And that’s the way it was: February 11, 1990 — South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela is freed from prison after 27 years
Federal Prison Population Spiked 790 Percent Since 1980
Police seeking Dorner opened fire in a second case of mistaken identity
Torrance police say the man was driving a pickup resembling the fugitive’s. The incident happened just after the LAPD fired on women delivering newspapers nearby.
UN group says US attacks, air strikes kill hundreds of Afghan children in recent years
9/11 Case Is Delayed as Defense Voices Fears on Eavesdropping
Lawyers in the case against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others said they worry that their communications may be subject to government monitoring.
Petition from Public Citizen:
Don’t Let Wall Street Offshore Its Recklessness — Urge the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to Keep Risky Derivatives Trades in Check, No Matter Where They Occur
Why the U.S. Could Use a Financial Transaction Tax
AARP’s petition: Tell Pres. Obama: Keep Your Promise! (don’t link Social Security to chained CPI)
AARP is ramping up efforts against chained CPI with the State of the Union around the corner. The group has sent 4 million emails asking supporters to sign a petition, urging the president to “strengthen Social Security without cutting the benefits of current retirees.” AARP will also be running six weeks of national and in-district ads and launching an online widget where people can enter their information and find out how the chained CPI would affect them.
10 great points from David Leonhardt’s ‘Here’s the Deal’
❖ Bob Diamond, former CEO of Barclays, had a Tax Avoidance Unit. It’s being closed now, having “been accused of orchestrating tax avoidance on an ‘industrial’ scale and has generated vast profits for the bank”. Staff bonuses of £2bn, however, will continue.
❖ Tom Hayes, “the former [UBS] senior trader charged by the US Department of Justice in connection with interest rate-rigging, says the scandal goes “much, much higher than me” . . . and warns “senior bank executives” could be implicated.
S&P Suit Shows DOJ Knows about Wall Street Corruption
❖ Those two “big lawsuits brought by federal and state governments” against credit agency Standard & Poor’s “don’t point the finger at any particular person who was responsible for these dastardly doings.” Why? The “best and brightest were diverted to anti-terrorism cases [after 9/11] and not replaced.”
Why the Government’s Lawsuit Against Standard & Poor’s Matters (Our Future)
Richard Eskow writes that taking S&P to court for its mortgage practices is a good idea not just because there’s a mountain of evidence that the agency committed serious fraud, but because their overall job performance is barely worthy of a junk rating.
Sen. Kaufman On JPMorgan Chase: Private Lawsuit Found Evidence the Feds Didn’t
Report: Hundreds of former SEC employees representing clients before agency — UBS, JPMorgan Chase among prominent companies potentially benefiting
Counterparties: When two mandates aren’t enough
TREASURY TAKES TARP LOSS — Per SNL Financial: “The U.S. Treasury is starting to realize heavier losses as it continues to auction its CPP investments in banks, many of which are behind on their dividend payments. Last week, the Treasury sold $295.8 million in CPP securities, taking a loss of $104.5 million before fees, a hit amounting to over a third of the principal amount auctioned. The 35 percent aggregate discount is the steepest seen thus far in the multibank auction process by a long shot. Seven out of the 11 auctioned banks are well behind on their dividend payments, further crippling the Treasury’s overall return.”
Sherrod Brown op-ed: An end to ‘too big to fail’
George Will! Time to break up the big banks
Banks Should Defer Bonuses for Up to 10 Years, Bank of England committee member says
The Scruffy and the Stuffy Agree: Cap CEO Pay
Ban the credit ratings agencies! Firms like Standard & Poor, charged with fraud by the DOJ, are criminally incompetent and serve no public purpose
Lew to face questions over Cayman fund & Citi bonus
Honeywell’s Dave Cote:
Super Wealthy CEO Admits Spending Cuts Will Hurt The Economy, Wants Them To Happen Anyway
❖ As union membership declined–from around 36% of workers in the late ’50s to 6.6% today–the share of US income taken by the top 1% rose–from around 10% to 23.5%. The “assault on unions has been deliberate and merciless”. What can be done to “claw back middle class wealth”.
Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again.
Rings of Unemployment (NYT)
Catherine Rampell highlights research showing that four out of five Americans were either laid off themselves or have friends and relatives who were laid off during the last few years. The other one out of five don’t have very many friends, for obvious reasons.
This Week in Poverty: Revealing the Real TANF (The Nation)
Greg Kaufmann argues that the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program can only be counted as a bipartisan success if the goal was to minimize the amount of assistance those needy families get rather than the amount of assistance that they need.
Austerity’s Unintended Consequences: In Spain and Italy, fiscal belt-tightening has improved public finances, but it’s wreaking havoc on national politics
Greeks forgo winter heating after jump in fuel tax
Factory in Greece starts production under workers’ control
How to Better Mobilize Citizen Volunteers for Disasters
Pro-gun demonstrators bring their message and weapons inside Oregon Capitol
Current gun debate may not help beleaguered ATF — Agency crippled by weak laws, paltry budgets and Congressional restrictions
NYPD Surveillance Operation Goes Too Far
Is U.S. Considering Expansion of Targeted Kill List Into North Africa?
“We’re Not Going To Be Pushed Around by the Antis” Julie Burkhart is working to bring abortion care back to Wichita
Venture Capital’s Massive, Terrible Idea For The Future Of College
Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaires
Watchdog Finds Well-Oiled Revolving Door Linking SEC and Industry
Quietly Killing a Consumer Watchdog (NYT)
An editorial argues that the changes to the CFPB that Republicans are demanding before they’ll allow Richard Cordray’s nomination to go through are just another excuse for them to water down financial reform like they’re tending bar at the worst dive in town.
FEC chairwoman warns of super PAC corruption
Nate Silver: New Rove Group Could Backfire on G.O.P.
The Tea Party has made the latest move in its budding war with Karl Rove. The Tea Party Patriots, one of the most prominent groups, launched a new super PAC to target “‘big spending’ politicians of both parties”
The Republican Civil War Starts in Iowa — Can Karl Rove keep Steve King out of the Senate?
Virginia Republicans Advance Voter ID Legislation
Amicus Brief, Shelby County, Alabama, v. Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States of America, et al
Gun groups extend influence battle to state houses
Ohio Governor’s Tax Plan Would Cut Taxes For Wealthy, Raise Them On The Poor
How The White House Inadvertently Blasted Paul Ryan’s Budget To His Face
What’s Now Happening On Federal Budget is Worse Than The Fiscal Cliff
Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind
If President Obama tuned in to the past week’s bracing debate on Capitol Hill about terrorism, executive power, secrecy and due process, he might have recognized the arguments his critics were making: He once made some of them himself.
Chris Hedges: The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State
Chris Hedges on Challenging NDAA Indefinite Detention and the “Corporate Coup d’etat”
❖ Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on extra-judicial killing by drone: Set up something similar to the foreign intelligence surveillance court to “review targeted killings of Americans”, with a Congressional committee kept informed.
Senator Angus King: Let’s Have a Targeted Killing Court
The Nominee the Senate Won’t Obstruct — Unpacking John Brennan’s confirmation hearing
“He Was The Agency”: Ex-CIA Analyst Questions Brennan Claim He Couldn’t Stop Waterboarding, Torture
The law of war does not shield the CIA and John Brennan’s drone kill list — The US prosecuted Omar Khadr in Guantánamo for not being a lawful combatant. Exactly the same applies to the civilian CIA
The Drone Makers And Their Friends In Washington
Drones: Despite Problems, A Push to Expand Domestic Use
Seattle grounds police drone program — Mayor Mike McGinn ordered the Seattle Police Department to abandon its plan to use drones after residents and privacy advocates protested
To catch a leak — Does the US government have a monopoly on transparency?
“Most Transparent Administration Ever” Is Still Not
Wonkbook: A policy primer for the 2013 SOTU
South Dakota Tribes Accuse State Of Violating Indian Welfare Act
Michele Bachmann uses liberal super PAC attack to raise funds
Bachmann campaign’s use of contact list comes under more fire
Bush, Jr.’s Paintings and the Art of Projecting Guilt — The former president hates being on the couch, but hacking has put him there.
