Freedom Project

Changing the old system.

Lawmakers who oversee government surveillance programs receive millions from intelligence companies

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Capitol City Project - 12/13/13, Joe Schoffstall


Every member who sits on the committees that oversee government intelligence operations has received campaign contributions from the top twenty largest intelligence companies in the United States, according to a new report.

Amid the NSA scandal, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — the committees in charge of oversight — denied stricter reform attempts to the NSA programs and instead propelled legislation aimed at restoring their trust. The committees are intended to keep waste, fraud, and abuse in check given most of these programs are hidden from the general public.

Protesters block Italy-France border

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The Local - 12/12/13, AFP

Italians protest in northern Italy. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Protesters from Italy's "Pitchforks" movement shut down the main roads between Italy and France on Thursday as part of a wave of anti-austerity protests that have sometimes erupted into violence.
The populist movement began as a farmers' group in Sicily but now includes truck drivers and far-right groups and is able to mobilise on a national scale.


JP Morgan facing $2bn fine for involvement in Madoff ponzi scheme

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The Guardian - 12/12/13, Dominic Rushe

JP Morgan Chase is said to be close to a huge deal with the US government.

JP Morgan Chase is said to be close to a huge deal with the US government. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

JP Morgan Chase, the biggest bank in the US, is facing another multi-billion dollar fine, this time deriving from its involvement with notorious Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard Madoff.

The bank has tentatively agreed to pay $2bn to settle allegations it failed to inform US authorities of the jailed fraudsters suspicious activity, according to people familiar with negotiations. A settlement deal with the Justice Department could come as early as next week. The bank declined to comment.

$2.75 an Hour?! The Shocking Secret of Goodwill

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AlterNet - 12/13/13, Jodie Gummow


Goodwill CEOs make over $400,000 a year. But some of its disabled employees are paid less than $3 an hour.


Spreading Christmas 'goodwill’ during the holidays is what Goodwill donation centers claim to be all about. The company sells thousands of donated goods at low prices every year, particuarly around the festive seaon.

In fact, it has almost become part of our culture that when something is not useful to us anymore, we give it to Goodwill.



Boeing is a Greedy, Freeloading Corporation That Screws American Taxpayers and Workers

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AlterNet - 12/11/13, Kenneth Thomas

Boeing is America's Most Wanted Corporation in two senses. First, now that the Machinists' union in Washington state has refused the company's contract demands, it is shopping production (h/t Pacific Northwest Inlander) of the 777x aircraft nationwide and lots of states are making offers for it. Second, it is emblematic of everything the 1% is doing to destroy the middle class: despite being highly profitable, it pays virtually no taxes; it accepts billions of dollars in government subsidies; it is trying to eliminate pensions and cut salaries for its highly skilled workforce; and it is trying to move production away from its unionized workforce, something it has already accomplished in part.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Government Statistics

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The Corbett Report - 12/11/13, James Corbett

Late last month former Bank of Canada governor and recently-appointed Bank of England governor Mark Carney surprised many by criticizing the quality of the economic data being provided by the UK’s Office for National Statistics. Measurement of investment in Britain was one source of discomfort for the former Goldman Sachs insider, who said that “We’re not putting full weight on that data and it has to be said that it doesn’t entirely feel right that investment is, as measured, falling at a time when we see continued strengthening investment intention.” He added that “a lot of work” would have to be done to bring Britain’s flow of funds data up to international standards.

To be clear, what was surprising was not that the ONS data is incomplete and misleading; everyone with an ounce of economic understanding already knew this. What is surprising is that a high-ranking bank official was admitting that the data they and the market in general is relying on is so unreliable.

Ukraine Forces Retreat, Ceding Square to Protests

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The New York Times - 12/11/13, by DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and ANDREW E. KRAMER


Mobilizing after midnight, thousands of riot police officers and Interior Ministry troops broke through barricades around Independence Square, pushed demonstrators back and formed tight cordons around them. They then called in bulldozers and other heavy equipment to raze some of the protesters’ tents and barricades.

The security forces clashed with protesters and briefly tried to regain control of City Hall. Then at 10:30 a.m., they abruptly withdrew, raising new questions about Mr. Yanukovich’s handling of the crisis, which has seemed increasingly erratic. The retreat let protesters reclaim the square and they quickly rebuilt their barriers, this time using heaping bags of snow.


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