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.
(Truth be told, friends, we're really not that disorganized; the fact that we've managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we're disorganized, right? Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)
This Day in History
Breakfast News - Wake & Bake Edition
But just as the inaugural class of legal pot capitalists begins to rise, there are more than a few who see big business interests as anathema to the spirit of drug policy reform.
“My greatest apprehension is that profit, and only profit, will become the main determining factor in how cannabis is distributed,” said Steve DeAngelo, co-founder and executive director of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in California.
DeAngelo says that while he understands that the mainstreaming of marijuana sales will inevitably lead some to seek wild profits, he fears for the day when weed will be sold not by an informed specialist but by an indifferent cashier at 7-Eleven or Wal-Mart. To him, the not-for-profit model developed by Harborside, which puts the needs of his patients ahead of profit—in the form of free patient services and charitable donations to the community—would be much better.
I live in Washington State, where marijuana is not illegal anymore. I'm not exactly sure if it's legal because as of this writing, I can't mosey up to the green shop for an ounce of Blue Dream like my friend, Colorado is the Shiznit could, if she were so inclined. I would still need a medical card for that. Apparently, this will change in a few months but as far as I know, it is illegal to sell it (if you aren't a licensed MMJ provider,) and illegal to buy it, but it's perfectly fine to possess and smoke it. So smoke it we must.
Oh, speaking of Colorado is the Shiznit, check out her recent diary, Being Stoned is Good for the Crime Rate. Well, except for that guy who allegedly killed his wife after consuming some edibles. Tragic story, to be sure but that is certainly the exception and not the rule. Anyway, she and I both live in legal states and affectionately rib one other about which is better (and our legal state rivalry drives psychodrew crazy!), then the Seahawks won the Super Bowl so our contest ended for awhile. But this next story actually made me jealous and yeah, Seattle has an openly gay mayor and a bone fide socialist on the City Council, but after you read the next tidbit, you'll agree that Colorado is cooler than Washington.
Colorado, it Really is the Shiznit!
In what seems the natural next step to legalized pot, a Colorado company has brought forward a new vending machine that cuts out the middle man for marijuana sales and gives buyers a speedier, after-hours means of purchasing the drug.
It’s called the Zazz machine, and it’s produced by American Green, a company run by Stephen Shearin, United Press International reported. It made its debut at a dispensary in Eagle-Vail, Colo., at the Herbal Elements shop. The dispensary, in turn, set up the machine outside a local barbecue restaurant in Avon, UPI said.
“We’re looking forward to using the Zazz machine to easily track all this inventory … we’re going to eliminate the middle man,” said Herbal Elements owner Greg Honan, UPI reported. “It’ll go straight from the bud-tender right into our machine. There’s no room for theft by patients, employees … there’s no way to lose track of the inventory.”
As potential 2016 candidates gather their policy advisors and begin to isolate their views on key issues, they may want to consider one above the rest — weed.
You can make stoner jokes all you want, but marijuana policy stands to affect just as many Americans as immigration policy does in the coming years. And while Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have made their views on border control clear, the fast-changing weed landscape (a full 54 percent of Americans now favor legalization) has left Republicans and Democrats all over the map when it comes to toking. Some have been altogether mum on the topic — the last time Hillary Clinton spoke publicly about weed policy was during the 2008 campaign.
In 2012, it was laughable to think that Colorado would legalize recreational weed. Less than two years later, 75 percent of Americans think legalization nationwide is inevitable. Even President Obama has deemed pot no more dangerous than alcohol. Suddenly, a majority of Americans are comfortable with their neighbors smoking pot, and politicians will have to decide whether or not they should embrace that or take a more cautious position. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tells The Wall Street Journal, "All of a sudden the ground is shifting, and it's uncomfortable and complicated. Marijuana has become an issue that candidates have got to pay attention to." Back in October, The New Republic's Nate Cohn imagined how candidates could use the issue against each other in the primaries: "Many candidates will have incentives to use the issue, whether it’s a cultural conservative using marijuana to hurt Rand Paul among evangelicals in Iowa, or a liberal trying to stoke a progressive revolt against Clinton’s candidacy."
Read the entire article here to see various candidates' positions on weed.
Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s tough to predict what direction Americans will take marijuana laws in the next decade, but he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the success of the ongoing experiments with legalizing recreational weed in Washington and Colorado.
