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“Millennials Rising” Super PAC Is 95% Funded by Old Men

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 22:46

According to recent FEC filings, 95 percent of the donations to the Super PAC “Millennials Rising” — originally called “Millennials for Jeb” — comes from men 60 years and older.

Of the $54,960 total raised by the Super PAC, $50,000, or 91 percent, comes from the snowy-haired 72-year-old billionaire Robert A. Day. He is the grandson of Superior Oil founder William Myron Keck and a former investment manager. Day has also given $1 million to the pro-Bush Super PAC Right to Rise.

The twitter account of Millennials Rising describes Millennials Rising as “started and run by Millennials.”  Its website calls for “limited government” and simultaneously decries both the national debt and taxes as too high.

Four other non-millennials have donated to Millennials Rising, three of whom are listed in FEC filings as “retired”:

• Harry McMahon, 61, gave $1,000. McMahon was an investment banker with Merrill Lynch for three decades until he resigned last year.

• George Thompson, 71 years old and retired, gave $300.

• Daniel Hillman, 58 years old and retired, donated $250.

• Richard Agnew, 64, donated $750. Agnew is chairman of Van Ness Feldman, a large Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in the energy sector.

The Super PAC does have three other donors who are in fact millennials:

• Remington Tonar, 28, donated $1,000.

• Harout Samra, age 33, gave $500.

• C. W. Lucas Agnew, the 22-year-old founder of Millennials Rising, has donated $230. Agnew is currently a staff assistant on the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

An ad recently released by the Super PAC attacks Donald Trump as a “reality TV star” and pulses with exactly the kind of rock soundtrack to which, we understand, the youth of today respond:

(Thank you to Dave Levinthal of Public Integrity, who pointed out on Twitter that Millennials Rising is bankrolled by Day.)

Read also:

Top photo: Robert A. Day: Brian VanderBrug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The post “Millennials Rising” Super PAC Is 95% Funded by Old Men appeared first on The Intercept.

Lügen des Obama-Regimes in Sachen IS entlarvt

Indymedia antimil - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 20:15
von: anonym am: 04.02.2016 - 20:15

Nach dem Spionageflug über Syrien waren die Deutschen geschockt ........ Das Kommando der Luftwaffe war geschockt, als es während eines Spionageflugs über der Kriegszone der Levante „über jeden Zweifel erhabene“ Beweise für eine volle Zusammenarbeit der USA mit den Terroristen des islamischen Terrors beim Raub von irakischen und syrischen Öls feststellte und dabei die Lügen des Obama-Regimes bezüglich des WIRKLICHEN KONFLIKTs in diesem Gebiet entlarvte.
Gemäß eines Berichtes haben am 9. Januar 2016 zwei Tornado-Flugzeuge während ihres dreistündigen Fluges über den Irak und Syrien fast 1200 Benzinfahrzeuge und Lastwagen des islamischen Staates ausgemacht, die gestohlenes Öl transportierten und dann über die Grenze in die Türkei fuhren. Diese Fahrzeuge fuhren unter völliger Bewachung der Luftwaffe der USA und der Türkei, was vor Kurzem auch aus dem Weltall festgestellt worden war! ..................... http://www.nrhz.de/flyer/beitrag.php?id=22499 .................

Eric Holder Makes Ads for Hillary Clinton While Making Deals for Corporate Clients

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 19:48

Former Obama administration attorney general Eric Holder is prominently featured in a Hillary Clinton campaign ad running in South Carolina. “If you want to make sure Republicans don’t take us backward, help Hillary move us forward,” Holder says.

Meanwhile, in his post-public service life as a partner with white-collar defense firm Covington & Burling, Holder is upholding his Justice Department’s tradition of negotiating lower fines for corporate offenses, albeit from the other side of the negotiating table.

The Associated Press reports that Holder, whose Justice Department prosecuted no major executive for the fraud that led to the 2008 financial crisis, is representing South African telecommunications conglomerate MTN in a $3.9 billion dispute with the country of Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria did not deactivate 5.2 million unregistered cell phone SIM cards after the Nigerian Communications Commission ordered them to do so by August 2015. Extremist groups operating in Nigeria use the cards for communications in kidnappings and attacks.

The commission initially imposed a $5.2 billion fine, which MTN challenged in court and got reduced to $3.9 billion. Now, Holder “is leading MTN’s legal team” in attempting to get the fine further reduced or eliminated, according to the commission’s spokesman, Tony Ojobo. The Federal High Court in Lagos has given MTN and the commission until March 18 to negotiate a settlement. Holder is negotiating directly with Nigerian officials, the AP reported.

