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Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration’

Elizabeth Warren is a rarity nowadays. She is a US senator, unlike most senators, such as Ron Wyden, who is clearly a tool and senator of Wall Street and of perhaps even Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. In a new report prepared for Warren, called Rigged Justice, several not so shocking things are clearly illuminated which prove how corrupt the US government has become, and let’s face it, this government is one of the most corrupt in the world, at least among the so-called Democratic nations.

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“The Obama Administration,” the reports says, “has made repeated promises to strengthen enforcement and hold corporate criminals accountable, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in September that it would place greater emphasis on charging individuals responsible for corporate crimes. Nonetheless, both before and after this DOJ announcement, accountability for corporate crimes is shockingly weak.”

This is because both the Democratic and Republican establishments are completely reliant on money from the CEOs and corporations that commit these crimes. Most of the penalties faced by these CEOs and their corporations were so paltry that the report stated, “The examples (from this report) raise the disturbing possibility that some giant corporations—and their executives—have decided that following the law is merely optional. For these companies, punishment for breaking the law is little more than a cost of doing business.

There is a simple set of rules governing how US laws are applied. If you are rich, and you have used your money to corrupt the political system, the DOJ doesn’t look at you after it has caught you. The report goes on.

“When government regulators and prosecutors fail to pursue big corporations or their executives who violate the law, or when the government lets them off with a slap on the wrist, corporate criminals have free rein to operate outside the law. They can game the system, cheat families, rip off taxpayers, and even take actions that result in the death of innocent victims—all with no serious consequences.”

According to Warren, in an editorial in the New York Times, in 2015, “in case after case, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law, defrauding tax payers, covering up deadly safety hazards, even precipitating the financial collapse of 2008, and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist.” And to think that financially ordinary people go to prison for far less crimes than ripping off billions of dollars from taxpayers and investors, or knowingly selling products that kill.

“The failure to punish big corporations, the report went on, “or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country: If justice means a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but it means nothing more than a sideways glance at a CEO who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars, (not to mention the theft of the government and their regulatory agencies) then the promise of equal justice under the law has turned into a lie.” That promise died decades ago. “The failure to prosecute big, visible crimes has a corrosive effect on the fabric of democracy and our shared belief that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

Some of the crimes committed included:

1 “The Cartel”: Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Barclays, UBS AG, and Royal Bank of Scotland. In May 2015, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Barclays, UBS AG, and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) agreed to pay a combined $5.6 billion settlement to the DOJ. Bank traders from Citicorp, JP Morgan, Barclays, and RBS created a secret group known as “The Cartel,” which for more than five years manipulated exchange rates in a way that made the banks billions of dollars at the expense of clients and investors. And, the fifth bank, UBS, separately agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with interest rate manipulation. Although DOJ required admissions of guilt as part of the settlement – a reflection of the severity of the charges – not one single individual faced any criminal prosecution. Moreover, the SEC granted waivers to each bank so that the banks could avoid the collateral consequences that were supposed to accompany a guilty plea. Those waivers meant that the banks’ much-hyped guilty pleas were ultimately “likely to carry more symbolic shame than practical problems.”

2. Novartis. In November 2015, DOJ announced a $390 million settlement of a civil fraud lawsuit with Novartis Pharmaceuticals over allegations that the company engaged in a kickback scheme with pharmacists to increase sales of their drugs to Medicare and Medicaid patients. These kickbacks allegedly were paid even as Novaris was already under a corporate integrity agreement for previous violations of the law. This $390 million represented just over 10% of the damages sought by the government. It placed no further restrictions on Novartis’ participation in federal government healthcare programs, included no admission of wrongdoing, and did not include an indictment of any individual responsible for the kickbacks. The settlement was so paltry that after it was announced, Novartis’s CEO candidly noted that “whether we change our behavior …[in response to the settlement] remains to be seen.”

