Tim Carney: How corporate tax credits got in the 'cliff' deal Some tax lobbyists mostly ignored the August bill "because they thought it would be just a political document," one K Streeter told me. "They were the ones that got bit in the butt." Here's what happened: In late July, Finance Chairman Max Baucus announced the committee would soon convene to craft a bill extending many expiring tax credits. This attracted lobbyists like a raw steak attracts wolves. Former Sens. General Electric and Citigroup, for instance, hired Breaux and Lott to extend a tax provision that allows multinational corporations to defer U.S. taxes by moving profits into offshore financial subsidiaries. Liquor giant Diageo also retained Breaux and Lott to win extensions on two provisions benefitting rum-making in Puerto Rico. The K Street firm Capitol Tax Partners, led by Treasury Department alumni from the Clinton administration, represented an even more impressive list of tax clients, who paid CTP more than $1.68 million in the third quarter. But there never was a fight.
The Untouchables: How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions | Harry J Enten (updated below - Update II) PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis: a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering. What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable. What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. "In 2009, Wall Street bankers were on the defensive, worried they could be held criminally liable for fraud.
The Untouchables | FRONTLINE January 22, 2013 FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages. Is SEC “Fearful” of Wall Street? Agency Insider Says Yes April 8, 2014, 3:15 pm ET · by Jason M. An SEC trial attorney used a recent retirement speech to criticize the agency for being too “tentative and fearful” in confronting Wall Street following the 2008 financial crisis. Watchdog Calls Out DOJ For Mortgage Fraud Response March 13, 2014, 6:33 pm ET · by Jason M. An inspector general’s report has called into question the Justice Department’s stated commitment to holding people accountable for misconduct that precipitated the financial crisis. How JPMorgan’s $13 Billion Settlement Stacks Up November 19, 2013, 8:57 pm ET · by Jason M. Its the largest fine against an American company ever — and here’s how it compares to other recent bank settlements. Bank of America Liable for Mortgage “Hustle” Program October 24, 2013, 3:17 pm ET · by Jason M.
Pentagon's new massive expansion of 'cyber-security' unit is about everything except defense | Glenn Greenwald As the US government depicts the Defense Department as shrinking due to budgetary constraints, the Washington Post this morning announces "a major expansion of [the Pentagon's] cybersecurity force over the next several years, increasing its size more than fivefold." Specifically, says the New York Times this morning, "the expansion would increase the Defense Department's Cyber Command by more than 4,000 people, up from the current 900." The Post describes this expansion as "part of an effort to turn an organization that has focused largely on defensive measures into the equivalent of an Internet-era fighting force." The Pentagon's rhetorical justification for this expansion is deeply misleading. Disguising aggression as "defense" Let's begin with the way this so-called "cyber-security" expansion has been marketed. In March, 2010, the Washington Post published an amazing Op-Ed by Adm. McConnell's Op-Ed was as alarmist and hysterical as possible. "Mr. In 2010, Lawrence E.
Stemmen in de VS geen gemakkelijke opgave: de obstakels op een rij - Buitenland 01/11/12, 13:00 − bron: ANP © reuters. Romney op campagne De Amerikaanse verkiezingen op 6 november worden door de staten afzonderlijk georganiseerd. Die hebben ieder hun eigen regels. Ook binnen de staten kunnen de procedures variëren. - Kiezersregistratie: In een aantal staten kunnen kiezers zich op de dag van de stembusgang inschrijven, terwijl in de meeste staten de registratie eerder eindigt. - Identificatie: Volgens de federale wet moeten kiezers die voor de eerste keer hun stem willen uitbrengen eerst een geldig identiteitsbewijs overleggen. - Problemen bij stembureaus: die kunnen variëren van stemmachines die niet werken, een ongewoon hoge opkomst, een gebrek aan stembureaumedewerkers tot een tekort aan stembiljetten. - Stemmentelling: kleine verschillen kunnen tot hertellingen leiden. - Stemtechnieken: in veel staten worden elektronische stemmachines gebruikt die gevoelig kunnen zijn voor fouten, storingen, onveilige software en zelfs verlies aan stemmen.
