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
The Beatles release their ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album; Actress Marilyn Monroe born; CNN hits the airwaves; Mormon leader Brigham Young born; Blind and deaf author and activist Helen Keller dies.
Something to Think about over
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
Germany has been spying and eavesdropping on its closest partners in the EU and passing the information to the US for more than a decade, a parliamentary inquiry in Berlin has found, triggering allegations of lying and coverups reaching to the very top of Angela Merkel’s administration. [..]
But according to reports on a confidential Bundestag committee of inquiry into the NSA scandal, under a 2002 pact between German intelligence (BND) and the NSA, Berlin used its largest electronic eavesdropping facility in Bavaria to monitor email and telephone traffic at the Élysée Palace, the offices of the French president, and of key EU institutions in Brussels including the European commission.
Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister and a Merkel confidant, is in the firing line for allegedly lying about or covering up the German collaboration with the Americans. The minister has denied the allegations robustly and promised to answer before the parliamentary inquiry “the sooner the better”.
The American Psychological Association (APA) worked closely with United States intelligence agencies and the George W. Bush administration to justify and support the torture of people captured after the attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a new analysis by watchdog health professionals.
The report, “All the President’s Psychologists” [PDF], was compiled a by a group of psychologists and physicians, many with ties to the group Physicians for Human Rights, draws on newly declassified emails to detail the APA’s role in what was then euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation.”
“The APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program,” said the report’s authors.
Democrats prepared another push for an increase in the minimum wage on Thursday. The Democratic leadership will join Washington senator Patty Murray and Virginia congressman Bobby Scott this afternoon as they introduce the Raise the Wage Act that would increase the US federal minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.
Under the proposed legislation, the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 an hour, would be raised to $8 next year and then go up a dollar a year until it reaches $12 in 2020. According to the lawmakers, the bill would would increase wages for nearly 38 million American workers. [..]
The proposal comes at a time when income inequality has attracted attention of the likes of the Pope and 2016 presidential candidates. Poverty wages and lack of jobs have also been at the core of the unrest in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, where protests broken out after the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, respectively. In Gray’s neighborhood in Baltimore, more than a third of households are in poverty, and 51.2% of households reported that their annual income is less than $25,000.
Bernie Sanders immediately distanced himself from Hillary Clinton on trade, foreign policy and the environment as he announced a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination that represents her first serious challenge from the left.
In a low-key press conference outside the US Capitol building, the Vermont senator acknowledged his run for the White House was a quixotic one, but insisted he was “in this race to win” and not just raise the profile of progressive causes. [..]
But Sanders claimed his focus on tackling economic inequality and the political power of corporate America would resonate with the US public: “If you raise the issues that are on the hearts and minds of the American people, if you are trying to put together a movement which says we have got to stand together and say this beautiful Capitol, our country, belongs to all of us and not the billionaire class – that’s not raising an issue, that’s winning an election, that’s where the American people are.”
The first supplies of food aid began reaching remote, earthquake-shattered mountain villages in Nepal, as the official death toll of the quake topped 5,500, police officials said.
Frustration over the slow delivery of humanitarian aid boiled over in a protest in the city, with about 200 people facing off with police and blocking traffic on Wednesday.
The protest was comparatively small and no demonstrators were detained.
Thousands still sleeping in tents throughout Nepal
But it reflected growing anger over bottlenecks that delayed much-needed relief four days after the powerful earthquake, which injured more than 10,000 and left many more homeless.
Navy ships will begin accompanying US commercial ships during their transit through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf to ensure they encounter no interference from Iran, according to US defense officials.
The policy, which has not yet officially been announced, was adopted in response to what Washington views as provocative Iranian behavior. This week Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps naval vessels reportedly fired warning shots near a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and have detained it and its crew.
Iran says it intervened with the Maersk Tigris because the Maersk shipping line owes it money awarded in a lawsuit.
Iranian naval patrol boats also surrounded a US cargo vessel in the strait last Friday.
A Pakistani court on Thursday sentenced 10 Taliban fighters to life in prison for their involvement in the 2012 attack on teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, a public prosecutor said.
Sayed Naeem said the court announced the ruling at an undisclosed location because of security concerns.
