WRITE TO MICHAEL GREENBERGER AT U OF M LAW SCHOOL AND TELL HIM MARYLAND WANTS A RULE OF LAW ATTORNEY GENERAL!!!
I want to move away from the attack on health care in America to reminding people that all of the austerity cuts, rise in local and state taxes, cutting and privatization of public programs and assets are all caused by revenue lost to corporate fraud with no attempt by Justice to recover. When they give a press release saying they are fighting fraud and give an amount of a few billion.....largest ever.....we know there are tens of trillions of dollars owed the American people. WE CANNOT LET STAND THE THEFT OF WHAT IS OUR AND OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE.
Do not believe the corporate media favorite for health fraud numbers.....80 billion dollars,......we all know that number is more like $600 billion each year for these few decades. So it is clear, if anything is done with health care costs....they need to use universal care to bring back all that stolen taxpayer and individual health care money!
In Maryland, our State Attorney General Doug Gansler who has the distinction of being the deputy dog for a state ranked at the bottom for fraud and corruption and has suspended Rule of Law in Maryland has a campaign sign with his picture saying he is fighting for health insurance coverage for the little guys. This is such garbage as to make the strongest stomach weak. He single-handedly ignores all health fraud that has billions of dollars lost in Maryland alone to fraud and he is silent as Maryland Assembly makes sure the laws protect the health industry from public ability to recover fraud. GANSLER IS AIDING AND ABETTING CORPORATE FRAUD AND RUNNING FOR HIGHER OFFICE!
We are going to see over this next year a release of millions of bank and government documents from Wikileak and from NSA Snowden that give the public ever more of a view as to the extent of criminal fraud whether corporate tax evasion or other fraud. I am sure we will see as well that NSA was not only surveilling for terrorist activity....they were data mining to give US corporations advantage in markets.....all of which is illegal. You are not seeing any attempts at stopping the economic chaos and it is because we have neo-liberals who 'WIN AT ALL COSTS' when it comes to corporate profits!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE AT ALL LEVELS....DO YOU HEAR YOUR DEMOCRATIC POL SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY TO PAY ALL GOVERNMENT DEBT WITH RECOVERY OF CORPORATE FRAUD? THEN THEY ARE NOT A DEMOCRAT WORKING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!!!
Medical Fraud’s Staggering Price Tag
August 18, 2009
As the nation engages in a contentious debate over health care, one thing that almost everyone agrees on is the need to fight rampant fraud. Rip-offs add billions of dollars a year to the tab for health care in America. How much money could be saved by eliminating fraud? "It's just an extraordinary sum," Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University told National Public Radio. Unsure if fraud costs $100 billion or $600 billion, Sparrow told NPR he is sure that whatever the first digit is, it has 11 zeroes after it. To address the problem, the Senate health committee on July 23 voted 23 to 0 for an amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders that would double penalties for health care fraud. “What we have seen for many years is the systemic fraud perpetrated by private insurance companies, private drug companies, and private for-profit hospitals ripping off the American people and the taxpayers of this country to the tune of many billions of dollars,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ amendment would authorize double the current penalties under the False Claims Act for fraudulently billing new health exchanges created by the reform bill. Convicted companies would face fines of up to six times the amount of the fraud. “I worry very much that for many international corporations getting hit with treble damages may well be worth it and passed along as a cost of doing business,” Sanders said. “What we have to tell these big multi-national corporations is that if they are going to engage in fraud they’re going to pay for it dearly.”
Virtually all of the major hospital chains, private insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies have been involved in massive health care fraud over the past decade, the senator added. He also pointed to a string of criminal and civil cases against many of the leading corporate health care providers in the country, including:
- Earlier this year, a jury found Pfizer owed Wisconsin $9 million for violating the state Medicaid fraud law more than 1.4 million times by purposely overcharging the state for prescription drugs. The company faces potential fines from $140 million to $21 billion. (Now, how does the public have any faith in these figures up to $21 billion, as we are never allowed to see these settlement details....the answer is we should have no faith)!
- Also in 2009, UnitedHealth, a leading insurance company, paid $350 million to settle lawsuits brought by the American Medical Association and other physician groups for shortchanging consumers and physicians for medical services outside its preferred network.
- In 2003, GlaxoSmithKline paid $88 million in civil fines for overcharging Medicaid for its anti-depressant Paxil.
- Also in 2000, Humana paid $14.5 million to settle federal charges of overcharging government health programs.
