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 17th
Wright brothers conduct the first successful manned, powered flight of the airplane. U.S. test-fires the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile; Simon Bolivar dies in Colombia; television’s Tiny Tim marries his fiancee, Miss Vicky.
Breakfast Tune Backline Bluegrass~”I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
The United States Is Now as Unequal as Russia. And That’s Before the Tax Bill.
Noah Lanard, Mother Jones
When it comes to income equality, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is probably not the company most Americans hope to keep. Nevertheless, both countries’ elites now capture roughly the same share of national wealth.
The new data comes from a comprehensive survey of global inequality released Thursday by the World Inequality Lab. The report, whose authors include renowned economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, brings together the work of more than 100 researchers. Its findings come as Republicans prepare to pass a tax bill that follows the same trickle-down philosophy that the report says is responsible for much of the rise in inequality in the United States.
The United States and Europe once had similar level of inequality, the 2018 World Inequality Report finds. Today, the United States is closer to sub-Saharan Africa than Europe in the share of income that goes to the top 10 percent. The authors explain that America’s “massive educational inequalities,” tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and surging salaries for executives are largely to blame for the shift. …
An Activist Stands Accused of Firing a Gun at Standing Rock. It Belonged to Her Lover – an FBI Informant.
Will Parrish, The Intercept
AS LAW ENFORCEMENT officers advanced in a U-shaped sweep line down North Dakota Highway 1806 last October, pushing back Dakota Access opponents from a camp in the pipeline’s path, two sheriff’s deputies broke formation to tackle a 37-year-old Oglala Sioux woman named Red Fawn Fallis. As Fallis struggled under the weight of her arresting officers, who were attempting to put her in handcuffs, three gunshots allegedly went off alongside her. According to the arrest affidavit, deputies lunged toward her left hand and wrested a gun away from her.
Well before that moment, Fallis had been caught in a sprawling intelligence operation that sought to disrupt and discredit opponents of the pipeline. The Intercept has learned that the legal owner of the gun Fallis is alleged to have fired was a paid FBI informant named Heath Harmon, a 46-year-old member of the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. For at least two months, Harmon took part in the daily life of DAPL resistance camps and gained access to movement participants, even becoming Fallis’s romantic partner several weeks prior to the alleged shooting on October 27, 2016.
In an interview with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, a recording of which was obtained by The Intercept, Harmon reported that his work for the FBI involved monitoring the Standing Rock camps for evidence of “bomb-making materials, stuff like that.” Asked what he discovered, Harmon made no mention of protesters harboring dangerous weapons, but he acknowledged storing his own weapon in a trailer at the water protectors’ Rosebud Camp: the same .38 revolver Fallis is accused of firing. …
Leaked Documents Expose How Corporations Use Spies to Subvert People’s Movements Worldwide
Jake Johnson, Common Dreams
That governments deploy undercover law enforcement officers to infiltrate, gather information on, and subvert protest movements has long been common knowledge. Less well-known, however, is the extent to which some of the world’s most profitable businesses have hired private spies to keep tabs on political movements they perceive as a threat to their power and profits.
Hundreds of pages of newly leaked documents—reported on for the first time Tuesday by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)—provide an unprecedented glimpse into this mysterious world of “corporate spies,” who have been hired by major companies like the German carmaker Porsche, the U.S.-based manufacturing giant Caterpillar, and the Royal Bank of Scotland to monitor anti-war demonstrations, protests against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and environmental campaigns against the destruction of the planet.
“The leaked documents suggest the use of secretive corporate security firms to gather intelligence about political campaigners has been widespread,” report the Guardian’s Rob Evans and Meirion Jones. …
NYT Prints Government-Funded Propaganda About Government-Funded Propaganda
Adam Johnson, F.A.I.R. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
An op-ed by the president of the right-wing human rights group Freedom House, published in the New York Times Monday (12/11/17)—later boosted by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker—warned of the menace of “commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites and propaganda,” and their negative effects on democracy. Missing from its analysis was any account of how the government that funds their organization—86 percent of Freedom House’s budget comes from the US government, primarily the State Department and USAID—uses social media to stir unrest and undermine governments worldwide.
What the reader was left with was a very selective, curated impression that online social media manipulation is something done exclusively by brown and black people and those dastardly Slavs. The column condemns “surreptitious techniques pioneered in Moscow and Beijing to use the internet to drown out dissent and undermine free elections,” going on to cite online skullduggery in the Philippines, Kenya, Turkey, Mexico and Iran.
Missing from the piece by Freedom House’s Michael Abramowitz is any mention—much less discussion—of numerous reports detailing online manipulation by US and allied governments and Western PR firms.
No mention of the Defense Department’s $100 million program Operation Earnest Voice software that “creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda.” No mention of the US Air Force’s 2010 solicitation of “persona management” software designed to create hundreds of sock puppets, “replete with background, history, supporting details and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent.” No mention of USAID (the same government agency, incidentally, that funds Freedom House) secretly creating an entire social media platform to “stir unrest” in Cuba. No mention of the US State Department’s newly-created $160 million Global Engagement Center, targeting English-language audiences with unattributed Facebook videos combating, in part, “Russia propaganda.” …
- How you can be tracked even with your GPS turned off
- Democrats need an agenda — and they need it now
- The DNC’s day of reckoning is here
Sophia A. McClennen
Something to think about over coffee prozac
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City native Gayla Peevey has welcomed another hippopotamus to the city’s zoo, more than 60 years after her song about wanting one for Christmas helped the facility purchase its first.
The singer was on hand as the 26-year-old pygmy hippopotamus Francesca made her first Oklahoma public appearance since moving from the San Diego Zoo.
In 1953, the then 10-year-old Peevey sang the novelty hit, “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.” It led to a statewide fund drive in which children donated dimes to purchase and bring a pachyderm to the zoo.
Peevey also was there in December 1953 when the Nile hippopotamus Mathilda arrived.
Francesca joins 43-year-old Wolee in the zoo’s pachyderm exhibit.
Pygmy hippos are listed as endangered with fewer than 3,000 in the wild.