During his Justice Department leadership, Holder specialized in negotiating settlements with corporations. The Justice Department issued a record number of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, allowing corporations charged with misconduct to buy their way out of trouble without jail time or clawed-back bonuses.

Covington & Burling defends corporate clients all over the world, including telecom, pharmaceutical, and financial interests. They openly promote getting bank clients off the hook in their marketing materials.

Holder defended corporations at the firm before becoming attorney general, and immediately returned there at the end of his tenure, calling it “home for me.” A year earlier, he purchased a condo that sits 300 feet from Covington & Burling’s new headquarters in Washington. The firm even held open a corner office in that new building for Holder while he was a sitting attorney general, while he negotiated settlements with Covington & Burling clients.

But Holder bristles at the suggestion that there might be a connection between his current employer and his conduct at Justice.

Lanny Breuer, head of the criminal division at DOJ under Holder, also returned to Covington & Burling after government work. In all, six former Justice Department officials now work at the firm.

Related:

The post Eric Holder Makes Ads for Hillary Clinton While Making Deals for Corporate Clients appeared first on The Intercept.

Syrien-Krieg: Frieden vertagt

Hintergrund.de - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 18:32

Für den Abbruch der Syrien-Friedensgespräche macht der Westen allein Damaskus und Moskau verantwortlich – die einseitige Schuldzuweisung wird den Tatsachen jedoch nicht gerecht –

Von SEBASTIAN RANGE, 4. Februar 2016 -

Nur wenige Tage nach ihrem Beginn sind die Genfer Friedensgespräche für Syrien vertagt worden. Ein neuer Anlauf soll am 25. Februar versucht werden, wie der UN-Sonderbeauftragte Staffan de Mistura am Mittwochabend mitteilte. Auf die Gespräche hatten sich die Mitglieder der Internationalen Unterstützungsgruppe für Syrien (ISSG) Anfang November auf der Wiener Konferenz geeinigt. Bei dem Treffen in der Schweiz soll über die Bildung einer Übergangsregierung und ein Ende des fünfjährigen Krieges

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An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud

The Intercept - Engl. - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 16:17

Say you’re the newly elected president of the United States, and you want to make prosecuting corporate crime a top priority.

Where do you start? Here would be good.

A new group called Bank Whistleblowers United have just pushed out a comprehensive plan they think would put the executive branch back in the business of enthusiastically identifying, indicting, and convicting financial fraudsters — restoring accountability while protecting the public.

The cumulative credibility of the group’s four founders is extremely strong. Richard Bowen is the Citigroup whistleblower who unsuccessfully warned top management about the rotten condition of loans inside mortgage-backed securities. Michael Winston spoke out about similarly corrupt practices at non-bank mortgage originator Countrywide. Gary Aguirre, a Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, was fired for refusing to let a Wall Street banker out of an insider trading investigation.

And their ringleader is William Black, an outspoken fraud-fighter and longtime white-collar criminologist who was a two-fisted bank regulator during the savings and loan crisis and now teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC).

“The common theme,” Black said with characteristic bluntness, “is the unbelievably pathetic job of the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

One of the first steps the group proposes – echoing the recommendations Senator Elizabeth Warren made last week – involves appointing aggressive leadership at federal agencies with no conflicts of interest with the entities they regulate, and hiring enough staff trained in criminology and financial fraud to attack the problem.

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Black. “The Justice Department forgot there was a wheel.”

The template for the plan is the saving and loan crisis of the late 1980s, when just one federal agency, the now-defunct Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) issued over 30,000 criminal referrals and over 1,000 major bank executives went to prison.

By comparison, in the 2008 financial crisis, OTS and their bank regulator counterparts made zero outside criminal referrals on financial crimes. And more recently, the rate of corporate prosecutions has been pathetic.

The whistleblowers would restore a job position from that earlier era: Criminal referral coordinators at every federal agency to meet with their counterparts in law enforcement to press for prosecutions and continually improve the process. They would also issue monthly referral reports to make the process more transparent. George W. Bush eliminated criminal referral coordinators in his first term.

Federal agencies would also be required to create a “Top 100” list of elite fraud schemes in their jurisdiction, borrowing another successful technique from the S&L crisis. These top 100 schemes would hold priority over small fry prosecutions that look good on a tally of convictions but don’t attack the most damaging fraud.

“When we created the Top 100 project,” said Bill Black, “the assistant U.S. attorney had to report every month to someone who got on your ass if the cases weren’t progressing.”

