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.
AP’s Today in History for May 21st
Aviator Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris, completing the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic; The American Red Cross founded; Susan Lucci wins a Daytime Emmy; ‘Gypsy’ opens on Broadway.
Breakfast Tune Rhiannon Giddens – At The Purchaser’s Option
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
Trump Admin. Now Deploying Controversial Surveillance Tool in Immigration Crackdown
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
As the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans continue to push for a harsher immigration crackdown, new reporting reveals that FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents employed a controversial surveillance technology known as Stingrays to hunt down undocumented immigrants.
According to Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Adam Schwartz, the The Detroit News report, based on a federal search warrant affidavit, marks “the latest sign of mission creep in domestic deployment of battlefield-strength surveillance technology.”
As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has explained, the devices, obtained by police to purportedly tackle terrorism,
typically mimic the cell phone towers that your phone connects to. They trick cell phones within their range into thinking they are a legitimate cell phone tower and force phones to connect by masquerading as the strongest nearby cell signal. This enables the user of the cell site simulator to identify phones in the area, the location of their possessors, and in some cases to intercept metadata and/or actual content of cell phone transmissions (including data, calls, or text messages). Even if law enforcement is targeting a particular phone or person, it will incidentally collect sensitive information from all other phones in the area that connect to it. In some cases, this may also prevent nearby bystanders from making calls. So, the use of this technology compromises the privacy and safety of large numbers of ordinary people.
In this case, The Detroit News reported, the
secret device [either a Stingray or an upgraded version of them known as Hailstorm] was used in March by a team of FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Metro Detroit to find Rudy Carcamo-Carranza, 23, a twice-deported restaurant worker from El Salvador whose only brushes with the law involve drunken driving allegations and a hit-and-run crash.
“Few law enforcement spying technologies are a greater threat to digital liberty: by their very nature, [cell site simulators or] CSSs seize information from all of the people who happen to be nearby. So government should be barred, for example, from using CSSs to hunt down traffic scofflaws, petty thieves, and undocumented immigrants,” Schwartz wrote. …
U.S. DRONE STRIKE IN YEMEN KILLED MEN WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH AL QAEDA, ACCORDING TO RELATIVES
Shuaib Almosawa, Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept
ON THE AFTERNOON of April 23, an American drone flying over the remote Al Said area of Yemen’s Shabwah province observed a group of men gathering to eat lunch at a security checkpoint.
Mansoor Allahwal Baras, a former Yemeni Army lieutenant in his late thirties, was chief of the checkpoint, and his younger cousin Nasir, 23, was also stationed there. Khalid, another cousin Nasir’s age, was home on vacation from Malaysia, where he was studying English and aiming for his bachelor’s degree. A car full of five others joined them — local militants, but familiar to the Baras men — and they sent someone else to fetch lunch.
As the drone hovered over them, the men did not panic or flee. For many in the region, the buzzing sound of American drones in the sky has become part of the rhythm of daily life.
But then the drone unleashed its payload of missiles, and in an instant, the impromptu gathering was transformed into a nightmare of heat, smoke, and shrapnel. All eight men were killed. …
Planned Parenthood to close four Iowa clinics after cuts
Chris Kenning, Reuters
Planned Parenthood said on Thursday it would shutter four of its 12 clinics in Iowa as a result of a measure backed by Republican Governor Terry Branstad that blocks public money for family planning services to abortion providers.
Health centers in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City will close on June 30 and one in Quad Cities soon after as a result of losing $2 million in funds under the new measure, said Susan Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The four clinics served 14,676 patients in the last three years, she said, including many rural and poor women.
“It will be devastating,” Allen said.
The closures marked the latest fallout from a continuing push by Republicans, including President Donald Trump, to yank funding from Planned Parenthood. Many have long opposed the organization, some on religious grounds, because its healthcare services include abortions, although it receives no federal funding for abortions, as stipulated by federal law. …
Rebellious Shell shareholders to vote for new climate change goals
Adam Vaughan, The Guardian
Shell shareholders including the Church of England, European pension funds and Dutch activists will send a signal to the board of the Anglo-Dutch company this week by voting for it to set new climate change goals.
The challenge comes from a Dutch group of retail investors, who have tabled a resolution for Shell’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, asking the company to establish carbon emission reduction targets.
“A large group of institutional investors will make their dissatisfaction with the company’s position evident by voting for this resolution,” said Mark van Baal of Follow this. The Church of England is among investors supporting the proposal, along with several European pension funds.
“I’m not expecting that it will pass but the resolution is well-worded and we support its intent – it’s something the board should be taking note of,” said Adam Matthews, head of engagement for church commissioners at the C of E. …
- The Losing Warfare State
- Getting Assange: the Untold Story
- Apple Spends Big to Thwart Right to Repair in New York and Elsewhere
Something to think about over coffee prozac
A Republican lawmaker ruffled some feathers this week when he attacked the ramps that were put in place at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool to help Washington D.C.’s beloved ducklings get in and out of the water in areas with a concrete barrier.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) griped that the ramps were examples of government waste:
If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be government waste. pic.twitter.com/JKgabZ47O5
— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) May 15, 2017
The office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol released a statement this week saying four “broods” ― or families ― of ducks live in the pool, including their newly hatched ducklings. The two ramps were installed as part of a collaboration with City Wildlife, a local nonprofit. The group’s president, Anne Lewis, told The New York Times that the ducklings could die without the ramps.
“Ducklings get into the water ― often helped there by visitors ― and then can’t get out because of the high curb at the water’s edge,” Lewis told the newspaper. “They will drown from exhaustion or die of starvation unless they have a way to get out of the water.”
It seems to have worked. The ducklings, who have become social media sensations, are already using the ramps:
It’s not clear how much work went into the ramps or what they cost, but Walker’s comments received some 2,500 replies. Here are some of the insults Walker is now ducking as a result of his tweet:
@RepMarkWalker We could fly them down to Mar-a-lago every weekend if you'd like.
— Paolo Gregoletto (@TriviumPaolo) May 16, 2017