The latest episode of the Bill Black report on The Real News Network. Bill talks with Sharmini about the religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas. “Its a bill where they dare not speak its purpose or state its goal.” Transcript if available at therealnews.com.
April Fools’ Day continues to bring it delights, including a trifecta of homophobia I found on the website of the Wall Street Journal and other papers today. The WSJ news staff first reported on Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration” Act in a March 27, 2015 story in which CFOs reported their fear that the Act was “Hampering Hiring Ability.” The WSJ news sections recently cited the strong majority of Americans supporting marriage equality and the fact that support is growing quickly among conservatives.
The WSJ’s infamous editorial team was cranking up to send the opposite message. They support the oxymoronic “Defense of Marriage Act” (defending marriage from marriage) and oppose any constitutional rights protecting gay Americans from discrimination. The business community overwhelmingly opposes the new state hate acts adopted by the Indiana and Arkansas legislatures. The CEOs of America’s leading business thought leaders oppose the new state hate acts. The WSJ, on issues of hate, does not serve the interests of the business community. The title of the opinion piece is “The New Intolerance: Indiana isn’t targeting gays. Liberals are targeting religion.” The opinion piece doesn’t even try to support the claim that “liberals are targeting religion.” But the use of the word “liberals” shows how out of step the editorial zanies have become with American businesspeople on the issue of discrimination against gays. A majority of conservatives oppose discrimination against gays. Young conservatives are even more strongly opposed to discrimination against gays.
HSBC got a sweetheart deal from the Obama administration. It laundered vast amounts of money for Mexico’s murderous Sinaloa cartel, helped bust sanctions for terrorists and mass murderers, and did not cooperate with the investigation. The U.S. Attorney in charge of the case, Loretta Lynch, refused to prosecute any of the HSBC bankers or even sue them individually. Instead, there was a pathetic non-prosecution agreement limited to HSBC. Lynch is accused of not contacting either of the primary whistleblowers in the case. The failure to contact one of the whistleblowers has already blown up in Lynch’s face as it became public a few months ago that the governments of the U.S. and Europe were provided many years ago with data on HSBC’s Swiss affiliate that show it was helping terrorists, genocidal leaders, the most violent drug gangs, and tens of thousands of wealthy people evade taxes. Lynch failed to bring that case or use any of the invaluable data provided by the whistleblower who copied the files from the Swiss bank.
The New York Times ran the story on April Fools’ Day of a jury convicting educators of gaming the test numbers and lying about their actions to investigators.
“ATLANTA — In a dramatic conclusion to what has been described as the largest cheating scandal in the nation’s history, a jury here on Wednesday convicted 11 educators for their roles in a standardized test cheating scandal that tarnished a major school district’s reputation and raised broader questions about the role of high-stakes testing in American schools.
On their eighth day of deliberations, the jurors convicted 11 of the 12 defendants of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. Many of the defendants — a mixture of Atlanta public school teachers, testing coordinators and administrators — were also convicted of other charges, such as making false statements, that could add years to their sentences.”
This was complicated trial that took six months to present and required eight days of jury deliberations. It was a major commitment of investigative and prosecutorial resources. But it was not investigated and prosecuted by the FBI and AUSAs, but by state and local officials. In addition to the trial success, the prosecutors secured 21 guilty pleas.