Five global banks just proved that no one can stop Wall Street from breaking the law. This week, five Wall Street banks pleaded guilty to felony charges related to interest rate rigging and foreign exchange manipulation.
The guilty pleas mean the banks are literally felons, and it’s a distinct shift in the way law enforcement has dealt with Wall Street in the past. Lawsuits and legal fees are nothing new for the banks: since the financial crisis, they have essentially become the cost of doing business on Wall Street. Now, apparently, that cost includes both legal fees and criminal charges. Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions. Between 2007 and 2012, 200 of America’s most politically active corporations spent a combined $5.8 billion on federal lobbying and campaign contributions.
A year-long analysis by the Sunlight Foundation suggests, however, that what they gave pales compared to what those same corporations got: $4.4 trillion in federal business and support. That figure, more than the $4.3 trillion the federal government paid the nation’s 50 million Social Security recipients over the same period, is the result of an unprecedented effort to quantify the less-examined side of the campaign finance equation: Do political donors get something in return for what they give? Four years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court suggested the answer to that question was no. Corporate spending to influence federal elections would not “give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” the majority wrote in the landmark Citizens United v.
Political change, permanent interests. Why Bernie Sanders is a Dead End. ‘Tis the season once again.
You should know it well by now: a “progressive” Democrat running in the primaries for president of the United States. We’ve seen it all before, from Jesse Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, left-leaning voters have time-and-again been asked to support candidates that are working to transform the corrupt and war-hungry Democratic Party from within. And each and every time this strategy has failed — not only to elect a progressive Democrat into the White House, but to alter the party that offer themselves up as a lighter shade of neo-con. This time around that “progressive” Democrat is self-proclaimed “socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Walmart is a cultural sickness: How the American workplace is enriching the wealthy — and destroying everyone else.
At a time when so many Americans are struggling just to earn a decent living and find adequate employment, it may seem counterintuitive to indict the work people are doing as one of the biggest problems facing the country.
But when you take a look at what our work is turning us into and what it’s actually accomplishing, it becomes clear that our priorities are all out of whack. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about important labor issues like unequal wages for women and a lack of paid sick and maternity leave. He called on Congress to pass legislation raising the minimum wage and requiring employers to guarantee at least seven days of sick time a year to their employees. He had to do this because, remarkably, nearly 40 percent of the American workers have no sick time at all, nor is there any requirement for their employers to provide any – a regressive distinction the United States shares with only two other countries, Papua New Guinea and Oman. Law Enforcement Accused of Entrapment. The recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.
The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS). "These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization," Minnesota U.S. Hillary Clinton's "Grassroots Campaign" Sets $1,000 Minimum for a "Conversation" An Intercept reader forwarded me the following invitation from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, asking him to join the candidate for a series of events in Massachusetts.
To take part in a “Conversation with Hillary” at a home in Chestnut Hill on June 10, three days before the Clinton campaign’s official launch in New York, attendees are asked to pay $2,700 per person. Emails Reveal Dairy Lobbyist Crafted "Ag-Gag" Legislation Outlawing Pictures of Farms. Across the country, legislatures are responding to whistleblowers and activists who have exposed inhumane and at times unsanitary practices at farms by passing laws that criminalize the taking of photos or videos at agricultural facilities.
Farming interests have publicly backed the campaign to outlaw recording. But emails I obtained through a records request reveal that in Idaho, which passed an “ag-gag” law last year, dairy industry lobbyists actually crafted the legislation that was later introduced by lawmakers. State Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, said he sponsored the bill in response to an activist-filmed undercover video that showed cows at an Idaho plant being beaten by workers, dragged by the neck with chains, and forced to live in pens covered in feces, which activists said made the cows slip, fall and injure themselves. Emails Reveal Dairy Lobbyist Crafted "Ag-Gag" Legislation Outlawing Pictures of Farms.
Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions. Bernie Sanders Exposes 18 CEOs who took Trillions in Bailouts, Evaded Taxes and Outsourced Jobs. Sen.
Bernie Sanders fired back at 80 CEOs who wrote a letter lecturing America about deficit reduction by released a report detailing how 18 of these CEOs have wrecked the economy by evading taxes and outsourcing jobs. 80 CEO’s raised the ire of Sen. Sanders by publishing a letter in the Wall Street Journal urging America to act on the deficit, and reform Medicare and Medicaid. Here’s how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill. A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed.
“We’re very much in the endgame,” US trade representative Michael Froman told reporters over the weekend at a meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on the resort island of Boracay. His comments came days after TPP passed another crucial vote in the Senate. That vote, to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress, comes as the president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech online.
