakfast and some Irish Coffee. :)

        • I haven’t had an Irish coffee in a couple of decades. Not something I usually think of for breakfast. :) What makes a breakfast Irish as opposed to English, Scots, Welsh, or American for that matter?

          • I think it’s the ingredients. Irish breakfasts typically have beans, pork/bacon (but no sausages). I’ve never had a Scots or Welsh breakfast before. (I’m not usually much of a breakfast person, on weekdays I eat a banana and drink coffee at work)

          • My breakfasts are a little more substantial than yours at least. A mug of cocoa, small glass of juice, a small muffin, and a small lean sausage patty – 400 calories and 18 g protein. I make the muffins myself. Commercial muffins are too big and too sweet and the gluten-free ones are worse than the “regular” ones. (Lots more expensive, too.) But I do drink coffee at work. :)

          • Regional variations are what makes the breakfasts delicious and different. For example, here in Scotland you’ll get a potato scone, blood pudding and maybe haggis sausage in your fry up.

            Irish might have soda bread and boxty potatoes.

            No one likes the English anyway ;)

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast

          • I think I’d stick with oatmeal in Scotland – maybe the potato scone if they can do it gluten-free, but I doubt I’d try the blood pudding even if it was gluten-free. :)

          • NO! Absolutely not :)

            I spent all last week eating haggis flavoured potato chips, that stuff was delicious!!!!

  7. Related to the discussion, both on Corbyn and the political dynamics here — this is a pretty interesting read from Think Progress — back on Jan 5 but I missed it last time. Food for thought and for argument here, but I think this is pretty salient:

    Alienated from any productive conduit for their political energies, and contemptuous of a Democratic Party they still associate with Third Way Clintonism, many white leftists have turned inward, toward an imagined past. Like Corbyn’s base, they are in thrall to a politically sterile hodgepodge of cultural signifiers, coated in the thick musk of an idealized Old Left. Though some of those cultural signifiers might have seemed naïve or ridiculous in more innocent times, they are, in fact, eerily proximate to Third Position mythology. A small but significant chunk of the white left are closer than they know to right-wing nationalism.

    For one thing, there’s the shared nostalgia for past anti-democratic movements. Though not everyone on the anti-capitalist left romanticizes authoritarian regimes, an alarmingly large percentage of socialist thinkers and publications regularly indulge their proclivity for Soviet kitsch. These flights of fancy usually proceed from the base assumption that because American imperialism is bad, the forces that oppose it must therefore be good. Thus CounterPunch has published articles defending the Khmer Rouge; and, in a bizarre turn, the Green Party’s 2016 presidential candidate wound up defending Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a necessary response to an attempted Western “coup.”

    The usual defense of populist despots — of all persuasions — is that they’re not anti-democratic because they represent the authentic will of the people. But it is exactly this claim that makes populism of both the left and the right inhospitable to democracy. As the political theorist Jann-Werner Müller has argued, when populists say they represent “the people,” they are claiming “a moral monopoly of representation” that paints all disagreement as illegitimate. To populists of both the left and right, there is no good faith opposition; there are only enemies of the authentic people, however one chooses to define that term. White populists define it as a unified white nation.

    In the American populist tradition, the “authentic people” are usually white workers. There exists a surprising left-right consensus that white workers have been “left behind” by the economy and the Democratic Party, even as people of color continue to make advances. The reality is somewhat different: As wealth inequality has grown steeper, households of color have suffered the most. And 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — identified as a candidate of the Third Way mainly because her husband is Bill Clinton — put forward a policy agenda that would have distributed significant amounts of wealth to the entire working class, white people included.

    https://thinkprogress.org/the-center-has-fallen-and-white-nationalism-is-filling-the-vacuum-beb0611dfe94#.fzm13bnqj

    • Like the excerpt, I agree with most of it, but disagree that these people actually care about economic inequality. Attacking 3rd Way/DLC/Clintonism was just a means to an end in my opinion. A way to paint those within the Party as the enemy and attack them, not something they were actually bothered by, they attacked those things because their success was what gave the Clinton’s the power they had in the Party and they wanted to take that power for themselves. In the end they have no more interest in the ‘little guy’ or fighting for the powerless than the right wing.

      I think it all really comes down to the white male left wing just wanting to retain their position of power and privilege in society. They may want unions and healthcare, but they don’t want it at the expense of having a Black man or especially a woman as a boss.

      • You got that right. The insistence that we must make nice with the white racists is a dead giveaway. The difference between the Alt Left and the Alt Right is one of degree. The Alt Left doesn’t mind us (women and people of color) being 3rd or 4th class citizens as long as we know our place and follow their sumptuary laws. The Alt Right doesn’t regard women as persons and they don’t regard males of color to be citizens (the really rabid don’t regard women or males of color as human) – but they also want us to know our place and follow their sumptuary laws (which are more confining than the Alt Left’s sumptuary laws). So if we HAD to have one or the other, choose the Alt Left – but the correct choice is neither because we outnumber both the Alts together.

  8. Thanks Michael looking for to having an English Breakfast in London in late October. Agree that the comparison to Adolph might be a tad off for this country and he is more of a Silvio Berlusconi, agree.

    • {{{Philly}}} – I don’t know enough about Berlusconi to say one way or the other. I don’t think pvl45 has the brains to be Hitler – but Bannon does. Only our constitutional foundation prevents him from getting away with it. But it does. The guys who wrote that thing had a working knowledge of despots.

  9. Enjoyed the breakfast, Michael, even having it cold and near midnight. Thanks for the view from abroad, from a broad. :)

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