The lame rules for presidential debates: a pefect microcosm of US democracy | Glenn Greenwald President Barack Obama walks past Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the first presidential debate. Photograph: AP The way the two major parties control the presidential debates is a perfect microcosm of how political debates are restricted in general. Though typically shrouded in secrecy, several facts about this process have recently come to light and they are quite instructive. I was on Democracy Now this morning along with George Farah discussing the ways these debates, designed to cast the appearance of fostering vibrant exchanges, are actually intended to constrict the range of debated views as much as possible. He described how the two political parties in the 1990s joined forces to wrest control over the presidential debates away from the independent League of Women Voters, which had long resisted the parties' efforts to shield their presidential candidates from genuine surprise or challenge. Gawker's John Cook has an excellent breakdown of the 21-page memo.
Jill Stein Arrested Before Hofstra Debate, Campaign Reports Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested outside of Hofstra University on Tuesday after she attempted to enter the debate grounds. According to Stein's campaign press statement, Stein and running mate Cheri Honkala joined supporters outside the Hofstra campus at 2 p.m., where Stein declared: "We are here to bring the courage of those excluded from our politics to this mock debate, this mockery of democracy." When they started to walk onto the debate grounds, they were stopped by police officers, and then the two women sat down on the ground. Student-run news organization Long Island Report posted a video of Stein and Honkala sitting, with an officer arguing, "You're blocking traffic." According to the campaign, Stein and Honkala were then arrested. Earlier in the day, Stein told Philadelphia Weekly that despite some butterflies in the stomach, "We are prepared to be arrested in the service of democracy and a future that serves us all.” Also on HuffPost:
Green Party candidate: Police handcuffed me to a chair for eight hours By Arturo GarciaWednesday, October 17, 2012 12:47 EDT Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein said Wednesday police handcuffed her to a chair during her eight-hour imprisonment following her arrest outside the second presidential debate. “For most of the time it was just [running mate] Cheri Honkala and myself,” Stein told Democracy Now anchor Amy Goodman. Stein and Honkala were arrested Tuesday while sitting in the street to protest their exclusion from this year’s presidential debates between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. During her arrest, Stein criticized the group that organized the event, the Commission on Presidential Debates, which was put together as a joint effort by Democrats and Republicans to administer the debates after the League of Women Voters stepped out of that role in 1987. Stein also said she and Honkala were not released until about 30 minutes after the Obama-Romney debate, when they were told “their car” was waiting for them.
Activists warned to watch what they say as social media monitoring becomes 'next big thing in law enforcement' - Crime - UK John Cooper QC said that police are monitoring key activists online and that officers and the courts are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to social media. But, speaking to The Independent, he added that he also expected that to drive an increase in the number of criminals being brought to justice in the coming months. "People involved in public protest should use social media to their strengths, like getting their message across. But they should not use them for things like discussing tactics. They might as well be having a tactical meeting with their opponents sitting in and listening. "For example, if antifascist organisers were discussing their plans on social media, they can assume that a fascist organisation will be watching. Mr Cooper QC's warning comes after a New York court ordered Twitter to hand over messages posted on the site by a demonstrator belonging to the Occupy Wall Street movement in America. Mr Cooper QC added: "activists are putting themselves at more risk.
US democracy: The power of money - Empire The US presidential elections in November 2012 are expected to become the most expensive in history. One estimate by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) goes as high as $11bn. The vast majority of this political money has come from a handful of super-rich supporters of the Republican Party dwarfing the attempts by citizens, associations or labour unions to do the same. Many on the right claim deregulating campaign financing as a victory for free speech whilst most on the left fear the changes are corrupting democracy. Controversial campaign funding rule changes brought in after a Supreme Court ruling in 2010 have opened the floodgates to billionaire donors with the potential to buy influence all the way to the White House. The new system is rarely challenged in the mainstream media. But more fundamentally, in a free market society where the richest 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans, Empire asks if money transforms or distorts the whole political process.