“I think, so far, I’m cautiously optimistic,” Holder told the Huffington Post. “But as I indicated to both governors, we will be monitoring the progress of those efforts and if we conclude that they are not being done in an appropriate way, we reserve our rights to file lawsuits.”
Washington and Colorado are testing grounds for marijuana legislation – approved in both states by a 2012 ballot initiative – that directly contradicts federal laws. The Department of Justice began relaxing how it handles that tension and issued a set of guidelines in February meant to expand banking access to legal pot shops in the two states.
Sativa, Indica or Both?
Back in the olden days, growing up in Seattle, what was available in terms of pot were what we called "lids," which came in plastic sandwich bags. You could get a "four finger" lid for about $10. But you and your pals had to smoke an awful lot of it just to get a buzz, after picking out all the stem bits and seeds, and be worried about whether it was contaminated with paraquat. But by the late 70's, this new stuff was coming out called "buds" and it had all these orange hairs in it, and wow, what a different those orange hairs made!
Now there are tons of strains available with catchy names like "Blue Dream," "Green Crack," "Purple Kush," "Diesel," and on and on and one with the clever and colorful names. Many of these are blends of the two distinct strains of pot, indica and sativa.
Here's an interesting discussion on the two different strains:
Indica vs. Sativa: Myth or Fact?
“What’s the difference between an indica and sativa?” These are typically the first words of a budding cannabis connoisseur. You may recall the room spinning around you when you first beheld your dispensary’s Great Wall of Weed, made up of varieties like Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Blue Dream, Chemdawg, White Widow, and many more. Today, the number of strains falls somewhere in the thousands and multiplying with every cross-bred plant.
In contradiction to Leafly teachings, a recent article from LA Weekly refutes that different strains produce relatively universal effects. Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D. in chemistry and party-pooping, goes as far as debunking the widely embraced cannabis creed: indicas tend to induce sedating effects and sativas are more uplifting.
“The data shows that indica and sativa is just morphology,” Raber says, “It's a misperception that indica will put you to sleep or that sativa is more energetic.”
Some people will swear up and down that indica will cause "couch lock" and severe munchies and that sativa is the "daytime" smoke that'll help you get through menial chores, like folding laundry. But with the blends, it really is hard to tell.
What is your experience? Please share in the comments below.
Is Walmart Going to Start Selling Marijuana?
You may have read this on the internet, but according to the Epoch Times, it's a hoax.
An article stating that Walmart is going to sell marijuana in Colorado and Washington state is fake.
The “report” was published on satire website The National Report, which doesn’t publish real news.
The article reads, “This September, the world’s largest retailer may also become America’s biggest drug dealer, after Walmart revealed on Monday their plans to begin selling marijuana in stores in both Colorado and Washington State, where recreational marijuana has been legalized.
“Walmart hopes to begin selling recreational marijuana in their Colorado stores beginning in September, and in Washington State beginning in January. They plan to sell marijuana in varying amounts, as well as marijuana-laced baked goods and paraphernalia, including bongs, pipes, papers, and more.”
However, The National Report had a disclaimer, saying it’s not a real news website. The disclaimer was removed recently.
Even if they did, I still wouldn't shop there.
The high drama seemed to stoke a sense of theatrics in the protesters. At a press conference on April 14, they invoked battles against the British and shouted quotes from the Scottish revolutionary William Wallace, memorialized in the Hollywood blockbuster Braveheart. The men who rode to Bundy’s defense got to play the hero in the movies of their minds; the threat is that the next climax doesn’t have a peaceful ending.
Bundy “would probably rather be a martyr than a profitable rancher,” says Shea, the former BLM director.
“Eventually, you have to draw the line. We go through these sad episodes where fanaticism has to be brought under legal control. And inevitably, somebody is killed.”
The fact that so many on the right are valorizing Bundy—or, at minimum, tiptoeing around his obvious nutbaggery—is a testament to the enduring power of Waco and Ruby Ridge among conservatives. The rest of us may barely remember them, but they're totemic events on the right, fueling Glenn-Beckian fantasies of black helicopters and jackbooted federal thugs for more than two decades now. Mainstream conservatives have pandered to this stuff for years because it was convenient, and that's brought them to where they are today: too scared to stand up to the vigilantes they created and speak the simple truth. They complain endlessly about President Obama's "lawlessness," but this is lawlessness. It's appalling that so many of them aren't merely afraid to plainly say so, but actively seem to be egging it on.
