Obama's $400,000 Speech Shows Depth Of Corruption

Credit Reuters, Kevin Lamarque

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Former President Obama seems to be cashing in or receiving a payoff for his policies as president. He will be receiving a $400,000 payment from a mid-size investment firm, Cantor FItzgerald to speak at a healthcare conference in September. Obama had the chance when his party controlled the House and Senate to actually solve the healthcare crisis by putting in place improved Medicare for all (and don’t fall for the BS that he could not have done it). Instead he put in place the failed Affordable Care Act whose centerpiece was to force people to buy inadequate health insurance. The ACA has failed to control the cost of premiums, co-pays and deductibles while providing shrinking health coverage. It was a gift to the insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and investors who profit from healthcare. Cantor Fitzgerald is one of those healthcare profiteers that benefits greatly from the ACA.

Rato Finito: Spanish Citizens Send Most Corrupt Banker-Politician To Jail

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By Steve Rushton for Occupy – Michael Blesa, the president of Caja Madrid bank from 1996 to 2010, was sentenced to six years. Rato took over as President of Caja Madrid in 2010. The bank then merged with six other banks to form Bankia. In the sentencing in late February, Rato was found to have replicated the “corrupt system” established by Blesa. The politicians and banking executives are appealing the decision. The case indicts both the Spanish and international political financial systems. Rato was Spain’s Economy Minister between 1996 and 2004, working for Partido Popular, the same political party that orchestrated the bailout. He was later the Managing Director of the IMF, from 2004 to 2007, another body essential in coordinating the bank bailouts. He undertook these roles before spinning back through the revolving door into Spain’s banking industry.

South Dakota GOP Uses 'Emergency' Rules To Repeal Anti-Corruption Law

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By Gregory Krieg for CNN – South Dakota Republicans on Thursday repealed a historic anti-corruption law approved by voters in a statewide referendum on Election Day. The measure, which passed with more than 51% backing in November, would have created an independent ethics commission, limited lobbyist gifts to lawmakers, banned officials from joining lobbying firms for two years after leaving office and created so-called “Democracy vouchers” for registered voters to steer toward their preferred candidates. But state GOP lawmakers said they didn’t think voters knew what they were doing.

To Federal Employees: If You See Something, Leak Something

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By The Intercept. IF YOU’RE A public servant in Washington, you may be worried about what your job will look like after January 20 — who you’ll be working for, what you’ll be asked to do. You might be concerned that the programs you’ve developed will be killed or misused. Or that you’ll be ordered to do things that are illegal or immoral. You may be thinking you have no choice — or that your only alternative is to quit. But there is another option. If you become aware of behavior that you believe is unethical, illegal, or damaging to the public interest, consider sharing your information securely with us. History shows the enormous value of government workers who discover abuses of power collaborating with journalists to expose them.

Treasury Nominee Steve Mnuchin’s Bank Accused Of “Widespread Misconduct”

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

By David Dayen for The Intercept – ONEWEST BANK, WHICH Donald Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, ran from 2009 to 2015, repeatedly broke California’s foreclosure laws during that period, according to a previously undisclosed 2013 memo from top prosecutors in the state attorney general’s office. The memo obtained by The Intercept alleges that OneWest rushed delinquent homeowners out of their homes by violating notice and waiting period statutes, illegally backdated key documents, and effectively gamed foreclosure auctions. In the memo, the leaders of the state attorney general’s Consumer Law Section said they had “uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct” in a yearlong investigation.

In Brazil, Major New Corruption Scandals Engulf Faction That Impeached Dilma

Dida Sampio/Estadao Conteudo (Agencia Estado via AP Images)

By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept – A PRIMARY ARGUMENT MADE by opponents of impeaching Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was that removing her would immediately empower the truly corrupt politicians in Brasília – the ones who were the driving force behind her impeachment – and they would then use that power to kill ongoing corruption investigations and shield themselves from consequences for their own law-breaking. In that regard, Dilma’s impeachment was not designed to punish corruption but to protect it.

Weapons Industry Well Represented On Trump Transition Team

War profiteers not welcome

By Aaron Mehta for Defense News. Former executives from Boeing, Elbit and Cubic will help guide the Pentagon transition team for president-elect Donald Trump, alongside several retired Army officials The transition team makeup was announced Friday morning on the Trump team’s GreatAgain.gov website. The list leans heavily on retired officers, primarily from the Army, but also features strong reorientation from industry. In October, Trump told a crowd that he was going to “expand the definition of lobbyist so we close all the loopholes that former government officials use by labeling themselves consultants, advisers, all of these different things, and they get away with murder. Not gonna happen.” Those comments seem long ago, with today’s team announcement unlikely to change the belief among investors that the spigot of military dollars is about to reopen.

