1 in 14 Trump appointees is a former lobbyist, four times the rate under Obama

Trump Town is a Propublica/Columbia Journalism Investigations interactive database of everyone working in the Trump administration; the latest revision reveals that Trump has hired 281 former lobbyists to regulate the industries that used to sign their paychecks. Read the rest

How the "Varsity Blues" admissions scam punished deserving, hard working kids so that mediocre kids of the super-rich could prosper

Propublica's latest longread is ostensibly a profile of two kids who attended Orange County's Sage Hill School, where tuition runs $40,000/year and where an estimated 25% of students get into elite colleges thanks to their parents shelling out for "independent counsellors" who run the gamut from people who help with admissions essays and strategic donations to the schools of their choice all the way up to William "Rick" Singer, who pleaded guilty to collecting millions to grease the path for mediocre rich kids to attend elite colleges by bribing coaches. Read the rest

What happened to the 2008 bailout money?

In 2008, Congress authorized a $700b bailout of the finance sector, with almost no strings attached (notably, the bailout did not require banks that were receiving public subsidies to abstain from foreclosures or penalties for the members of the public who had just bailed the banks out). Read the rest

Report from the Fed reveals that "economic growth" is a highly localized phenomena, masking widespread financial desperation

Trump likes to boast about economic growth, and while many have pointed out that many of the policies that produced the rosy figures are leftovers from Obama's policies, it's also important to note that the "growth" is highly localized, with aggregated national figures hiding the incredible economic desperation in the poorest parts of America. Read the rest

Joe Biden kicks off his presidential bid with a fundraiser hosted by Comcast's chief lobbyist

Joe Biden, a colossal asshole, wants to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020 and in the most on-brand move ever, he's launched his campaign with a fundraiser hosted by the chief lobbyist for Comcast, the most hated company in America. (Image: Ildar Sagdejev, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

In DHS tests, prototypes of Trump's chosen barrier posts were easily defeated by hacksaws

Trump isn't America's most anti-immigrant president; that honor goes to Obama, the great deporter, who also extensively tested border wall technologies while deporting 2MM undocumented people. Read the rest

Obama's policy on Bush's crimes is how Kavanaugh got to the Supreme Court

When Obama took office, he took over from one of the least popular presidents in US history, 22% George Bush, a liar who tortured and spied his way through an illegitimate war that we're still fighting, and next year's deployment will include soldiers who weren't even born when the war started. Read the rest

ARPA-E, a sustainable energy moonshot agency of the US government, is absolutely kicking ass

The Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy [ARPA-E] was set up by bipartisan action in 2007, funded by Obama in 2009; expanded by Congress in 2009; and survived attempts by Trump to kill it in both 2017 and 2018. Read the rest

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of the collapse of 2008 and things are much, much worse

Nobody covered the Wall Street collapse, bailout, and corrupt resurgence better than Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, from giving Goldman Sachs its unforgettable epithet to covering the hearings on the bailouts to documenting the foreclosure mills, to deep dives into the sweetheart deals the banks got; to the revolving door between finance regulators and the finance sector to the rise of Occupy; to the consolidation of financial primacy after the collapse; to the double-standard for criminal justice revealed by the collapse; to the frauds that surfaced after the crash; to the tiny bright spots where bankers were brought to justice; all capped by an incandescent, outstanding book about the crisis and the systematic racial and economic justice it revealed. Read the rest

The most hated company in America is about to get much, much bigger

Comcast is a perennial winner of national polls for the most hated company in America, and the bigger it gets, the worse it gets: back in 2011, the Obama administration let the company swallow NBC Universal, teeing it up to powerfully benefit from the destruction of Net Neutrality under Trump; now Trump is poised to let the company buy Fox and Sky, making the company bigger and more powerful. Read the rest

JP Morgan-Chase paid its billions in fines for mortgage fraud by committing billions in mortgage fraud

A lawsuit against JP Morgan-Chase -- the nation's largest bank -- asserts that the institution paid off the $4,200,000,000 in mortgage forgiveness that it agreed to as a settlement for widescale mortgage and foreclosure fraud by committing a lot more mortgage fraud, in which homeowners, ethical lenders, and American cities were stuck with the bill. Read the rest

US Border Agents are requiring returning Muslim-Americans to disclose social media information

Obama's policy of allowing border agents to demand foreigners' social media accounts at border crossing has been expanded under Trump; now, people are being illegally profiled based on their religious affiliation and made to hand over their social media logins for data-mining and algorithmic suspicion-generation when they return home to the USA. Read the rest

Trump's NSA will be able to share its firehose of surveillance data with 16 government agencies (Thanks, Obama)

The new data-sharing rules enacted by the Obama administration will allow the NSA to lawfully share the unredacted, full take of its surveillance databases with sixteen other US government agencies -- meaning that, for example, Trump's door-to-door deportation squads could use that data to figure out who's doors to break down, and his Muslim surveillance database could bootstrap itself with NSA data. Read the rest

The evolution of Barack Obama

Just days before the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, YouTuber Nathan Zed edited this lovely tribute to our 44th president. Read the rest

Obama's legacy: eight years of not holding executives criminally responsible for their companies' misdeeds

The most remarkable criminal justice story of 2017 is that the FBI has arrested a real corporate criminal, a VW executive who tried to engineer a coverup of the Dieselgate scandal, and that he might go to jail -- it's remarkable because the Obama administration spent eight years resolutely not sending criminal executives to jail, preferring instead to let their corporations buy their way out of criminal sanctions with huge fines, a doctrine pioneered by Obama Attorney General Eric Holder back when he worked for Bill Clinton's administration. But while Clinton rejected this idea, Obama put it into practice. Read the rest

Celebrities share their favorite moments from Obama’s presidency

Along with activists and everyday citizens, celebrities like Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jerry Seinfeld, John Legend, Shonda Rhimes, Tom Hanks, Chance The Rapper, and Ellen DeGeneres share their favorite moments from Obama’s presidency in this new video released by The White House. Read the rest

Obama is suddenly interested in limiting the sweeping presidential powers he spent 8 years expanding

Many "progressives" looked the other way while the Obama administration asserted unprecedented presidential powers, like the right to murder anyone the president feels like, anywhere in the world, using drones and other technologies; and the right to spy on everyone, all the time. Now that Donald Trump is about to inherit those powers, the Obama administration has released a 61-page report insisting that the president's powers should be drastically curtailed and made accountable and transparent. Read the rest

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