Last Tuesday, as he started to read more and more about the situation on the Drudge Report, Jerry DeLemus decided to give Bundy a call.
They spent more than an hour on the phone. “What do you need?” said DeLemus, who was calling from some 2,700 miles away in Dover, N.H.
“I need help,” Bundy told him. “I need bodies.”
“I’m coming,” DeLemus said.
It was as simple as that, DeLemus told Business Insider on Tuesday. Soon, he began the long drive in his truck. His son; his friend, Jack; and Jack’s son accompanied him on the cross-country trip. All in all, it took 41 hours across a three-day span. They began driving at 5:30 a.m. Thursday and made it there by Saturday afternoon. They barely took any breaks.
This Wednesday, DeLemus remains in Nevada. He is now running the makeshift “militia” of conservatives protecting the ranch, some of whom are armed with handguns and rifles. DeLemus said about 100 conservative activists are still there, three days after federal agents returned hundreds of cattle they had taken from the ranch.
A 19-year-old Canadian became the first person to be arrested in relation to the Heartbleed security breach.
Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes from London, Ontario was accused of hacking into the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA)'s website last Friday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
* * *
The RCMP, which has been investigating the breach for four days, charged Mr Solis-Reyes with "unauthorized use of a computer" and "mischief in relation to data".
Security analysts, however, have discovered that Android Jelly Bean version 4.1.1 is being used in millions of smartphones and tablets, including popular models made by Samsung Electronics Company, HTC Corporation and other manufacturers.
Google data shows that 34 percent of Android devices use variations of the 4.1 software. On the other hand, Google said less than 10 percent of active devices are vulnerable to Heartbleed. Over 900 million Android devices are active worldwide.
Google spokesman Christopher Katsaros confirmed there are millions of Android 4.1.1 devices. He pointed to an earlier statement by the company in which Google said it has assessed the SSL vulnerability and applied patches to key Google services.
Experts said there is no easy solution for Android gadgets with the Heartbleed bug. Google has provided a security patch but has said it's up to handset makers and wireless carriers to update the devices.
After years of studied silence on the government’s secret and controversial use of security vulnerabilities, the White House has finally acknowledged that the NSA and other agencies exploit some of the software holes they uncover, rather than disclose them to vendors to be fixed.
* * *
But Obama included a major loophole in his decision, which falls far short of recommendations made by a presidential review board last December: According to Obama, any flaws that have “a clear national security or law enforcement” use can be kept secret and exploited.
This, of course, gives the government wide latitude to remain silent on critical flaws like the recent Heartbleed vulnerability if the NSA, FBI, or other government agencies can justify their exploitation.
A so-called zero-day vulnerability is one that’s unknown to the software vendor and for which no patch therefore exists. The U.S. has long wielded zero-day exploits for espionage and sabotage purposes, but has never publicly stated its policy on their use. Stuxnet, a digital weapon used by the U.S. and Israel to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment program, used five zero-day exploits to spread.
Nato has made clear it will not intervene militarily in Ukraine, which is not a Nato member, despite Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and a buildup of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.
It is focusing instead on boosting temporarily its presence in eastern Europe in a drive to reassure allies, such as the ex-Soviet Republics in the Baltics, that Nato would protect them if they ever faced Russian aggression.
The United States and other allies have already sent more planes and ships to the region but Nato ambassadors adopted further steps today that will maintain a bigger Nato presence in eastern Europe until at least the end of this year.
The casualness of this propaganda – as it spreads across the U.S. media spectrum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Washington Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched journalism but it is reckless malfeasance jeopardizing the lives of many Ukrainians and the future of the planet.
Indeed, in my four-plus decades in journalism, I have never seen a more thoroughly biased and misleading performance by the major U.S. news media. Even during the days of Ronald Reagan – when much of the government’s modern propaganda structure was created – there was more independence in major news outlets. There were media stampedes off the reality cliff during George H.W. Bush’s Persian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demonstrably false claims that were readily swallowed by the big U.S. news outlets.
But there is something utterly Orwellian in the current coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including accusing others of “propaganda” when their accounts – though surely not perfect – are much more honest and more accurate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing.
There’s also the added risk that this latest failure by the U.S. press corps is occurring on the border of Russia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the United States – could exterminate all life on the planet. The biased U.S. news coverage is now feeding into political demands to send U.S. military aid to Ukraine’s coup regime.
