Revealed: how corporate cash influences politics | The daily briefing

Extent of influence peddling in democratic process revealed in leaked documents; Obama calls for US to reject Trump’s ‘dark, pessimistic vision’; Chelsea Manning wins her gender surgery battle with army

Role of corporate cash in politics revealed by new leak

The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The “John Doe files” amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered by Wisconsin prosecutors who investigated what they suspected were criminal campaign finance violations by the campaign committee of Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor and a former Republican presidential candidate. Among the documents are emails between Walker, his top aides, conservative lobbyists and leading Republican figures such as Karl Rove and the chair of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. Donald Trump also appears in the files, making a donation of $15,000 following a personal visit from Walker to the Republican nominee’s Fifth Avenue headquarters.

Leaked documents reveal secretive influence of corporate cash on politics

Obama hits the road for Clinton

With Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton recuperating from pneumonia, Barack Obama marked his first solo campaign appearance this cycle by accusing Republicans of “fanning resentment and blame and anger and hate”. He said Trump was offering “a dark, pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, we turn away from the rest of the world”.

‘That’s not the America I know’: Barack Obama accuses Donald Trump of stoking hate

Obama: America must reject Trump’s ‘dark, pessimistic vision’

The Clintons’ marriage in review

For their baby boomer generation, they were the ultimate power couple, writes Suzanne Goldenberg. “For Arkansans in the early 1970s, when women still needed a husband’s consent to get a car loan or credit card, they stood for a new way of negotiating work and marriage, one where wives matched their husbands for career and political ambitions. Hillary Rodham did not even take her husband’s name until 1982, when her husband, who lost his bid for re-election as governor, was trying to get back into power – that is when she began to go by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Is it then so surprising that she made a bid for the highest office there is?”

How role-playing shaped the Clintons’ marriage

Chelsea Manning wins gender surgery battle

Jailed US soldier Chelsea Manning has ended her hunger strike after the army said she would be allowed to receive gender transition surgery, the American Civil Liberties Union announced. Manning, 28, who is serving a 35-year prison term for passing classified files to WikiLeaks, began the hunger strike on Friday. Manning said she is “unendingly relieved” that the military will allow treatment recommended by a psychologist and would begin surgery in April. “This is all that I wanted – for them to let me be me.”

Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike after winning gender surgery battle

LA’s people-walker

As the manifestations of the digital age increase people’s loneliness, part-time actor Chuck McCarthy has begun to find the glimmers of fame, and possibly a business franchise, as LA’s first people-walker. He walks humans for $7 a mile around the streets and park near his home, pioneering an alternative to dog walking. “The more I thought about it, the less crazy it seemed,” McCarthy told the Guardian. He started the service by fixing ads on lampposts. “I’ve been doing walks almost every single day for the past week and I’m getting repeat clients, which is what you want.”

‘We need human interaction’: meet the LA man who walks people for a living

Black WWII paratroopers reject Trump

The surviving members of a small group of black paratroopers that pierced segregation in the 1940s and 1950s, paving the way for a more integrated military and country, reunited last week in Norfolk, Virginia, to mark the milestone. The Triple Nickles, as they were known then, spoke of the unease that comes with the thought of a Trump presidency. “I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump to be dog-catcher. I don’t think he’s good for the country or the black race,” said Wilbert Kinion, 84.

The black US paratroopers who quietly changed history – and now fear Trump

Robots will eliminate 6% of US jobs by 2021

Customer service and transportation employment face the imminent “disruptive tidal wave” of automation, according to a new report. It estimates that robots, or intelligent agents that can understand human behavior and make decisions on our behalf, will have eliminated 6% of all jobs in the US by 2021.

Robots will eliminate 6% of all US jobs by 2021, report says

Encircled by polar bears, scientists wait for help

Five researchers based at a weather station on Troynoy island, in the Kara sea north of Siberia, have been besieged by 10 adult bears for the last two weeks, the Russian news agency TASS reported on Monday. The Polyarnaya Stantsiya station has run out of flares to deter the predators, a female bear had taken to spending nights beneath the station’s windows, and one of the two resident dogs was killed. It may take a month for the scientists to be rescued.

Russian scientists trapped in Arctic by polar bears face month-long wait for rescue

Walking outside while Muslim

A 36-year-old woman dressed in traditional Muslim garb was set on fire on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan; two Muslim women in Brooklyn physically assaulted as they pushed their babies in strollers; a mosque was burned in Fort Pierce, Florida. “We are facing the most hostile environment since the immediate aftermath of 9/11,” writes Linda Sarsour. “I don’t think we know the extent of the impact, trauma and pain of Muslim communities nationwide.”

A Muslim woman was set on fire in New York. Now just going out requires courage

In case you missed it …

Without naming Trump, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has criticized his policies including plans for higher tariffs and a US-Mexico border wall. Speaking in Canada, Lagarde said: “There is a growing risk of politicians seeking office by promising to ‘get tough’ with foreign trade partners through punitive tariffs or other restrictions on trade. I am deeply concerned about this – not only because I was a minister of trade, but because trade has been at the heart of the IMF’s mandate for more than 70 years.”

IMF chief launches thinly veiled attack on Donald Trump


Edward Helmore in New York

The GuardianTramp

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