3. Education Management Corporation (EDMC). In November 2015, DOJ settled a civil case with EDMC, the second-largest for-profit education company in the country. EDMC illegally paid high-pressure recruiters to enroll students and violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying that it complied with Title IV of the Higher Education Act. EDMC received $11 billion in payments (90% of it via federal student grants and loans) from 2003-2011 as a result of these efforts. But the settlement recovered only $95 million –less than one percent of this total. The DOJ settlement did nothing to resolve federal student loan debts owed by those who were victims of the illegal recruitment, held no individual executives at EDMC accountable, required no admission of wrongdoing, and did nothing to prevent EDMC from receiving federal funds in the future.

What the report doesn’t mention is that US banks have been caught openly laundering money for Mexican drug cartels. They’ve been fined, and then were caught again, and not a soul has been charged with a crime.

For the complete report click the link below. http://www.warren.senate.gov/files/documents/Rigged_Justice_2016.pdf

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According to Mother Jones magazine, the Obama administration intends to send New York Times reporter James Risen to prison for failing to reveal his sources of information in his 2006 book and best seller State of War.

In his classic work, Risen exposed the illegal NSA spying program, a feat duplicated seven years later by Edward Snowden, which sent him scurrying to Russia as a political refugee. One has to wonder why Snowden had to flee for his life for revealing something that had been exposed seven years earlier in book form, had been a New York Times best seller, and can found be found in any public library. In addition, President George W. Bush didn’t feel obliged to chase Risen and the New York Times editors all the way to Russia. My, how times have changed.

Anyway, Risen’s classic work also exposed other stealthy going’s on in the Bush administration. Check out the link below on those things.

Obama May Soon Send This Reporter to Jail. Here Are the Embarrassing Secrets He Exposed. Mother Jones

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I received the email below and decided to publish the complete thing. I should make a few comments about these revelations. The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are intended to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent, and to push up corporate share prices. The parasites of the 1 percent are using these negotiations to rig the economic game against the 99 percent even more than it already has been. President Obama and his buddies, such as Wall Street Senators Ron Wyden and Mitch McConnell, are the epidemy of corrution and class warriers for the 1 percent  in Washington D.C. The Trans Pacific treaty aims to push up prices of goods, such as medicine. That will, naturally, lead to greater inflation.

Nov. 13, 2013

Contact: Peter Maybarduk (202) 588-7755 pmaybarduk@citizen.org<mailto:pmaybarduk@citizen.org>

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secret documents published today by WikiLeaks and analyzed by Public Citizen reveal that the Obama administration is demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region and bind Americans to the same bad rules, belying the administration’s stated commitments to reduce health care costs and advance free expression online, Public Citizen said today.

WikiLeaks published the complete draft of the Intellectual Property chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed international commercial pact between the United States and 11 Asian and Latin American countries. Although talks started in 2008, this is the first access the public and press have had to this text. The text identifies which countries support which terms. The administration has refused to make draft TPP text public, despite announcing intentions to sign the deal by year’s end. Signatory nations’ laws would be required to conform to TPP terms.

The leak shows the United States seeking to impose the most extreme demands of Big Pharma and Hollywood, Public Citizen said, despite the express and frequently universal opposition of U.S. trade partners. Concerns raised by TPP negotiating partners and many civic groups worldwide regarding TPP undermining access to affordable medicines, the Internet and even textbooks have resulted in a deadlock over the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, leading to an impasse in the TPP talks, Public Citizen said.

“The Obama administration’s proposals are the worst – the most damaging for health – we have seen in a U.S. trade agreement to date. The Obama administration has backtracked from even the modest health considerations adopted under the Bush administration,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program. “The Obama administration’s shameful bullying on behalf of the giant drug companies would lead to preventable suffering and death in Asia-Pacific countries. And soon the administration is expected to propose additional TPP terms that would lock Americans into high prices for cancer drugs for years to come.”

