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 16th
The Boston Tea Party takes place; World War Two’s Battle of the Bulge begins; Ludwig van Beethoven is born.
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
DUPONT HAS SPREAD ITS POLLUTION AROUND THE WORLD. NOW IT WANTS TO FILTER YOUR CONTAMINATED DRINKING WATER.
Sharon Lerner, The Intercept
DUPONT OPENED A factory in Saudi Arabia last week that will produce reverse osmosis water filters. The filters use ultra-thin membranes to remove water impurities, including PFAS — chemicals made and used by DuPont that have caused widespread water contamination around the world.
Reverse osmosis is one of the technologies that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends for reducing water contamination from PFAS chemicals, which are associated with cancers, immune dysfunction, reproductive issues, and other health problems. According to the agency’s website, reverse osmosis “membranes are typically more than 90 percent effective at removing a wide range of PFAS, including shorter chain PFAS.”
DuPont Water Solutions, a division of DowDuPont that focuses on water filtration, opened the plant with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, on December 3. “Milestone achievement improves direct access to potable and industrial water solutions,” announced a DuPont press release about the plant, which is expected to begin production early next year.
An executive from DuPont Water Solutions who was also at the ribbon-cutting, H.P. Nanda, emphasized the company’s role in cleaning up water contamination. “We remain committed to delivering solutions that help purify and reclaim water sources, especially in areas facing water scarcity and resource challenges.”
But Al Telsey, an attorney suing DuPont over massive contamination from PFOA and more than 1,000 other chemicals in New Jersey, is one of the many people contending with PFAS contamination from DuPont who may be more focused on the company’s role putting the chemicals into water than removing them.
“These guys are polluters, not water cleaners,” said Telsey, who nevertheless acknowledged the business acumen involved in getting into the filtration business.
“DuPont has learned the art of making money coming and going,” said Telsey. “They profited off the environmental contamination and now can profit on cleaning it up. It’s quite a feat.”
ACTIVISTS FOUND GUILTY OF TERRORISM-RELATED OFFENSE FOR STOPPING U.K. MIGRANT DEPORTATIONS
Rebecca Nathanson, The Intercept
THE GUILTY VERDICT arrived around lunchtime on December 10 — Human Rights Day, which this year marked the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It signaled the end of a nine-week trial and three days of jury deliberations in Chelmsford Crown Court, about 30 miles northeast of London. More than a year and a half after the 15 defendants had locked themselves around a deportation charter flight at London’s Stansted Airport, successfully stopping it from taking off, the defendants were convicted of intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome, a terrorism-related offense with a potential life sentence.
Known as the Stansted 15, the defendants had all pleaded not guilty to the charge, which falls under the United Kingdom’s Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, an obscure law intended to fight terrorism. The activists were originally charged with aggravated trespass, but that charge was later upgraded to intentional disruption of services at an aerodrome — under the “endangering safety at an aerodrome” section of the act — and seen by many as a disproportionate response to peaceful protest. Now, the guilty verdict has sent a chilling message to those who may wish to follow in the Stansted 15’s footsteps. Amnesty International, which had been observing the trial, tweeted, “The rights and freedoms of all of us are being eroded. The UK should not be targeting human rights defenders in this way.”
In a statement released minutes after the verdict was announced, the defendants wrote, “We are guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm. The real crime is the government’s cowardly, inhumane and barely legal deportation flights and the unprecedented use of terror law to crack down on peaceful protest. We must challenge this shocking use of draconian legislation, and continue to demand an immediate end to these secretive deportation charter flights and a full independent public inquiry into the government’s ‘hostile environment’.”
The Crown Prosecution Service published a press release about the verdict, outlining the disruption to airport operations, such as delayed and rerouted flights, caused by the Stansted 15’s action. Judith Reed, a deputy chief crown prosecutor, stated, “The [Crown Prosecution Service] worked with the police to build a strong case which reflected the criminality of the defendant’s actions, regardless of their motivation.” Tony Badenoch, who represented the prosecution in court, declined to comment.
- The Jim Hightower Column They Don’t Want You to Read
- Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’
Something to think about over coffee prozac
WESTFORD, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man who is in an ongoing dispute with his town has let officials know exactly how he feels by erecting a large wooden sculpture of a fist with the middle finger raised on his front lawn.
Ted Pelkey said Thursday that he has been trying for about 10 years to move his truck repair and recycling business to his property but has been unable to get a permit. He paid about $3,000 to have the roughly 7-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) sculpture carved with a chain saw. In November, he put it on a 16-foot (4.8-meter) pole with lights where it can be seen from the road.
“I wasn’t trying to get fame out of it at all…. I’m just mad,” he said. “I just got pushed in the corner, and it’s just I’m done with it.”
Since the sculpture went up, people have been stopping by during the day and even night to take photos of it and with it.
“Oh, God. It’s crazy,” Pelkey said. “People are out there at 11 o’clock at night taking pictures with their Santa hats on. It’s wonderful, I think.”
Late Thursday morning, three people pulled off of Route 128 to snap photos within an hour, including a woman from Maine who was in Vermont for work.
Westford Select Board Chairwoman Allison Hope said she could not comment on Pelkey’s case. He has appealed a recent decision.
“So we’re in the middle of an appeal that’s been going on for a while,” she said. “So I want to make sure that we use the process that Mr. Pelkey has a right to avail himself of, and I don’t want to mess with that process.”
She added that the town office has “a really great, really professional staff.”
“In terms of other folks, they do a really wonderful job no matter who comes to talk to them about permit applications,” she added. “They want to get to yes, but they also need to follow the zoning regulations that we have in town.”