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
Felipe Is Proclaimed New King of Spain
By DAN BILEFSKY, The New York Times
JUNE 19, 2014
Spain’s new king, Felipe VI, was proclaimed head of state in Parliament on Thursday, ushering in what royalists hope will be a new era of stability for the country’s embattled monarchy.
In a ceremony that was conspicuously short on pomp and circumstance at a time of austerity, Felipe, 46, took over from his father, King Juan Carlos, 76. Juan Carlos, who abdicated earlier this month, came to the throne in 1975, after the death of Gen. Francisco Franco.
In what is perhaps a sign of Felipe’s more down-to-earth approach, royalty from Europe and foreign leaders were not invited to the parliamentary ceremony. Even Juan Carlos decided not to attend, leaving the spotlight to his son. Also absent was Princess Cristina, Felipe’s sister, who is ensnared in a corruption case that is focused on her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player who is accused of embezzling millions of dollars.
Iraq’s Maliki: I won’t quit as condition of US strikes against Isis militants
Martin Chulov, Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian
Thursday 19 June 2014 07.18 EDT
Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate intelligence committee, told a hearing on Wednesday that Maliki’s government “has got to go if you want any reconciliation”, and Republican John McCain called for the use of US air power but also urged Obama to “make very clear to Maliki that his time is up”.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, confirmed that the US had received the request for air strikes but said that the fluid state of the Iraqi battlefield had left the US with incomplete intelligence, a factor that made an air campaign more difficult. “It’s not as easy as looking at an iPhone video of a convoy and then striking it,” he told senators.
Maliki, who is trying to assemble a political coalition to win a third term as prime minister, has tried to assure the country that the momentum of the battle was with him. While Baghdad feels more assured than it was last week, some of the city’s Sunni neighbourhoods remain paralysed. And on the Shia side of the Tigris river, militias have primacy over interior ministry or military forces.
Maliki pledged that Tal Afar would be retaken by Thursday, and fighting late on Wednesday appeared to be tipping the battle in favour of Iraqi forces. However, a fear remains that nothing decisive can be achieved without international intervention.
“If we got US drones to hit Baiji, and jets to bomb Isis elsewhere, we could slow them down,” said a senior Iraqi MP. “Without them we can do nothing. Without them we can’t win.”
A bump at the pump? Senators propose a 12-cent hike in federal gas tax.
By Ashley Halsey III, Washington Post
June 18 at 2:33 PM
In addition to increasing the tax by 6 cents in each of the next two years, the senators want the rate indexed to inflation. Failure to keep pace with inflation over the past 20 years, along with steadily increasing fuel economy, has caused the Federal Highway Trust Fund that receives the money to sink to a dangerous level.
The Transportation Department projected this week that by midsummer, the fund will no longer be able to meet its obligations. The Obama administration, citing a fragile economic recovery, has been reluctant to endorse a gas-tax increase. Members of Congress facing midterm elections have preferred to look to other sources.
“For too long, Congress has shied away from taking serious action to update our country’s aging infrastructure,” Murphy said. “We’re currently facing a transportation crisis that will only get worse if we don’t take bold action to fund the Highway Trust Fund. Raising the gas tax isn’t an easy choice, but we’re not elected to make easy decisions.”
Currency Probe Widens as U.S. Said to Target Markups
By Keri Geiger, Liam Vaughan and Julia Verlaine, Bloomberg News
Jun 19, 2014 12:00 AM ET
U.S. prosecutors are broadening their investigation of the foreign-exchange industry as they question salespeople at the world’s biggest banks on their practices, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
Banks aren’t required to provide time stamps showing when currency transactions are completed, as they do with equities, giving dealers an opportunity to mislead about the rate at which orders were executed. Spot foreign-exchange transactions also fall outside the European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or Mifid, which requires dealers to take all reasonable steps to ensure the best possible results for their clients.
The process works like this: If a company gives a bank an order to swap $20 million into pounds at 9 a.m., a salesman can pass the request to a trader, who immediately carries out the transaction, or do the trade himself on the bank’s electronic platform. Rather than notify the client that the trade was executed, the salesman may wait to see how the market moves.
If the pound rises against the dollar by 10 a.m., the salesman will contact the client and say the bank transacted the order at the best possible rate and report it at the later price, costing the customer more.
Head’s Up: Here’s Who Your Right/Left-Wing Parents May Not Want you To Marry
By Chris Caesar, Boston Globe
June 18, 2014 5:02 PM
About 30 percent of “consistent” liberals and 23 percent of “consistent” conservatives said they would “be unhappy” if a family member brought home someone from the other side of the political aisle.
Pew also looked at attitudes about family members marrying a “born-again Christian” or-God-forbid, apparently-an atheist.
Only 9 percent of Americans said they would be unhappy with a family member’s marriage to a born-again Christian, though more than five times that figure would be unhappy if a family member married “someone who doesn’t believe in God.”
Show horses need protection from abuse, supporters tell Congress
By Sean Cockerham, McClatchy
June 19, 2014
The bill by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., would forbid the use of “action devices,” such as chains that rub on horses’ legs made sensitive with chemicals, and pads that hurt the hooves to achieve the crowd-pleasing exaggerated high gait known as the “Big Lick.”
But other influential lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., say the bill goes too far. Its future is far from certain with time running out to pass this year, given a Congressional calendar that includes the upcoming month-long August recess and other breaks before the midterm elections in November.
Soring for horse shows is illegal under the federal Horse Protection Act. But supporters of Whitfield’s bill say it has big loopholes and that it’s still widely practiced in the walking horse industry. The 86-year-old author of the law, former senator Joseph Tydings of Maryland, appeared at the rally and said his law has been crippled through lack of federal funding and enforcement.
Argentina says next bond payment ‘impossible’, default looms
By Hugh Bronstein and Joseph Ax, Reuters
Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:41am EDT
Buenos Aires is locked in a 12-year legal fight with creditors who refused to participate in two restructurings that followed Argentina’s 2002 default on $100 billion in bonds.
The holdouts, disparaged as “vultures” by the Argentine government for picking over the bones of the country’s traumatic 2002 economic crisis, are suing for 100 cents on the dollar rather than swallow the steep discounts that were accepted by holders of bonds that were restructured.
In its statement the ministry “lamented” Wednesday’s lifting of the stay. It said it remained willing to pay holders of its revamped debt but for the fact that the holdouts would have to be paid at the same time, something Argentina says it cannot afford to do.
In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday President Cristina Fernandez said Argentina was the victim of “extortion” by the holdouts, but that she was still open to negotiations and insisted she would continue to pay the more than 90 percent of creditors who accepted the restructuring terms.
GM emails show more unheeded warnings about ignition defects
By Ben Klayman and Eric Beech, Reuters
Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:08pm EDT
GM Chief Executive Mary Barra faced tough questions about widespread safety failures at GM in her third public appearance before Congress since the automaker started recalling millions of vehicles in February.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker has issued 44 recalls this year, including one for an ignition flaw linked to at least 13 deaths over the past decade. It has recalled 20 million vehicles, mostly in the United States, of which nearly 6.5 million were recalled for ignition switch-related issues.
“That the most senior GM executives may not have known about a defect that caused more than a dozen deaths is frankly alarming and does not absolve them of responsibility for this tragedy,” said Democratic Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado.
Must Read Blog Posts
The Logical End Of Things by Charles P. Pierce, The Politics Blog
Oh heck, we just don’t know who to kill by digby, Hullabaloo
Will Iraq Fall Apart? The Death of Sykes Picot by TMC, The Stars Hollow Gazette
Something to Think about over
Make no judgements where you have no compassion