Billionaire fracking brothers donated most to successful state legislative candidates (…them Wilks brothers are up to no good again)
The Gradual Selling of America the Beautiful
U.S. ‘Divestment’ Movement Gaining Momentum
❖ Coal companies “pay 25 cents a ton for coal from public lands and then can turn around and sell it for $35 a ton”. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is supposed to be checking to see if, in addition, the coal companies are low-balling “the value of coal excavated from federal lands” in order to pay lower fees to the government.
Boosted By Methane Releases, Oil And Gas Sector Is Number Two in Global Warming Pollution
Pipeline critics: Nebraska Gov. Heineman lacks authority to push Keystone through
Will the Keystone XL Pipeline Go Down?
Koch Brothers Driving Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to Cut Out Venezuelan Oil
In North Carolina, fracking rights rise to surface
The boom in U.S. oil drilling hasn’t lowered gas prices
Attention investors: Climate policy could knock off half the value of fossil fuel companies
Ethanol Plants Idled Since Drought Began
Safety Group Blows Lid on ‘Secret Virus’ Hidden in GMO Crops
As Brennan ‘Escapes,’ Criticism of Media ‘Self-Censorship’ on Drone Program Grows
Sheldon Adelson takes exception with Center blog post
Voter Disenfranchisement Efforts Hit Desperate New Low In NRO Hit Piece
Susan Crawford on Why U.S. Internet Access is Slow, Costly and Unfair
An Insider’s View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution
Notes on the media on the media
The International Anti-Corruption Academy is offering a new Master’s program in Anti-Corruption Studies. The degree is aimed at professionals working in corporate compliance, internal oversight, law enforcement, investigative journalism, and more
Media Ethics and Those Hacked Bush Family E-mails
How Media Outlets Are Using Vine To Deliver The News — Some Better Than Others
Why the quants won’t take over Hollywood
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Dan Bice: Vos finds a new way to hit up lobbyists.
- Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter. 200 attend listening session on Wis. mining bill.
- Eau Claire Leader Telegram. Most at Ashland hearing oppose open pit iron ore mine
- Anti-mine sentiment dominates public forum in northern Wisconsin
On his Political Environment blog, James Rowen uses history to show the sordid record mining companies have compiled over the years with their disregard for the environment. But the state’s power brokers are leading the charge to place the future of northern Wisconsin in their hands.
Grothman to Mellen Residents: “Trust the Company”
- Green Bay Press Gazette. 3 contend for spot on Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Supreme Court candidates to report spending
Walker administration stays on sidelines as feds set up Wisconsin’s health insurance exchange
The case for accepting federal money to fill holes in BadgerCare is overwhelming
- Lt. Gov. Kleefisch’s spouse backs three Republicans in race
Racine Journal Times editorial: Don’t change electoral vote process
The Appleton Post-Crescent weighs in on Gov. Walker’s proposals to expand the school voucher program. That’s wrong, the paper says, and another assault on public schools.
- Gov. Walker. Developing Wisconsin’s workforce: $100 million investment in our future.
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Scott Walker seeks $100 million for job training, data tracking.
- League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network. Letter to Gov. Walker regarding state budget.
Forbes Names Wisconsin to Dubious List of “Top Ten States People are Fleeing”
- Janesville Gazette. Editorial: Fundamentals must be focus for job creation.
- Chippewa Herald. Employers complain about unfair unemployment system.
- WEDC. Continues push for business growth in Wisconsin
Addressing damage done by U.S. Chamber and WMC
Madison Chamber of Commerce allies with labor
The New York Times reports the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are working together in support of immigration reform.
A similar dynamic is forming locally, with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce forming an apparent political alliance with a group of unions to support candidates for the Madison City Council.
- Three reforms nobody seems to care enough about
Chris Matthews says Sen. Ron Johnson was elected in ‘very low turnout’ contest
- La Crosse Tribune. Planned Parenthood to refile challenge to Wis. law.
- Sheboygan Press. Midwest firms coupled to high-speed rail.