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.
AP’s Today in History for December 20th
Ceremonies in New Orleans formally mark the completion of the Louisiana Purchase; South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union; Operation “Just Cause” 1989 Panama; Vermont’s Supreme Court rules in favor of homosexual couples; “It’s A Wonderful Life” premieres in New York.
Breakfast Tunes Battle Hymn Of The Republic
Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below
Protesters in Ethiopia reject authoritarian development model
Awol Allo, Al Jazeera
Social media is full of images of dead and injured students from Ethiopia’s Oromia state. At least 50 protesters have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands more arrested in monthlong protests across the region. Tensions escalated sharply this week after authorities accused the demonstrators of terrorism and confirmed deploying military forces.
The government continues to take a hard line. On Dec. 17, Communications Minister Getachew Reda described the protesters as “terrorists” and “demonic.” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has threatened to take “merciless action against any force bent on destabilizing the area,” echoing pronouncements by the country’s counterterrorism task force, which has promised “legal and proportionate” measures.
This is an old tactic in Ethiopia, where protests and public proclamation of dissent are criminalized. Addis Ababa often dismisses genuine local grievances as evil designs of anti-development elements. Over the last decade, the government in Addis Ababa used the “war on terrorism” and the rhetoric of development to silence independent voices and curtail democratic debate. The press is effectively muzzled, and independent civic and political organizations face an array of government tactics, including manipulation, co-optation and violent repression. …
Thumb on the Scale? DNC Backs Off Bernie But Questions of Neutrality Linger
Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
Though the Democratic National Committee (DNC) late Friday reversed its controversial decision to block the Bernie Sanders campaign from accessing important voter information, the skirmish raised questions about the organization’s neutrality in the presidential contest.
Hours after the Sanders campaign filed (pdf) a lawsuit against the party, chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fl.) issued a statement saying that the DNC will restore campaign access to the voter file while the group continues to investigate the alleged data breach.
“Clearly, they were very concerned about their prospects in court,” said Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver. The suit charges that the campaign would suffer “sustaining irreparable injury and financial losses” exceeding $600,000 each day if unable to retrieve essential voter information. …
FBI snooped on singer Pete Seeger for 20 years
Vanessa Thorpe, The Guardian
The campaigning singer Pete Seeger, composer of classic American folk tunes including If I Had a Hammer and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, was spied on by FBI agents for more than two decades because he wrote a protest letter as a young man concerned about plans to deport tens of thousands of Japanese American citizens at the end of the second world war.
A vast file on Seeger was released to the independent American news website Mother Jones in response to a request under the freedom of information act. It reveals that the bureau’s spies first took an interest in the singer in 1943. Seeger, a 23-year-old army private at the time, had written denouncing a plan for mass deportation drafted by the California chapter of the American Legion, a veterans’ association.
“If you bar from citizenship descendants of Japanese, why not descendants of English? After all, we once fought with them too. America is great and strong as she is because we have so far been a haven to all oppressed. I felt sick at heart to read of this matter,” he wrote. …
- The Two Big Political Mistakes of Obama’s Presidency
David Morris, AlterNet
Just Two? Really??
Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac
‘Stoner sloth’ anti-drug campaign gets reality check as medical experts walk away
Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian
A leading drug research centre has distanced itself from the NSW government’s bizarre “stoner sloth” campaign, which attempts to warn teenagers against the dangers of sustained marijuana use by depicting them as disturbingly oversized versions of the South American mammal.
In a pyrrhic victory for the NSW government, the stoner sloth campaign has gone viral but the anti-drug message appears to have lost out to the internet’s dual love of mocking failed ad campaigns, and sloths.
The campaign was initially linked to the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPI), which has responded with a statement saying their involvement was limited to providing an initial basic analysis of other anti-cannabis campaigns, and some general recommendations. …