Fifa in crisis amid corruption arrests and World Cup voting inquiry – as it happened. How Hillary Clinton's State Department sold fracking to the world. One icy morning in February 2012, Hillary Clinton’s plane touched down in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, which was just digging out from a fierce blizzard.
Wrapped in a thick coat, the secretary of state descended the stairs to the snow-covered tarmac, where she and her aides piled into a motorcade bound for the presidential palace. That afternoon, they huddled with Bulgarian leaders, including prime minister Boyko Borissov, discussing everything from Syria’s bloody civil war to their joint search for loose nukes. Historian Says Don't 'Sanitize' How Our Government Created The Ghettos.
A helicopter flies over a section of Baltimore affected by riots. Richard Rothstein writes that the recent unrest in Baltimore is the legacy of a century of federal, state, and local policies designed to "quarantine Baltimore's black population in isolated slums. " Patrick Smith/Getty Images hide caption itoggle caption Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Robert Reich: Colleges, Churches and Non-Profits Doing the Wealthy's Dirty Work. Not long ago I was asked to speak to a religious congregation about widening inequality.
How America Became an Oligarchy. “The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. . . . You have owners.”— George Carlin, The American Dream According to a new study from Princeton University, American democracy no longer exists. Federal probe launched after black Mississippi man found hanging from tree. Federal agents have been called in to probe the discovery in Claiborne County, Mississippi, of an African American man found hanging from a tree on Thursday. The Department of Justice has confirmed in a statement that three separate branches of the federal government have been mobilized to carry out the investigation: the FBI, the civil rights division of the Department of Justice and the US attorney for the southern district of Mississippi. The speed with which federal agencies were dispatched, and the involvement of civil rights officials, indicate concern, at least initially, that the black man’s death may be suspicious.
It’s Worse than Scott Walker and Ted Cruz: Secrets of Conservatives’ Decades-Long War on Truth. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( via Wikimedia Commons. A citizen’s income and wealth fund for the UK: Lessons from Alaska. Malcolm X: Rap, Race and Islam. Did President George W. Bush Use the Bible in Deciding that the U.S. Attack Iraq? The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'. The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. Fox Host Dismisses The Dangers Of Right-Wing Terrorists After Years Of Deadly Attacks. Fox News host Eric Bolling suggested that there haven't been any recent examples of right-wing terrorism in order to downplay a recent Department of Homeland Security report warning of right-wing extremists.
In fact, there have been multiple deadly right-wing attacks in the U.S. in recent years, far outpacing other types of extremist attacks. DHS Releases Report Warning About Threat Of Right-Wing Terror DHS Intelligence Report Warns Of Domestic Right-Wing Terror Threat. 6 Astounding Facts About Our Super-Rich Congress. Despite a performance rating that’s nearly the lowest it’s ever been, members of Congress are richer than ever. U.S. Labels ALL Young Men In Battle Zones As "Militants" ... And American Soil Is Now Considered a Battle Zone Washington's Blog. All Military-Age Men Are Labeled “Militants” In Areas of Conflict.
The lack of any official condemnation for CIA torture ensures it will happen again. The NSA is giving your phone records to the DEA. And the DEA is covering it up. - The Washington Post. Isolationism. Let’s not kid ourselves: Most Americans are fine with torture, even when you call it “torture” The Senate Intelligence Committee's five-year investigation into the CIA's torture of suspected terrorists just came out. Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty. Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are. There’s only one fix. Shock and anal probe: reading between the redactions in the CIA torture report. The Case for Reparations.
The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate. RESTORE HONOR: Has Cop-Hunting Begun? Justice_department_s_countering_violent_extremism_program_ripe_for_abuse. From Guantanamo to Ferguson: America's Torture Record Comes Under Scrutiny. We Need Someone to Judge the Judges. Cynics, Step Aside: There is Genuine Excitement Over a Hillary Clinton Candidacy.
Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans. First Snowden. Then tracking you on wheels. Now spies on a plane. Yes, surveillance is everywhere. The Leading Terrorist State. Hiroshima Day 2014. The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare. Sen. Bernie Sanders: The United States Is on the Verge of Becoming an Oligarchy. Page 6 of The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase's Worst Nightmare. Book TV: Rich Benjamin, "Searching for Whitopia" Relative of Americans Killed by Drone Strikes: No Justice in U.S. Courts. The Media Monopoly. Operation Mockingbird. Carl Bernstein. Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah State speech after mass-shooting threat - LA Times.
Video: Steven Salaita and Ali Abunimah at University of Chicago. On Leak Prosecutions, Obama Takes it to 11. (Or Should We Say 526?) Christopher Columbus was awful (but this other guy was not) Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO) The Washington Post. Teenager's mysterious death evokes painful imagery in North Carolina: 'It's in the DNA of America'
Prison Quotas Push Lawmakers To Fill Beds, Derail Reform.