The Breakfast Club (The Sun Is Below The Yard Arm Somewhere)

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.

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This Day in History

Alamo falls to Mexican forces; Michelangelo born; Walter Cronkite retires.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Good Question: Iran’s Foreign Minister suggests the US should ask itself why it continues to create extremists that it later fights. Someone should tell him that to the US that’s a benefit, not a bug.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III, Some Assembly Required

Breakfast News

US government still hunting WikiLeaks as Obama targets whistleblowers

The US government is conducting an active, long-term criminal investigation into WikiLeaks, a federal judge has confirmed in court documents.

Five years after Julian Assange and his team began publishing the massive dump of US state secrets leaked by an army intelligence analyst, two wings of the Department of Justice and the FBI remain engaged in a criminal investigation of the open-information website that is of a “long-term duration”, “multi-subject” in nature and that “remains in the investigative state”.

The disclosure was made in the course of a ruling from the US district court for the District of Columbia (pdf), the jurisdiction of which covers federal agencies, and underlines the Obama administration’s dogged pursuit of WikiLeaks and its unprecedentedly aggressive legal campaign against official whistleblowers.

Snowden: Canadians Face ‘Intrusive’ Spy Bill That Echoes US Patriot Act

In a teleconference hosted by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression at Ryerson University on Wednesday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that the country’s intelligence agencies have the “weakest oversight” in the Western world, and that new anti-terror legislation championed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper was “an emulation of the American Patriot Act.”

“And when [the agencies are] trying to expand their powers, it’s pretty amazing that we have the Canadian government trying to block the testimony of former prime ministers who’ve had access to classified information, who understand the value of these programs, and who are warning the public broadly and saying this is something we really need to talk about, this is something we really need to debate, this is something we really need to be careful about,” Snowden continued.

Iran nuclear deal ‘very close’ as Netanyahu brings negotiators together

The long and convoluted negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme adjourned on Wednesday amid talk of continuing progress towards a comprehensive deal but of tough political decisions still to be made.

The talks will resume on March 15, probably in Geneva, as the latest deadline for agreement looms at the end of the month.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said a deal was “very close”, telling NBC that he and his team were prepared to carry on working through the Persian New Year celebration of Nowruz starting on March 21.

States Weigh Legislation to Let Businesses Refuse to Serve Gay Couples

As it looks increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will establish a nationwide right to same-sex marriage later this year, state legislatures across the country are taking up bills that would make it easier for businesses and individuals to opt out of serving gay couples on religious grounds.

Many states are now reliving a version of events that embroiled Arizona in February 2014, when Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to use their religious beliefs as a legal justification for refusing to serve gay customers.

The resurgent controversy is fueled in part by a deep anxiety among many evangelicals and other conservatives that the Supreme Court will make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states after it takes up the matter in April.

Indigenous Peruvians win Amazon pollution payout from US oil giant

Members of the indigenous Achuar tribe from the Peruvian Amazon have won an undisclosed sum from Occidental Petroleum in an out-of-court settlement after a long-running legal battle in the US courts.

They sued the company in 2007, alleging it knowingly caused pollution which caused premature deaths, birth defects and damaged their habitat.

It is the first time a company from the United States has been sued in a US court for pollution it caused in another country, Marco Simons, the legal director of EarthRights International, which represented the Achuar people in the lawsuit, said. It set a “precedent” which he said will be “significant for future cases and has already been cited by other courts in the United States”.

Michael Brown’s family to file wrongful death lawsuit

Lawyers for the family of Michael Brown, the teenager killed last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, said on Thursday they would file a wrongful death civil case on behalf of the family.

“We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed shortly on behalf of the family,” said Anthony Gray, an attorney for the family.

Brown, 18, was shot dead by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on 9 August 2014. The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it would not bring federal civil rights charges against Wilson.

Gray spoke with Michael Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr, standing behind him in a Ferguson church.

Last Known Ebola Patient in Liberia Is Discharged

Liberia’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in West Africa’s battle against the disease.

Officials in Monrovia, the city where the raging epidemic littered the streets with bodies only five months ago, celebrated even as they warned that Liberia was at least weeks away from being officially declared free of Ebola. They also noted that the disease had flared up recently in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea, the two other countries hardest hit by it.

Florida man claims self-defence after driving with dead body to lawyer’s office

Sheriff’s office investigation under way after John Marshall arrived bloody and agitated with neighbour’s body in pickup truck, lawyer says

A south-west Florida man put his dead neighbor in the bed of his pickup truck and drove – bloody and agitated – to his lawyer’s office, where he said he had killed the man in self-defense.

John Marshall, 52, showed up on Wednesday afternoon, his attorney, Robert Harris, said. “He was clearly undergoing something,” Harris said, noting that he was bleeding and flustered.

Harris said he brought Marshall into the office, and that’s when he said the man’s body was in the truck parked outside. Harris called 911.

Nasa finds evidence of a vast ancient ocean on Mars

A massive ancient ocean once covered nearly half of the northern hemisphere of Mars making the planet a more promising place for alien life to have gained a foothold, Nasa scientists say.

The huge body of water spread over a fifth of the planet’s surface, as great a portion as the Atlantic covers the Earth, and was a mile deep in places. In total, the ocean held 20 million cubic kilometres of water, or more than is found in the Arctic Ocean, the researchers found.

Unveiled by Nasa on Thursday, the compelling evidence for the primitive ocean adds to an emerging picture of Mars as a warm and wet world in its youth, which trickled with streams, winding river deltas, and long-standing lakes, soon after it formed 4.5bn years ago.

Samantha Bee Will Host TBS Comedy Series, Won’t Be Jon Stewart’s Replacement

Samantha Bee is known mostly for her hilarious bits on “The Daily Show,” but on Thursday TBS announced that she’ll join the network to host and executive produce a new satirical news series. Her husband, former “Daily Show” correspondent Jason Jones, will also executive produce. [..]

News of Bee’s series means that she won’t replace Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show.” As longtime correspondents, Bee and Jones were on many critics’ short list to take over for Stewart when he announced his departure from the show. Luckily, fans will get their fix of the couple over at TBS.

Must Read Blog Posts

FBI’s Culture of Hostility Toward Whistleblowers-And How Justice Department Permits Policy of Retaliation Kevin Gosztola, FDL The Dissenter

Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Antifreeze, Part The Infinity Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics

America’s student loan boycott: How 15 students took on the government – and just may win David Dayen, Salon

The right has f***ked up minds: Meet the researcher who terrifies GOP Congress Paul Rosenberg, Salon

Study: Police Killed More Than Twice As Many As FBI Reported Suzie Madrak, Crooks and Liars

EFF Grabs Two More Docs From The NSA, Detailing Expanded Post-9/11 Surveillance Powers And Section 702 Justifications Tim Cushing, Techdirt

DOJ Invites The ATF To The War On Drugs, Grants It Power To Process Its Own ‘Drug-Related’ Forfeitures Tim Cushing, Techdirt

Clapper: The Attacks We Didn’t Prevent In The Past Can’t Be Prevented In The Future If Section 215 Is Allowed To Die Tim Cushing, Techdirt

“Default Monday”: Oil & Gas Companies Face Their Creditors Wolf Richter, Wolf Street with a h/t to naked capitalism

Your Moment of Zen