Black says the Top 100 list led to prosecuting 300 savings and loans and 600 officials. “And despite the banks having the best lawyers in the world, we still got a 90 percent conviction rate.”

The proposal would end the emphasis on deferred prosecution agreements that let corporations and individuals get away with paying a fine or agreeing to independent monitoring instead of facing a criminal conviction.

It would end prosecutions of mortgage fraud “mice” – cases against people who defraud banks – and transfer the resources to financial fraud “lions” – when banks defraud people.

It would end an existing partnership with the Mortgage Bankers Association trade group. “In essence,” the Bank Whistleblowers Group writes, “DoJ has made itself the collection agency for the worst criminal enterprises in the nation.”

The whistleblowers even believe that quick action could lead to immediate indictments. For instance, they call for the public release of the still-secret reports from Clayton Holdings, a third-party due diligence firm that tested mortgage loans from practically every major bank during the housing bubble, and told the banks that 1 in 3 were improperly made. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chair Phil Angelides this week identified the Clayton reports as the key to a “last chance for justice.” The statute of limitations on the final securitizations doesn’t end until 2017.

“It’s already baked in that this will be the biggest strategic failure of DOJ in history,” said Black. “But they could still indict the top ten frauds.”

Another novel technique would be to impose individual minimum capital requirements (IMCRs) commensurate with the risk banks pose based on their size, activities, and compensation systems. The whistleblower group believes that banking regulators have had the authority to do this since 1989 if they make a factual finding that it would prevent systemic risk.

Black said the capital requirements would shrink the size of institutions, because being big would become considerably less profitable. “If you assessed this on an actuarial basis based on risk, the capital requirement would be so high that nobody would do it,” he said.

As a banking regulator in the 1980s, Black famously blew the whistle on the “Keating Five” Senators who tried to intimidate him into ending the federal takeover on Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings Bank. He has assisted the governments of France, Iceland, and Ireland on how to prosecute fraud epidemics. Only in the United States have his efforts been rebuffed.

“All the candidates claim they’re going to take on Wall Street, we take them at their word,” Black said. “This is how you move it from verbiage. Even the most conservative candidate should be eager to sign on to most of the plan.”

A separate pledge attached to the group’s plan would have candidates vow to not take campaign contributions from any financial firm charged with committing fraud. Officers of the firm would be limited to contributions of no more than $250.

The group also asks the Justice Department to be a little more respectful of financial-fraud whistleblowers like themselves in the future. “There hasn’t been a single press conference where [DOJ] has thanked the whistleblowers or even identified them,” Black said. “If you wanted to encourage the rule of law, you would praise them as opposed to claiming credit for their work. My mom drilled into me, when people do nice things, say thank you.”

 

The post An Idiot’s Guide to Prosecuting Corporate Fraud appeared first on The Intercept.

SIKO: Demonstration und Protest-Kette

BIFA München - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 12:18
Sam., 13. Feb. 16, 13:00 Uhr Demonstration und Protest-Kette gegen die NATO-Kriegstagung

zum Aufruf
Vorprogramm ab 12:30 Uhr 13:00 Uhr Auftaktkundgebung Stachus/Karlsplatz es sprechen:

  • Claus Schreer - Aktionsbündnis
  • Bedia Özgökce Ertan - Abgeordnete im Türkischen Parlament, Übersetzung Cetin Oraner
13:45 Uhr Umzingelung des Tagungsortes der NATO-Kriegs-Strategen Demonstration - über Lenbachplatz, Platz der Opfer des Nationalsozialismus - Odeonsplatz - zum Marienplatz
Protest-Kette - über Neuhauser Str. - Kaufingerstr. - zum Marienplatz ca. 15 Uhr Schlußkundgebung - Marienplatz dort sprechen
  • Rainer Braun - Kooperation für den Frieden
  • Claudia Haydt - Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI)
  • Mike Nagler - Attac

Musikprogramm u.a. mit Sam Rasta, den "Ruam"

Veranstalter:  AKTIONSBÜNDNIS GEGEN DIE NATO-SICHERHEITSKONFERENZ Ort:  München Stachus ... Marienplatz

Die Nazi-Petry

Rationalgalerie - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 01:00
Das Monster kroch aus der CDU : Ja, ja, sie soll das fröhliche Flüchtlings-Abschießen vorläufig abgeblasen haben, die Nazisse Petry, die Frau aus dem CDU-Nachfolgeverein AfD. Aber der Satz bleibt: "Zur Ultima Ratio“ – hatte sie auf die Frage, wie denn der Grenzübertritt von Flüchtlingen zu verhindern...

