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.
This Day in History
Start of World War II's Battle of Britain; Telstar
satellite launched; Millard Fillmore becomes President; Chechen warlord
Shamil Basayev killed; Singer Arlo Guthrie born; Cartoon voice Mel Blanc
Something to Think about over
Everyone has a responsibility to not only tolerate
another person's point of view, but also to accept it eagerly as a
challenge to your own understanding. And express those challenges in
terms of serving other people.
The Greek government capitulated on Thursday to
demands from its creditors for severe austerity measures in return for a
modest debt write-off, raising hopes that a rescue deal could be signed
at an emergency meeting of EU leaders on Sunday.
Athens is understood to have put forward a package of reforms and
public spending cuts worth €13bn with the aim of securing a third
bailout from creditors that would raise €53.5bn and allow it to stay
inside the currency union.
A cabinet meeting signed off the reform package after ministers
agreed that the dire state of the economy and the debilitating closure
of the country's banks meant it had no option but to agree to almost all
the creditors terms.
Parliament is expected to endorse the package after a frantic few
days of negotiation that followed a landmark referendum last Sunday in
which Greek voters backed the radical leftist Syriza government's call
for debt relief.
The battle flag of the former American
Confederacy will stop flying at South Carolina's statehouse on Friday,
23 days after a mass shooting at one of the state's emblematic black
churches - and 150 years after the south lost a civil war fought largely
over slavery, and for which the flag's endurance has remained a lasting
symbol of racism.
Governor Nikki Haley signed legislation on Thursday that would
require the flag to be removed from government grounds within 24 hours
and placed in the Confederate relic room and military museum. [..]
Haley's office said it would be taken down from a flagpole near
the capitol at 10am the next day, after flying there for nearly 54
Data breaches at the U.S. government's personnel
management agency by hackers, with suspicions centering on China,
involves millions more people than previously estimated, U.S. officials
said on Thursday.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said data stolen from its
computer networks included Social Security numbers and other sensitive
information on 21.5 million people who have undergone background checks
for security clearances.
That is in addition to data on about 4.2 million current and
former federal workers that was stolen in what the OPM called a
"separate but related" hacking incident. Because many people were
affected by both hacks, a total of 22.1 million people were affected, or
almost 7 percent of the U.S. population.
The breach had already been considered one of the most damaging
on record because of its scale and, more importantly, the sensitivity of
the material taken.
With world powers nearing what many hope is the
finish line to a nuclear deal with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry confirmed on Thursday that the talks will be extended further,
telling reporters that "we will not rush and we will not be rushed."
Speaking from the Austrian capital of Vienna where ongoing
negotiations are taking place, Kerry added: "We're here because we
believe we are making real progress."
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday
informed journalists from his hotel balcony that he is prepared to
negotiate "as long as necessary" to close a deal with P5+1 countries:
the U.S., Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
If the talks extend beyond Thursday at midnight, Congress will
have 60 days instead of 30 to review the pact-potentially giving hawkish
lawmakers more time to rally against the deal. However, Jamal Abdi,
policy director for the National Iranian American Council, told Common Dreams that the expiration of this deadline should not be interpreted as a collapse-or even a setback-in the negotiations.
The Obama administration is reportedly poised to
upgrade the ranking it gives Malaysia on its efforts to stamp out human
trafficking. The move is being criticized as an affront to global human
rights that could help move forward a pending controversial trade deal.
The State Department gives the ranking in its annual Trafficking in
Persons (TIP) Report, a tool the Department states "reflects the U.S.
Government's commitment to global leadership on this key human rights
and law enforcement issue." In 2014 it gave (pdf) Malaysia the lowest
ranking, a Tier 3, and stated: "The Government of Malaysia does not
fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of
Other countries the State Department designated as Tier 3 in its
last report include Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. But
unnamed government sources told the Associated Press and Reuters that the forthcoming 2015 TIP Report would upgrade Malaysia to a Tier 2.
Italy's battle against the mafia has provoked an
unusual problem for the government - the headache of managing a
staggering portfolio of assets and cash seized from mobsters.
Officials control about 3,000 companies, 12,000 properties and €2bn
in bank deposits and other assets from organised crime outfits,
according to some estimates, leaving the government with hundreds of
extra employees and properties not seen very favourably by banks.
"In Italy it is more difficult to manage the property seized from
the mafia than it is to confiscate it," Michelangelo Patane, a
prosecutor in Sicily, said.
Authorities announced a new seizure Wednesday of €1.6bn ($1.75bn)
in alleged mafia property, that included dozens of businesses as well
as some 700 houses, villas and buildings.
Seized mafia assets are such an issue in Italy the government
created in 2010 a national agency, the ANSBC, to manage the mountain of
The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act,
introduced Thursday in the Senate, would allow marijuana companies to
store their money in banks.
Dispensaries are currently blocked from the banking system. Even
though a number of states have legalized the use of medical and
recreational marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law.
This pot paradox has forced many marijuana businesses to keep
their cash in their stores because banks are prohibited from doing
businesses with them.
The marijuana legislation would wipe away these prohibitions. The
senators say this would improve safety and streamline taxes in the
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), one of the sponsors of the bill, called the present rule an "invitation to crime."
"Current federal laws are making marijuana businesses sitting
ducks for violent crimes and perpetuating negative stereotypes," said
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), another sponsor of the bill.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are also backing the legislation.
Marijuana groups said the bill would be a step in the right direction.
Must Read Blog Posts
Uruguay Calls For Global Drug Policy To Emphasize Human Rights Brandon Jordan, FDL
The Future of the Confederate Flag (and Robert E. Lee) Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics
Feinstein Wants to Introduce Reporting Mandate Jim Comey Says We Don't Need Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel
The Clinton Campaign Notices the Sanders Campaign, or How to Read the Media Gaius Publius, Hullabaloo
Just As FBI Looks To Undermine Encryption, Federal Government Searches For Better Encryption Mike Masnick, Techdirt
Your Moment of Zen