National News:

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.,0,3955268.story

 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.”,0,1163345.column

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.

Rating Victims Didn’t Know S&P’s Toxic AAA Born of Greed

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.


 Paul Krugman: Global Austerity ‘An Unethical Experimentation On Human Beings’

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

National Politics:

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.

 Exclusive: Donors Trust, The Right’s Dark-Money ATM, Paid Out $30 Million in 2011

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


Scott Walker Dropped the Bomb Two Years Ago Today and Wisconsin’s Economy is Still Shattered’s-economy-still-shatt

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Dan Bice:   Vos finds a new way to hit up lobbyists.


 Priebus: Wisconsin a ‘great model’ for national GOP

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

Walker campaign a 50-state proposition

Sen. Tammy Baldwin says before Obamacare, 17 million kids with health conditions were “uninsurable”

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.
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