- In 2000, the Hospital Corporation of America agreed to pay $745 million to settle civil charges that it systematically defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federally-funded health programs.
(The head of HCA when this fraud happened is now Governor of Florida having a field day with health care reform....HCA has the most profit of all health care companies)
To give an idea of what $100 million to fight fraud would do....we have one business in Baltimore getting $100 million in tax breaks. It is nothing. But all of fraud recovery would pay for itself, no republicans or taxpayer money needed.
We must not let this stand as we allowed ourselves to lose political representation by not paying attention to whom we elected......from Clinton on we simply sent neo-liberals back to work with republicans to hand the country over to corporate interests! These pols have watched as all fraud was left without justice, the financial oversight agencies worked double-time to protect Wall Street from loses and manipulated great gains while the rest of the country falls into poverty. NONE OF THE FINANCIAL REFORM HAS HAPPENED AND NO JUSTICE FOR TENS OF TRILLIONS IN BANK FRAUD HAS OCCURRED. THIS IS TREASONOUS AND YOUR POLITICIAN IS AIDING AND ABETTING CRIME!
Wall Street Dodges Financial Reform Again --
By Erika Eichelberger
| Fri Jul. 5, 2013 2:01 PM PDT Mother Jones
celebrates its third birthday this month. But only about a third of the rules required by the legislation have been finalized so far, and even those are not going into effect as scheduled. This week provided a perfect example of why that is: The Federal Reserve granted Goldman Sachs a two-year extension to implement a key Dodd-Frank rule that would require banks to move risky trading into separate affiliates that are not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Several other of the nation's biggest banks won the same exemption last month.
Financial reformers are not shocked. "Quelle surprise!" quips Bart Naylor, a policy advocate at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "The Federal Reserve decides to heed the crush of Wall Street lobbyists."
The Dodd-Frank rule, which Goldman Sachs was supposed to implement by July 16, requires FDIC-insured banks to move most of their derivatives trades into separate firms so that when a trade goes bad the bank will have to handle the fallout, not taxpayers. (Derivatives are financial products with values derived from underlying variables, like crop prices or interest rates; they were a major catalyst in the economic meltdown of 2008.) In its request for an extension, Goldman told the Federal Reserve—the main overseer of derivatives dealers—that complying with the deadline would mean the firm would need to either divest or stop a big portion of its swaps trading; a transition period, Goldman said, would be needed to ensure that the rest of the economy is not damaged by the shift. On Tuesday, the Fed agreed.
There is a provision in the Dodd-Frank law that allows banks to request a two-year transition period, if complying with the rule will damage the wider financial system. But banks were already given three years to phase in compliance with the rule. "If the regulators hadn't let them waste [that] three-year period…then they could have been prepared to execute [the rule] in a way that was less disruptive," says Marcus Stanley, policy director at the financial reform advocacy group Americans for Financial Reform. "It's like saying I need an extension on my homework because it would be disruptive for me to to have do it all the night before," he adds. "This is just a generalized excuse for postponing action."
In June, other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, were granted two-year extensions on the same rule. Along with Goldman Sachs, those banks control more than 90 percent of the $700 trillion derivatives market.
"The procrastination of both regulators and the banks on this portion of Dodd-Frank has been pretty amazing," Stanley told Bloomberg Businessweek in January.
This particular Dodd-Frank rule is also under assault by Wall Street's allies in Congress. A bill that would exempt a large number of derivatives trades from the so-called pushout rule sailed through the House financial services committee in May. It could come to the House floor for a vote as soon as next week.
Freddie Mac was the dumping ground for all of the millions of dollars of fraudulent subprime loans along with AIG Insurance insuring these same fraudulent loans against default. Both are taxpayer liabilities as AIG was nationalized and Freddie is a private company that partners with the government so the taxpayers can pay all costs.....just as with all public private partnerships!
