Tag Archives | Obama

When the President Goes to Prison

Jack (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

Jack (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0)

Andrew Cohen writes at the Brennan Center for Justice:

When President Barack Obama goes to Oklahoma Thursday and enters the medium-security federal prison FCI-El Reno he will be entering the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Prisons, part of the Justice Department, a bureaucratic fiefdom that is nearly as sprawling as the Department of Defense and in many ways as secret and unaccountable to the public and lawmakers as the CIA or the NSA. This even though 168,139 men and women (not counting 40,000 or so prisoners held in federal custody in private prisons) are incarcerated daily in a system staffed by approximately 40,000 federal employees.

When he walks through the doors of the prison, on his way to his inevitable photo opportunity with corrections officers and nonviolent drug offenders, the President will be entering the domain of officials in Washington who for decades have sanctioned the widespread use of solitary confinement, the systemic abuse and neglect of mentally ill prisoners, and deplorable shortages of properly trained corrections staff and medical professionals, to name just three of the systemic problems identified in recent reviews of the Bureau of Prisons.

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Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

David B. Gleason (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via Crooks and Liars:

Yahoo Money’ The Daily Ticker  is reporting that is has discovered a Reuters investigation that reveals$8.5 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996 that has never been accounted for.

You read that right. While Republican politicians rush to slash food stamps for the 47 million Americans living in poverty – the highest amount in nearly two decades –  Republican U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has the audacity to complain that $20 billion dollars in automatic sequester cuts to the massive and secretive $565.8 billion Defense Department budget are ” too steep, too deep, and too abrupt,” all while the Pentagon and the Defense Department are overseeing massive fraud, waste, and abuse.

For anyone wondering, Reuters reports that the D.O.D.’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China.

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What Both Fox and Vox Missed About Obama’s Georgetown Panel


Last week, the mainstream media was thrown a fresh chunk of talking points as Obama participated in a panel discussion at Georgetown University. The topic? Poverty. And, that being the topic, it was inevitable to bring up the most prominent US news source that salivates at the thought of increased misery and suffering for the poor: Fox News. From Obama’s remarks:

But part of it has also been — there’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been, who are you mad at, if you’re struggling; if you’re working, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead. And over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or to be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leaches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction.

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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The ‘Kingsman’ Scene That Could Shock and Awe Audiences

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In a highly suspenseful scene in the new blockbuster action and spy-parody film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, an interlude occurs just before the final fight sequence. This interlude is quite memorable because it depicts the actions of Obama and several other world leaders.

Warning: Major plot spoilers ahead.

Sony’s The Interview will go down as one of the most controversial films ever produced, given the firestorm over its plot about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. So we are curious to watch how the world — and the U.S. in particular — reacts to Fox’s new action movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service.

(Seriously, stop reading here if you don’t want any of the film’s plot spoiled for you.)

The film stars newcomer Taron Egerton as Eggsy, a rebellious teen recruited into the titular U.K. spy agency by Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Meanwhile, a billionaire named Valentine (Samuel L.

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Cruz Won’t Say How Much Wife Makes at Goldman Sachs

Zaid Jilani Via Alternet:

Why Did Ted Cruz Refuse to Disclose How Much His Wife—a VP at Goldman Sachs—Makes?

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has announced his intention to run for the presidency. He is widely expected to tap into the Tea Party base of the Republican party and posit himself as anti-establishment – in this case, an establishment that is too weak-kneed and too willing to compromise with the Democrats.

But a curious statement on Cruz’s financial disclosure shows that he may not be so opposed to the establishment he rails against. See, Cruz’s wife is a vice president at Goldman Sachs, the megabank so close to the powers in Washington that it is often jokingly referred to as “Government Sachs.” Because spousal income is shared, it is required for Members of Congress to list their spouse’s employement if it gives them over $1,000. They are not required to list the exact income their spouse receives, but they are certainly allowed to if they are willing to be that transparent.

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