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 March 12th
Hitler takes Austria; FDR’s first fireside chat; Gacy convicted; Girl Scouts predecessor founded; Les Miserables opens.
Breakfast Tune Annie Staninec – Banjo Pickin’ Girl
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
Before Barack Obama left office, he released 10 detainees from Guantánamo to Oman. Among them was Abdul Zahir, a 45-year-old man from Afghanistan. Zahir was detained at Guantánamo for 14 years, even though the US government later admitted that he was wrongfully held. He was mistaken for another man who shared his nickname, Abdul Bari. Zahir’s story exemplifies the cruelty of Guantánamo and the policies of indefinite detention and torture, which will, in all likelihood, continue with Trump as president.
Like every Guantánamo detainee, Zahir was tortured. His military defense lawyer, US Air Force Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas told Truthout that after Zahir’s capture, US forces “gave him the treatment that they thought every Brown person, every Muslim person they captured deserved — they tortured him.”
Zahir was tortured by US forces at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo, where he was transferred on October 27, 2002. …
Under pressure from tech companies, ‘Fair Repair’ bill stalls in Nebraska
Olivia Solon, The Guardian
A quest taken up by farmers and independent repair shops to gain the rights to service manuals, diagnostic tools and parts for high-tech equipment has stalled in Nebraska, after lawmakers, under pressure from corporations such as Apple, shelved it.
The “Fair Repair” bill was designed to give owners increased rights over the software-embedded equipment and electronic items they purchase. Farmers have been pushing for such legislation so they can diagnose and fix faults in their increasingly computer-controlled tractors and combine harvesters, in the same way that car owners can do. To do this, they need diagnostic tools and manuals that the manufacturers keep closely guarded.
Nebraska was perceived as a test case in the US, where seven other states – including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Minnesota and Kansas – have similar bills. …
Another Sign Just Came in That Tar Sands Operations Are on Life Support
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday that it is selling off the majority of its tar sands assets, as its chief executive noted dwindling “societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it.”
Of the $7.25 billion deal with energy company Canadian Natural, Shell said in a statement that it will “sell all of its in-situ and undeveloped oil sands interests in Canada and reduce its share in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) from 60 percent to 10 percent.”
As InsideClimate News noted, the sale is “one of the biggest in a series of steps by multinational companies to turn away from the tar sands, among the most expensive and carbon-intensive sources of oil.” …
SENATE DEMOCRATS BLOW BEST CHANCE TO DEMAND SPECIAL RUSSIA PROSECUTOR
Jon Schwarz, The Intercept
DEMOCRATS ON THE Senate Judiciary Committee briefly possessed some power to nudge Rod Rosenstein, President Trump’s nominee for deputy attorney general, to publicly commit to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate any Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Their opportunity came — and went — during Rosenstein’s confirmation hearing Tuesday.
It’s true Democrats hold only nine of the 20 seats on the committee, and would only have been able to condition Rosenstein’s approval on his willingness to appoint a special prosecutor if they had stood together and persuaded at least one Republican to join them. But had the parties been reversed, the Republican Party would have formed a united phalanx to demand that Rosenstein, as a patriotic American, must look beyond party and promise to give the country a truly independent, non-partisan investigation. There would have been press conferences with all nine senators wearing flag pins and looking stern, a major media offensive asking which Democrat on the committee cared enough about this nation to join them, and possibly the composition of some songs about brave deputy attorneys general.
Instead, the Democrats only managed some grumbling and a few uncoordinated questions at the hearing. …
As Trump Neuters Regulatory Commissions, Chuck Schumer Needs to Decide If He Will Fight or Give In
David Dayen, The Intercept
A SPATE OF VACANCIES will soon turn the federal regulatory commissions that police financial trades, telecommunications, energy, and consumer protection into key political battlegrounds, with Donald Trump on one side and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the other.
Instead of a single director, the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission each have five members, nominated by the president. But by statute, no more than three members can be from the president’s party. The Federal Election Commission’s six members are supposed to be evenly split. This is supposed to give some weight to diverse viewpoints.
As the Trump era begins, active members at the commissions have dwindled. Ann Ravel, a Democrat, just quit the FEC, leaving that agency one member short. The FCC has only three of its five seats filled; the FTC, SEC and CFTC have only two. The FERC’s two members do not constitute a quorum, meaning it cannot approve dozens of energy infrastructure projects or enforce several energy-related laws. The commissioners have had to delegate these operations to staff. …
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Blames Millennials for Government Leaks
Zaid Jilani, The Intercept
FORMER CIA DIRECTOR Michael Hayden told the BBC this week that he blames millennials for the government’s secrets being leaked to the public.
“In order to do this kind of stuff, we have to recruit from a certain demographic,” he said, referring to government surveillance. “And I don’t mean to judge them at all, but this group of millennials and related groups simply have different understandings of the words loyalty, secrecy, and transparency than certainly my generation did.”
He specifically cited whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden and speculated that whoever recently gave the CIA spy tool files to WikiLeaks was also likely a millennial. …
- The Rehabilitation of George W. Bush, War Criminal
- The New Feudalism
SHARMINI PERIES – MICHAEL HUDSON
Something to think about over coffee prozac
While Donald Trump decries any media outlet that writes a critical story about him as “fake news,” actual “fake news” websites that completely fabricate stories are still churning out content and finding new readers.
The creator of UndergroundNewsReport.com, Florida native James McDaniel, recently announced that in just over a week after its launch, his website already received over 1 million views.
And he had Trump supporters to thank for reaching such a milestone.
UndergroundNewsReport exclusively featured hoax stories, usually ridiculous reports about Hillary Clinton (arrest imminent!), Barack Obama (calling for Trump’s assassination!) and Elizabeth Warren (Soviet spy!).
One story about Whoopi Goldberg supposedly mocking the widow of the Navy SEAL killed last month in Yemen went viral on Facebook.
In a statement on his website, McDaniel thanked Trump supporters for their gullibility: “To my surprise, the Trump masses embraced my stories as fact, almost universally. It seemed that there wasn’t anything I could write that was too wild or outrageous to be believed by this particular audience.”
He told PolitiFact in an interview posted today that he started the website just for kicks, and found great success in fooling Trump voters: …