Previously, some elements of U.S. proposals for the Intellectual Property Chapter of the TPP had been leaked in 2011 and 2012. This leak is the first of a complete chapter revealing all countries’ positions. There are more than 100 unresolved issues in the TPP Intellectual Property chapter. Even the wording of many footnotes is in dispute; one footnote negotiators agree on suggests they keep working out their differences over the wording of the other footnotes. The other 28 draft TPP chapters remain shrouded in secrecy.

Last week, the AARP and major consumer groups wrote to the Obama administration<http://citizen.typepad.com/eyesontrade/2013/11/38-million-retirees-say-no-to-a-trade-deal-that-would-make-medicine-more-expensive.html&gt; to express their “deep concern” that U.S. proposals for the TPP would “limit the ability of states and the federal government to moderate escalating prescription drug, biologic drug and medical device costs in public programs,” and contradict cost-cutting plans for biotech medicines in the White House budget.

Other U.S.-demanded measures for the TPP would empower the tobacco giants to sue governments<http://www.citizen.org/investorcases&gt; before foreign tribunals to demand taxpayer compensation for their health regulations and have been widely criticized<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/opinion/why-is-obama-caving-on-tobacco.html&gt;. “This supposed trade negotiation has devolved into a secretive rulemaking against public health, on behalf of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco,” said Maybarduk.

“It is clear from the text obtained by WikiLeaks that the U.S. government is isolated and has lost this debate,” Maybarduk said. “Our partners don’t want to trade away their people’s health. Americans don’t want these measures either. Nevertheless, the Obama administration – on behalf of Big Pharma and big movie studios – now is trying to accomplish through pressure what it could not through persuasion.”

“The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry-inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit Internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force Internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s Internet access,” said Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen. “These proposals are deeply unpopular worldwide and have led to a negotiation stalemate.”

“Given how much text remains disputed, the negotiation will be very difficult to conclude,” said Maybarduk. “Much more forward-looking proposals have been advanced by the other parties, but unless the U.S drops its out-there-alone demands, there may be no deal at all.”

“We understand that the only consideration the Obama administration plans to propose for access to affordable generic medicines is a very weak form of differential treatment for developing countries,” said Maybarduk.

The text obtained by WikiLeaks is available at http://www.wikileaks.org/tpp&gt;. Analysis of the leaked text is available at http://www.citizen.org/access&lt;http://www.citizen.org/access&gt;.

More information about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is available at http://www.citizen.org/tpp&lt;https://hq-qz.salsalabs.com/salsa/include/fck2.5.1/editor/www.citizen.org

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The number of critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is growing. The TPP is a sweeping U.S. pact under negotiation with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Based on leaked documents, the primary purpose of the treaty appears to be to jack up prices of medicines, export more middle class jobs from the USA, export more jobs from lower wage nations in Latin America to even lower wage nations such as Vietnam, reduce Wall Street regulations, curtail Internet freedom, and undermine labor and enviromental standards set by states, cities and counties in the USA. In short, the purpose of the treaty appears to be to redistribute massive amounts of income, health and political representation from the 99 to the 1 percent, and the corporations of the 1 percent. It might even be a death blow to the middle class.

On November 8, 2013, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), with 38 million members – joined the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Consumers Union and other U.S. health and consumer advocacy groups in sending a letter to President Obama to express “deep concern” that TPP rules will thwart efforts to control escalating healthcare costs.

“The groups outline an array of U.S. policies and proposals to make healthcare more affordable that are jeopardized by TPP provisions “being advanced by the United States Trade Representative.” These threatened cost-saving measures include Medicare prescription drug discounts under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), an administration proposal slated to save $134 billion by providing rebates to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, and state-level Medicaid policies used to control drug costs.”

Check out the rest of the story at 38 Million Retirees Join Workers and Consumers to Say No to “Trade” Deal Terms that Would Make Medicine More Expensive–Public Citizen

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