ARD-Lexikon des Verunglückens - der Schmock des Monats

Rationalgalerie - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 01:00
Nicht korrekt, nicht geglückt, aber gesendet : Wenn die ARD-Beobachtungs-Stelle Bräutigam & Klinkhammer mal eine Antwort auf ihre Beschwerden von der ARD bekommt, die länger als drei Sätzen ist, dann schwiemelt sie: Man hält die TAGESSCHAU-Verarbeitung einer OXFAM -Studie zwar nicht für „geglückt“ und würde das „nicht...

Ein Marshallplan für Mittelost

German Foreign Policy - Gio, 04/02/2016 - 00:00
(Eigener Bericht) - Die Bundesregierung will ihren "politischen, humanitären und finanziellen Einsatz" im Nahen und Mittleren Osten "in diesem Jahr massiv ausweiten". Dies kündigt das Auswärtige Amt an. Wie das Ministerium mitteilt, wird dazu jetzt der Diplomat Joachim Rücker als "Sonderbeauftragter für die Stabilitätspartnerschaft Mittlerer Osten" tätig. Er soll die zunehmenden deutschen Einflussmaßnahmen in der Region bündeln. Dabei handelt es sich neben den Einsätzen der Bundeswehr, die auf eine steigende Zahl von Staaten in der Region ausgeweitet werden, unter anderem um Vorhaben, die syrische und irakische Kriegsflüchtlinge von der Weiterreise in die EU abhalten sollen. Diesem Ziel dient die Syrien-Konferenz, die am heutigen Donnerstag in Anwesenheit von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel in London stattfindet. Mit weiteren Maßnahmen bemüht sich Berlin, die Länder des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens nach Deutschland zu orientieren; dazu wird unter anderem das Entwicklungsministerium in Jordanien aktiv. Wie Aussagen des Leiters der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Wolfgang Ischinger, belegen, hat die jüngste Einflussoffensive Berlins einen geostrategischen Hintergrund.

New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform

The Intercept - Engl. - Mer, 03/02/2016 - 19:48

Lobbyists, government officials, and technology executives celebrated news from Strasbourg on Tuesday morning that the European Commission and the United States had reached an agreement to reinstate the free flow of massive amounts of data between companies in the United States and the European Union, safeguarding users’ privacy at a new level.

But while some cheered the new agreement, dubbed the “Privacy Shield,” and thanked negotiators for providing “certainty” to business people who deal in big data, many were quite a bit more skeptical of its success and said they would reserve final judgment until the agreement is formally spelled out on paper, which could take weeks or months.

The Article 29 Working Party — a data protection authority set up the European Parliament — said on Wednesday morning that it was pleased an agreement had been reached, but expressed concerns about the commitment of the United States — especially regarding the scope of its surveillance activities and relevant legal remedies available to all people. The Party said it would not formally weigh in until the text of the agreement surfaces, and assigned a new deadline to release it: the end of February.

The scramble to come up with a new data sharing arrangement kicked off when the European Court of Justice (CJEU), the top court of the European Union, ruled on October 6 that the NSA’s indiscriminate overseas surveillance interfered with the “fundamental rights” of its citizens, whose data it has the responsibility to protect. The Safe Harbor agreement— the early 2000’s principles agreed upon to guarantee U.S. companies were respecting European digital rights when transferring data overseas — was deemed invalid.

Austrian law student Max Schrems brought the issue to the attention of the CJEU, after suing Facebook for ignoring European privacy laws when it transferred his personal data to the U.S., where he argued it was subject to collection by the NSA.

The European Commission assigned a deadline of January 31st for negotiators to reach a new deal, threatening to unleash Europe’s Data Protection Agencies to pursue penalties against companies breaking European privacy laws. Negotiators missed the deadline by a few days, but have largely reassured the DPAs with the announcement of a new deal.

The new agreement calls for an ombudsman in the State Department to review complaints from Europeans about U.S. privacy infractions as well as for written promises from U.S. government officials that they will not spy indiscriminately on European citizens. It also calls for yearly reviews. So far, however, there has been no mention of a deadline for Congress to reform its spying programs, including Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the NSA to sweep up large streams of overseas digital communications with practically no privacy protections.

While agreeing that the Privacy Shield deal is important for data protection, critical observers said that the negotiations had totally missed the point, which was to encourage surveillance reform in both jurisdictions.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a member of the European Parliament serving on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs, quickly lashed out at the deal, calling it “an affront to the European Court of Justice” that “foresees no legally binding improvements” to American or European spying laws.