The massive subprime loan fraud involved trillions of dollars in fraud and Freddie and Fannie had/have $600 billion in bad loans on their books. If we had a Rule of Law nation the banks would have been forced to write down/off those bad loans on Freddie's books as they were criminal and the taxpayer would have taken a far lesser hit for this Wall Street Freddie. Rather, Obama and Third Way corporate neo-liberals worked hard to see that banks and shareholders lost little or nothing....actually gaining from the massive fraud. We saw a nationalized AIG pay 100% on insurance claims which never happens to a bankrupt corporation. So while main street was losing big time in investments, lost homes, and jobs.....the neo-liberals turn the banks fraud into massive gains. The Federal Reverve's policy of QE was simply a way of removing all toxic loans from the banks balance sheet and all of those trillions in bad debt are going to the Treasury for the taxpayer to pay. Now, the taxpayer is going to lose on the fraudulent Freddie loans that were never written down/off because they are auctioning at a huge loss those loans and it will be the same banks and investment firms that will buy these discounted loans that they created through fraud. Remember as well, these few years have seen foreclosures bundled and sold in bulk to these same players at discount.
Sp these 5 years of Obama's term and a neo-liberal Senate has seen all the massive mortgage fraud stay with the criminal banks, watched as the Fed and Treasury turned those fraudulent gains into a watershed of profit through manipulated markets, and sold most of the millions of homes involved in fraud and foreclosed because of the economic crash back to the same people. The money made by all of this fraud and corruption is in the trillions and the cost to taxpayers stuck with the fraud debt and economic damage in the tens of trillions. THIS IS JUST FOR THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE FRAUD. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE ALL OF THE TENS OF TRILLIONS IN CORPORATE FRAUD.
YOUR LONG-TERM THIRD WAY NEO-LIBERAL HAS WORKED ON THIS SCHEME SINCE THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION ALONG WITH BUSH.....OBAMA AND THE SUPERMAJORITY OF NEO-LIBERALS COULD HAVE PROTECTED THE PEOPLE SIMPLY BY APPLYING RULE OF LAW.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE NEXT ELECTIONS! IF YOUR LABOR LEADERS AND JUSTICE LEADERS ARE NOT RUNNING CANDIDATES IN PRIMARIES AGAINST NEO-LIBERALS.....THEY ARE NOT WORKING FOR YOU AND ME!
Freddie Mac to $3 billion bills July 8
(Reuters) - Freddie Mac, the No. 2 U.S. home funding company, said it will sell $3 billion of reference bills on Monday.
Freddie Mac said it plans to sell $1 billion of three-month bills due Oct. 7, 2013, $1.5 billion of six-month bills, due Jan. 6, 2014, and $500 million of 12-month bills due July 7, 2014.
The bills will be sold over the Internet in a Dutch auction. In such uniform price auctions, successful bidders pay only the price of the lowest accepted bid rather than the actual price as in a conventional multiple-price auction.
Bids will be accepted from authorized dealers until 9:45 a.m. EDT (1345 GMT).
Settlement is July 9.
Reference Bills® securities are unsecured general corporate obligations. This program supplements our Discount Notes program.
- Provide a predictable supply of short-term debt at popular maturities, from one-month through one-year
- Are offered in sizeable volumes on a regular, standardized issuance cycle
- One-month Reference Bills auctions will be optional each week, with a minimum of one auction per month. Three- and six-month Reference Bills will be auctioned every week. Auctions of 12-month Reference Bills securities will be optional each week
- Are globally sponsored and distributed
- Are intended to encourage active trading and market-making
- Facilitate term repo market development
- Are designed to offer predictable supply, pricing transparency and liquidity, thereby providing premium-quality alternatives to Treasury bills.
We really need to know that what is happening with the TPP and with the recent Supreme Court rulings violates the US Constitution.....it is not another interpretation, it is rewriting. Corporations are not people, they cannot be allowed to circumvent Constitutional rights simply by including a clause in a business contract, and they cannot be given the rights of writing law that excludes the people's rights to legislate change. All of this is a COUP by the politicians you re-elect each year......THEY ARE NEO-LIBERALS WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFITS AND NOT FOR THE PEOPLE!!
In Maryland we are starting to hear lectures in the community that describes Maryland as a corporation and that as a colony in the times described below they were chartered by the Queen as a corporation.....and that is what they are trying to do right now with all these public private partnerships.....make the state into one big corporation with the 1% as shareholders and the citizens as peasants! THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE....IT IS HAPPENING! WE NEED TO SEE PEOPLE FORMING DEMOCRACY NOW ORGANIZATIONS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES!
What We Can Learn From America's First Tea Party About Countering Corporate Power
Saturday, 06 July 2013 09:57 By Thom Hartmann, Yes! Magazine | News Analysis
(Image: Wikimedia)Before there was Citizens United, a modern Tea Party movement, or national momentum to ban corporate personhood, Thom Hartmann shows that resistance to corporate power is just as patriotic as Boston’s original Tea Party.
