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Jun 11 2014

The Breakfast Club: 6-11-2014

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. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

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.

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This Day in History

Breakfast News

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The Bowe Bergdahl Lesson: There’s No Room for Conscience in American-Style Warfare

The United States has been at war — major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions — nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began.  That’s more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.

Given the historical record, those conclusions should be staring us in the face.  They are, however, the words that can’t be said in a country committed to a military-first approach to the world, a continual build-up of its forces, an emphasis on pioneering work in the development and deployment of the latest destructive technology, and a repetitious cycling through styles of war from full-scale invasions and occupations to counterinsurgency, proxy wars, and back again.

So here are five straightforward lessons — none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country — that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare:…

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Obama’s Cold War Rhetoric Is Outdated-And Masks Ukraine’s Real Crises

With his speech on foreign policy at West Point falling on deaf ears, and the scandal of the Bergdahl/Taliban exchange growing, President Obama decided to prop-up his foreign policy credentials by resorting to what I would call the “Charlie Wilson solution”: maintain your political relevance by getting tough with Russia. As opposed to Israel, Arab countries, or China– criticism of which can land you into economic or political trouble–Russia is always available. Furthermore, what can be a better place to exhibit one’s anti-Russian credentials than Poland, the country where suspicion of all things Russian goes back to the 17th century, the time when Russia had overshadowed Poland as the dominant power in Eastern Europe. Having his political career shaped in Chicago, whose metropolitan area boasts 1.5 million Polish descendants, Obama knows it well.

With its invocations of such concepts as “freedom,” “democracy,” and “moral and physical courage” intended to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Poland’s liberation from Soviet Communism, Obama hit all the proper Cold War notes speaking in Poland, striving to conjure the mood of President Reagan’s famous 1987 West Berlin Speech: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” delivered at the height of the Cold War. Only he didn’t. That type of rhetoric might still work well in Warsaw or Chicago, but for the rest of the world, realities on the ground are very much different from June 1987.

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How the Private Equity Industry Is Looting the Middle Class

A few weeks ago, a top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission reported on what he called a “remarkable” amount of potentially illegal behavior in the private equity industry — aka the industry that buys up, changes and sells off smaller companies.

       In its evaluation of private equity firms, the SEC official declared that half of all the reviews discovered “violations of law or material weaknesses in controls.” The announcement followed an earlier Bloomberg News report on how the agency now believes “a majority of private equity firms inflate fees and expenses charged to companies in which they hold stakes.”

       At first glance, many probably dismiss this news as just an example of plutocrats bilking plutocrats. But that interpretation ignores how such malfeasance affects the wider economy.

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Malawi Mouse Boys seek to sing their way out of poverty

The four young men scrape a living hawking barbecued mice on the side of a Malawi highway, but that is just a day job for the Malawi Mouse Boys — who could soon be singing their way out of poverty.

They hunt field mice — a delicacy in Malawi — to grill and sell as kebab snacks to motorists on the busy north-south highway connecting the largest cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe.

But when business is slow, they bring out their instruments — a rudimentary guitar crafted from scrap metal and crude homemade percussion rattles — to play home-grown gospel tunes.

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What devoured this great white shark?

Australian researchers are hunting for what they call a “mystery sea monster” that devoured a 9-foot-long great white shark.

A tracking device previously planted on the shark was found washed up on a beach, and after analysis, it showed that it had suddenly undergone a rapid increase in temperature and a swift 1,900-foot (580-meter) dive beneath the waves.

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The Daily Wiki

Fief

A fee or fief (Latin: feudum) was the central element of feudalism and consisted of heritable property or rights granted by an overlord to a vassal (or, specifically, a feoffee) who held it in fealty (or “in fee”) in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service, usually given by the personal ceremonies of homage and fealty. The fees were often lands or revenue-producing real property held in feudal land tenure: these are typically known as fiefs or fiefdoms. However, not only land but anything of value could be held in fee, including governmental office, rights of exploitation such as hunting or fishing, monopolies in trade, and tax farms.

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Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Fairness is what justice really is. ~Potter Stewart

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Breakfast Tunes

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Stupid Shit by LaEscapee

So We All have Warts

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