“There has only been a political agreement on the general framework” of the data-sharing arrangement, Albrecht told me in a telephone interview. “The deadline has passed, and they have not delivered. This is not really improving the legal situation of European citizens — there’s not any change in the legal text foreseen.” He said the U.S. was only required to “make a promise that everything’s fine” and appoint “an ombudsman, who is just the messenger for answers that are the same” about U.S. policy.

Estelle Masse, a policy analyst for the Brussels-based rights group Access Now, also thought the deal was built more on politics than a genuine intention to reform.

“For months the negotiators were having political discussion about a legal question,” she wrote in an email to The Intercept. “The discussions were about whether the ruling was ‘anti-American’ or if the EU was rejecting the U.S. as a democracy. This is neither the case nor the point. As a result, what we have today is an attempt at a political fix.”

European Digital Rights plainly described Tuesday’s announcement as Europe’s “plans to back down from defending the European Court’s ruling and accept a new badly flawed arrangement.” Joe McNamee, the rights group’s executive director, predicted that the deal would be a short term stop gap: “Today’s announcement means that European citizens and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic face an extended period of uncertainty while waiting for this new stop-gap solution to fail.”

Businesses and trade groups, while feverishly releasing congratulatory press releases as the deal was announced on Tuesday, worried privately that they may soon be right back in the same uncertain position.

“Any risk of legal challenge is unsettling for business,” said Mike Uehlein, a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association during a phone call with The Intercept. While he emphasized that the trade group is “excited [negotiators have] continued to make this a priority,” he told me that a second European Court of Justice challenge would put “everyone back in the sticky situation, wondering what’s going to happen. It has not been fun.”

Daniel Castro, a vice president at the Information, Technology, and Innovation Foundation, agreed that “uncertainty is always bad for business” but expressed optimism that good faith efforts to arrive at an agreement would likely continue. “The agreement shows that U.S. and EU policymakers are deeply committed to finding an interoperable solution.”

A Legislative Olive Branch

The Judicial Redress Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., was designed to offer some limited legal remedy to Europeans who believe their privacy rights have been infringed. Many observers suggested the bill was a sign of good faith that Americans were taking European concerns seriously, even if it didn’t provide much concrete reform. But Europeans felt insulted when Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) tacked on amendments to the bill in the final hour attempting to limit the ability of European citizens to sue in U.S. courts when infringing on matters of national security. So far, the Redress Act has failed to pass, even as sources on Capitol Hill said the bill had been “hotlined” or fast-tracked for a vote on Tuesday.

Even if the Redress Act had passed without the new amendments, critics say it would have been irrelevant to the core of the CJEU decision — NSA surveillance.

“The Redress Act doesn’t deal with any of the surveillance concerns in the Schrems case,” said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. policy manager for Access Now, over the phone on Tuesday. “We do think it is really important that substantive surveillance reform be put into place before [the agreement] can survive challenge. And EU member states need to take a look at their own surveillance practices.”

The Judicial Redress Act was proposed as a remedy to the Umbrella Agreement, which deals with the transatlantic transfer of private information between law enforcement agencies — not Safe Harbor.

The Redress Act and Safe Harbor “are politically tied together by Congress,” said Albrecht to The Intercept. “But in legal nature they don’t have anything to do with each other. Access to European companies’ data is not covered by this Redress bill.”

Top photo: The emblem of the European Court of Justice.

The post New Safe Harbor Data “Deal” May Be More Politicking Than Surveillance Reform appeared first on The Intercept.

„Mogelpackung“: Datenschutz-Deal mit den USA stößt auf Skepsis

Hintergrund.de - Mer, 03/02/2016 - 16:58

(03.02.2016/hg/dpa)

Die Einigung der Europäischen Kommission mit den USA über eine neue Rechtsgrundlage für den transatlantischen Datenaustausch ist bei Datenschutz-Aktivisten, aber auch bei Wirtschaftsvertretern weitgehend auf Kritik und Vorbehalte gestoßen. Wirklich konkret sei der vereinbarte „EU-US Datenschutzschild“ bislang nicht, bemängelte das Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft in Köln. „Tausende Unternehmen in Europa haben damit immer noch keine Planungssicherheit.“

US-Handelsministerin Penny Pritzker sprach dagegen von einer „historischen Vereinbarung“ und einem „großen Erfolg für den Datenschutz und für die Unternehmen auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks“. Die Vereinbarung biete einen sicheren Rahmen, sodass tausende von Unternehmen in Europa und den USA und Millionen von Menschen weiterhin

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