Brown Reports On More Instances Of Misconduct In Prison System

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By Staff of Free Barrett – In the four years I’ve spent in federal prison for my supposedly criminal efforts to look into government misconduct in cooperation with a loose array of Anonymous-affiliated hackers, I’ve had the unique experience of investigating government misconduct from within. But although I’ve spent much of this time writing about prison life in articles for The Intercept and other outlets, I’ve generally refrained from going into the specific violations of Bureau of Prisons policy and even federal law that one witnesses on a daily basis in BOP institutions.

Largest Campaign Finance Fine In History For Anti-GMO Labeling Initiative

Occupy Wall Street protesters in Phoenix, Arizona. Photograph: KeystoneUSA/Rex Features

By Staff of GMA – OLYMPIA — In a historic decision, a Thurston County Superior Court judge today ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay $18 million in penalties and punitive damages, after Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit revealed GMA intentionally violated Washington campaign finance laws. The case arose from Ferguson’s investigation of the finances of opposition to voter Initiative 522, which would have required labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in food sold to consumers.

Yes, Our Elections Are Rigged

Sign: "This is not democracy, it is a dictatorship" - Protest in Madrid, Spain. (Photo: Marta Breijo / Flickr)

By Mark Dunlea for Green Papers – We will never have an accurate vote count on election day as long as we leave the counting (and administration) to the two major parties, who throughout our history have repeatedly stolen votes to benefit those in power. Robert Caro, the Pulitzer-prize winning biographer of President Johnson, wrote about how LBJ got elected to the US Senate after he realized that he had allowed the Republicans to do a better job of vote theft in his first run

Brazil’s Impeachment Mastermind Summoned For Corruption Charges

Former speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress Eduardo Cunha is now one of the most unpopular politicians in the country. | Photo: AFP

By Staff of Tele Sur – Eduardo Cunha, long regarded as one of Brazil’s most powerful, corrupt and unpopular politicians, faces multimillion-dollar fraud charges. Federal authorities have summoned Eduardo Cunha, the controversial former head of Congress and chief mastermind behind the impeachment bid against ousted President Dilma Rousseff, to face charges over accusations he hid laundered money in secret Swiss bank accounts while he was in office.

Aide Planted Anti-Bank Comments In Paid Clinton Speech

Then-Secretary Hillary Clinton taking part in the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2011.

By Zaid Jilani for The Intercept – A TOP AIDE calculatingly inserted a passage critical of the financial industry into one of Hillary Clinton’s many highly-paid speeches to big banks, “precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats,” he wrote in an email posted by Wikileaks.

Chicago Police Investigation By Intercept

Superintendent Garry McCarthy, second from right, listens as Mayor Rahm Emanuel discusses a plan to reassign Chicago police officers from administrative duties to patrol during a press conference on Jan. 31, 2013. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Jamie Kalven for The Intercept – ON MAY 31, the city of Chicago agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two police officers who allege they suffered retaliation for reporting and investigating criminal activity by fellow officers. The settlement, for $2 million, was announced moments before the trial was to begin. As the trial date approached, city lawyers had made a motion to exclude the words “code of silence” from the proceedings.

Newsletter: Elections Expose the Oligarchs

Democracy Not Oligarchy

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The 2016 presidential election has shown how the duopoly, the two parties that represent big business interests and the wealthiest, are corrupted in ways that prevent the people’s voices from being heard, their necessities being met and the planet being protected from human greed. During the campaigns, leaks have given people a behind-the-scenes look at how the parties operate and research on the candidates shows their personal failures. They give voters an image of elites who behave as if the law does not apply to them and who put themselves ahead of the public interest. Last Friday was a day of embarrassment for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. A tape showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault in lewd ways has gotten the bulk of attention, but Wikileaks also released thousands of pages of The Podesta Emails, 2,060 emails and 170 attachments. John Podesta is the ultimate insider.

Wells Fargo Fined $185M For Fake Accounts; 5,300 Were Fired

'Conventional monetary policy has failed,' writes Brown. An economy in service of the people, not industry and the banks, is what's needed now. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

By Kevin McCoy for USA Today – Wells Fargo Bank, one of the nation’s largest banks, has been hit with $185 million in civil penalties for secretly opening millions of unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts that harmed customers, federal and state officials said Thursday. Employees of Wells Fargo (WFC) boosted sales figures by covertly opening the accounts and funding them by transferring money from customers’ authorized accounts without permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles city officials said.