Citigroup is a very large bank that has amassed a huge amount of political power. Its current and former executives consistently push laws and regulations in the direction of allowing Citi and other megabanks to take on more risk, particularly in the form of complex highly leveraged bets. Taking these risks allows the executives and traders to get a lot of upside compensation in the form of bonuses when things go well – while the downside losses, when they materialize, become the taxpayer’s problem.
I’ll give Congress some credit for appropriating funds to 11 out of 12 agencies through next September, though frankly, that’s their job, so keep the champagne on ice. And, of course, when you’re talking federal budgets, the devil’s in the details. And there are some ugly details in this budget.
For example, in addition to language that would weaken aspects of Dodd-Frank, the proposed legislation cuts the IRS budget.
Recent House Republican budgets have called for large, deep tax cuts that thankfully – as our future challenges are much more likely to call for more, not less, revenue – haven’t been legislated. In that regard, one way to view these IRS cuts, especially given some of the facts I report below, is as a back door way to reduce taxes, not by policy, but by undermining the agency’s ability to reduce tax evasion (not to mention, its role in implementing Obamacare).
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar's reference to American Indians as "wards of the federal government" has struck a harsh chord with tribal members and legal experts in the days following a discussion about a controversial Arizona land deal that would make way for the country's largest copper mine.
The Arizona Republican was responding to concerns from Phil Stago of the White Mountain Apache Tribe when he made the comment that stunned people at the round-table talk.
Stago said the phrase is antiquated and ignores advances made in tribes managing their own affairs and seeking equal representation when it comes to projects proposed on land they consider sacred.
"Jeff Campbell worked for 20 years as a criminal investigator for the state of New Mexico. He specialized in cold cases. These days, he applies his sleuthing skills to a case so cold it’s buried beneath a century and a half of windblown prairie.
“Here’s the crime scene,” Campbell says, surveying a creek bed and miles of empty grassland. A lanky, deliberate detective, he cups a corncob pipe to light it in the flurrying snow before continuing. “The attack began in predawn light, but sound carries in this environment. So the victims would have heard the hooves pounding towards them before they could see what was coming.”
Campbell is reconstructing a mass murder that occurred in 1864, along Sand Creek, an intermittent stream in eastern Colorado. Today, less than one person per square mile inhabits this arid region. But in late autumn of 1864, about 1,000 Cheyenne and Arapaho lived in tepees here, at the edge of what was then reservation land. Their chiefs had recently sought peace in talks with white officials and believed they would be unmolested at their isolated camp. "
The festival season for humans is a season of torture for elephants in Kerala. The cultural celebrations have barely begun in that Southern state of India, and five elephants have already run amok in the past two days.
A handler has been seriously injured and hospitalized, after a temple elephant in Kannur District ran amok, and created panic for six hours. The furious animal ran out of control as it toppled electric posts, trees and smothered all objects on its path, inflicting injuries on its own body.
"When the monsoon washes away the dust of the Indian summer from the landscape, huts and people of Bhopal, the dry basin behind the slum of J.P. Nagar turns into a lake. Laughing children swim in it, fishermen wait for the telltale tug on their lines to signal a catch, and buffalos greedily devour the succulent stems of water lilies.
In Hinduism, water is considered the source of all life. But in Bhopal, a cycle of death begins with each year's rainy season."
Transparency International is an anti-corruption organisation that has been around for more than 20 years. There’s still corruption in the world, but we are not about to give up.
"Transparency International was founded in 1993 to fight corruption. The founders realised that corruption wasn’t just robbing development aid budgets and public funds intended for community schools or hospitals; it was weakening the economy more broadly, making public institutions less effective, and disproportionately hurting the lives of the most vulnerable."
Freedom Industries President Gary Southern was one of four company officials indicted in connection with spilling chemicals into the West Virginia water supply in January. Photograph: Craig Cunningham/AP A federal grand jury has indicted four former executives of a chemical company on pollution charges in a January spill that prompted a drinking water ban for 300,000 West Virginia residents.
An indictment unsealed on Wednesday charged ex-Freedom Industries presidents Gary Southern and Dennis P Farrell and two others with failing to ensure that Freedom operated the steel storage tank in a reasonable and environmentally sound manner.
An estimated 100,000 workers in the country's agriculture industry are under 14. Alejandrina, 12, wanted to be a teacher. But she hasn't been to school for years while traveling with her family to pick crops.
A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that Walmart managers in California had illegally disciplined employees for going on strike and unlawfully threatened to close a store if many of its employees joined a group demanding higher wages.
In a decision made public on Wednesday, Geoffrey Carter, an N.L.R.B. administrative law judge, also found that a Walmart manager had illegally intimidated workers by saying, “If it were up to me, I’d shoot the union.” In addition, the judge said it was unlawful for Walmart managers to tell employees that co-workers returning from a one-day strike would be looking for a new job.
WASHINGTON -- After police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown to death in August in Ferguson, Missouri, he claimed the teenager had reached into his waistband, causing Wilson to fear Brown had a weapon. Brown was unarmed.
"Guns do come out of waistbands," said Eugene O'Donnell, former police officer and current lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Yet the waistband claim has become a cliche of the aftermath of police shootings.
"Some departments around the country need to be reined in on a lot of this stuff," O'Donnell said, adding that the recent uproar over the killing of Brown and others is a good opportunity to address police practices before and after shootings.
Scouring recent news archives, The Huffington Post turned up many stories about police officers shooting armed suspects who reached for their waistbands. But it also turned up many stories in which police cite waistbands after shooting unarmed suspects. Here is a partial list of unarmed "waistband suspects" shot since 2010:
Texas may have the country’s highest rate of people who lack health insurance and rank in the top 10 states with the highest poverty levels, but Gov. Rick Perry can’t be bothered. In an interview with the Washington Post published today, Perry suggested that the Bible proves that poverty is “always going to be with us.”
Donors to Gregory R. Ball’s successful campaigns for the New York State Legislature might have been surprised by where he spent their money.
He financed excursions to Cancún and Acapulco, and a leisurely road trip on his way back. He sprang for thousands of dollars in bar and restaurant bills in Texas — and entry fees for an extreme obstacle-course race called Tough Mudder.
The freewheeling spending by Mr. Ball, a Republican senator from New York City’s northern suburbs, was only a sliver of the questionable conduct turned up by investigators for the Moreland Commission, a powerful anticorruption panel that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created last year to clean up Albany.
But Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, abruptly shut the commission down as part of a budget deal with the State Legislature in March. Government watchdog groups were outraged. Federal prosecutors began a criminal inquiry.
The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.
But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.
“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”
Police killings of black youth in Ferguson and Cleveland have outraged many in the US. The tragic events show how deep the societal divide remains between blacks and whites. Many have given up hope that President Obama can change anything.