It is aggravating to see our little banty Rooster chicken-hawk Stephen Harper strut his stuff while he spouts the false corporatist philosophy about freedom and democracy in the Ukraine.
What it is really about – as I have already mentioned several times – is US hegemonic control of global finances and corporate control of a country’s resources in order to harvest the wealth for the empire’s centre.
Cargill has a deal already signed that would position them to control large tracts of land for agricultural purposes – but you can be assured it is not for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.
Chevron has been awarded a large fracking contract, another step in corporate control of global energy resources and a partial means to counteract Russia’s large share of gas and oil wealth vis a vis Europe. Behind Victoria “F**ck the EU” Naland as she spoke at the National Press Club in Washington about the Ukraine was a large Chevron logo.
Embarrassed and irritated by Edward Snowden's leaks, Obama charged last year at a press conference that Snowden was presenting a false picture of NSA by releasing parts of its work piecemeal: "Rather than have a trunk come out here and a leg come out there," he said, "let's just put the whole elephant out there so people know exactly what they're looking at. ... America is not interested in spying on ordinary people," he assured us. The government, he went on, is not "listening in on people's phone calls or inappropriately reading people's emails."
Six days later, a Washington Post headline declared: "NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year." In an internal audit in May 2012 of its DC-area spy centers, the agency itself found 2,776 "incidences" of NSA overstepping its legal authority. As the American Civil Liberties Union noted, surveillance laws themselves "are extraordinarily permissive," so it's doubly troubling that the agency is surging way past what it is already allowed to do. The ACLU adds that these reported incidents are not simply cases of one person's rights being violated — but thousands of Americans being snared, totally without cause, in the NSA's indiscriminate, computer-driven dragnet.
The agency's surveillance net stretches so wide that it is inherently abusive, even though its legal authority to spy on Americans is quite limited. U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the sponsor of the PATRIOT Act (which NSA cites as its super-vac authority), said that Congress intended that it should apply only to cases directly tied to national security investigations. No lawmaker, he said, meant that government snoops should be able to conduct a wholesale grab of Americans' phone, email and other personal records and then store them in huge databases to be searched at will.
The fig leaf of counterterrorism, which has supplanted anticommunism to the same end of habituating the American people to still more invidious extremes of wealth differentiation and resulting class power, is still, however, not sufficient for the stabilization of capitalism at this level of intense concentration; for needed as well is the popularization of Reaction and Repression. Obama is the man for the job. His race —thanks to liberal guilt and political correctness—alone saves him from critical scrutiny (neatly played out, as though making Reagan’s Teflon presidency amateurish by comparison), as he, like none before him, integrates capitalist, military, intelligence, and media resources, i.e., the communities represented by the elites of each, into a finely-honed authoritarian backdrop for manifesting and executing national power. And yet, liberals slobber at his feet, their moral bankruptcy and lack of political wisdom and will nowhere more evident.
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The Posse Comitatus Act is the United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) that was passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1981. Its intent (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) was to limit the powers of Federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce the state laws.
The Act, as modified in 1981, refers to the Armed Forces of the United States. It does not apply to the National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state's governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is also not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act, primarily because the Coast Guard has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.
Meme of the Day
Did you say "breakfast?"
When I go out to breakfast, I rarely order the Eggs Benedict because it usually comes on an under-toasted English muffin that's chewy, unbuttered and flavorless. I prefer using a nice thick slice of toasted ciabatta or French bread for Eggs Benedict, like what is shown in this picture.
Did you know you can poach an egg in the microwave? It's true. Carefully drop an egg into a microwaveable teacup or ramekin, and add water to cover but not more! What's tricky is the timing, as microwaves to vary, but the rule of thumb is one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon, and pat dry. It's that easy. Try it with Julia Child's Easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce. If you want to get fancy, use some pancetta or prosciutto instead of canadian bacon. If you're vegetarian, you can use a tomato round or cooked spinach. Bon appetite!
This psychedelic favorite dovetails nicely with the theme of this edition of The Breakfast Club, don't you think? Weed for your ears.
From the Saving the Goat for Last Department
DeadHead continues to rankle! He really got my goat this week, and I don't know where he's keeping it. Maybe he's mad about his double minus demotion, or maybe he is just feeling cranky 'cause the sun's starting to come out more often. In any event, he really did get my goat, so please, dear readers, please keep an eye out for My Pet Goat in the comment threads and if you see it, tell me where I can pick it up. I miss my goat.