“Each militant got 25 years in jail. It is life in prison for the 10 militants who were tried by an anti-terrorist court,” he said. In Pakistan, 25 years is considered a life sentence.
Malala was shot in the head by members of the Pakistani Taliban when she was returning from school. The fighters targeted her because she advocated for education for women. Malala was initially treated in Pakistan and was later flown to a hospital in Britain, where she now lives with her family.
Researchers have discovered dead zones in the Atlantic Ocean with oxygen levels low enough to kill most marine life, according to a report published Thursday. It added that it was the first time such zones, which usually occur near coastlines, were observed in the open ocean.
Researchers found the dead zones in eddies, large areas of swirling water, that were slowly moving westward – raising fears that the low-oxygen zones could encounter an island and potentially lead to mass fish kills in shallower water, the research report said. [..]
Dead zones normally occur near coastlines where river runoff carries fertilizers and other chemical nutrients into the ocean, causing algae blooms that rapidly consume the water’s oxygen, the press release said. Though ocean currents can carry these waters away from the coast, a dead zone forming in the open ocean had not yet been discovered, according to the press release for the report, titled “Open ocean dead zones in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean.” It was published in the European Geosciences Union’s open access journal Biogeosciences.
The Indiana governor, Mike Pence, is set to sign a bill passed on Wednesday by the state’s assembly that will allow local governments to set up needle exchange programs in an effort to combat the spread of HIV.
The bill comes in the wake of an HIV outbreak in the state, which public health officials have tied to intravenous drug use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned other states that the HIV outbreak could spread from Indiana last week after state health officials said the number of positive HIV tests had jumped to 142 in 2015 in rural Scott County. There were only three HIV cases reported in that county between 2009 and 2013.
Last month, Pence declared a public health emergency after the outbreak worsened. The HIV cases appeared to be centered on Austin, a city with a population of 4,300 people. Health officials have said the virus appears to be linked to people injecting drugs, primarily the painkiller Opana.
NASA’s Messenger spacecraft has crashed into the planet Mercury after running out of fuel, in an incident expected by the U.S. space agency.
On Thursday, Messenger – which stands for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging – slipped out of orbit following a successful four-year tour of the rocky planet.
NASA said it was powerless to stop gravity from dragging the spacecraft towards the planet.
Its collision at a speed of more than 8,600 mph added another small crater to Mercury’s already pitted surface.
One man ran naked through a Florida neighborhood, tried to have sex with a tree and told police he was the mythical god Thor. Another ran nude down a busy city street in broad daylight, convinced a pack of German shepherds was pursuing him.
Two others tried separately to break into the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. They said they thought people were chasing them; one wound up impaled on a fence.
The common element to these and other bizarre incidents in Florida in the last few months is flakka, an increasingly popular synthetic designer drug. Also known as gravel and readily available for $5 or less a vial, it’s a growing problem for police after bursting onto the scene in 2013.
It is the latest in a series of synthetic drugs that include Ecstasy and bath salts, but officials say flakka is even easier to obtain in small quantities through the mail. Flakka’s active ingredient is a chemical compound called alpha-PVP, which is on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of the controlled substances most likely to be abused. It is usually made overseas in countries such as China and Pakistan.
Must Read Blog Posts
Chicago Police Swarm DePaul Law School During Event on Acquitted Chicago Officer Who Killed Rekia Boyd Kevin Gosztola, FDL The Dissenter
Who Asked for Leniency for Petraeus for Leaking Classified Material? It’s Classified Peter Van Buren, FDL
Ridiculing Concerns About TPP Tyranny Joe Firestone, (aka letsgetitdone), New Economic Perspectives
Control Fraud and For-Profit “Universities” (Et Tu, Bill Clinton?) Lambert Stether, naked capitalism
Nine Members of Congress Vote to Postpone the Fourth Amendment Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel
This Week In The Laboratories Of Democracy Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Blog
Calls for calm in Baltimore ignore the language of the unheard Rhagav Sharma, AMERICAblog
Law Enforcement’s Cluelessness On Display In Congressional Hearing On Undermining Encryption Mike Masnick, Techdirt