On a cold November day, activists gathered in a coastal town. The corporation had gone too far, and the two thousand people who'd jammed into the meeting hall were torn as to what to do about it. Unemployment was exploding and the economic crisis was deepening; corporate crime, governmental corruption spawned by corporate cash, and an ethos of greed were blamed. “Why do we wait?” demanded one at the meeting, a fisherman named George Hewes. “The more we delay, the more strength is acquired” by the company and its puppets in the government. “Now is the time to prove our courage,” he said. Soon, the moment came when the crowd decided for direct action and rushed into the streets.
That is how I tell the story of the Boston Tea Party, now that I have read a first-person account of it. While striving to understand my nation's struggles against corporations, I came upon a first edition of Retrospect of the Boston Tea Party with a Memoir of George R.T. Hewes, a Survivor of the Little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbor in 1773, and I jumped at the chance to buy it. Because the identities of the Boston Tea Party participants were hidden (other than Samuel Adams) and all were sworn to secrecy for the next 50 years, this account (published 61 years later) is the only first-person account of the event by a participant that exists, so far as I can find. As I read, I began to understand the true causes of the American Revolution.
I learned that the Boston Tea Party resembled in many ways the growing modern-day protests against transnational corporations and small-town efforts to protect themselves from chain-store retailers or factory farms. The Tea Party's participants thought of themselves as protesters against the actions of the multinational East India Company.
Although schoolchildren are usually taught that the American Revolution was a rebellion against “taxation without representation,” akin to modern day conservative taxpayer revolts, in fact what led to the revolution was rage against a transnational corporation that, by the 1760s, dominated trade from China to India to the Caribbean, and controlled nearly all commerce to and from North America, with subsidies and special dispensation from the British crown.
Hewes notes: “The [East India] Company received permission to transport tea, free of all duty, from Great Britain to America…” allowing it to wipe out New England–based tea wholesalers and mom-and-pop stores and take over the tea business in all of America. “Hence,” he told his biographer, “it was no longer the small vessels of private merchants, who went to vend tea for their own account in the ports of the colonies, but, on the contrary, ships of an enormous burthen, that transported immense quantities of this commodity ... The colonies were now arrived at the decisive moment when they must cast the dye, and determine their course ... ”
A pamphlet was circulated through the colonies called The Alarm and signed by an enigmatic “Rusticus.” One issue made clear the feelings of colonial Americans about England's largest transnational corporation and its behavior around the world:“Their Conduct in Asia, for some Years past, has given simple Proof, how little they regard the Laws of Nations, the Rights, Liberties, or Lives of Men. They have levied War, excited Rebellions, dethroned lawful Princes, and sacrificed Millions for the Sake of Gain. The Revenues of Mighty Kingdoms have entered their Coffers. And these not being sufficient to glut their Avarice, they have, by the most unparalleled Barbarities, Extortions, and Monopolies, stripped the miserable Inhabitants of their Property, and reduced whole Provinces to Indigence and Ruin. Fifteen hundred Thousands, it is said, perished by Famine in one Year, not because the Earth denied its Fruits; but [because] this Company and their Servants engulfed all the Necessaries of Life, and set them at so high a Rate that the poor could not purchase them.”
After protesters had turned back the Company's ships in Philadelphia and New York, Hewes writes, “In Boston the general voice declared the time was come to face the storm.”
The citizens of the colonies were preparing to throw off one of the corporations that for almost 200 years had determined nearly every aspect of their lives through its economic and political power. They were planning to destroy the goods of the world's largest multinational corporation, intimidate its employees, and face down the guns of the government that supported it.
The Queen's Corporation
The East India Company's influence had always been pervasive in the colonies. Indeed, it was not the Puritans but the East India Company that founded America. The Puritans traveled to America on ships owned by the East India Company, which had already established the first colony in North America, at Jamestown, in the Company-owned Commonwealth of Virginia, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi. The commonwealth was named after the “Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth, who had chartered the corporation.
Elizabeth was trying to make England a player in the new global trade sparked by the European “discovery” of the Americas. The wealth Spain began extracting from the New World caught the attention of the European powers. In many European countries, particularly Holland and France, consortiums were put together to finance ships to sail the seas. In 1580, Queen Elizabeth became the largest shareholder in The Golden Hind, a ship owned by Sir Francis Drake.
The investment worked out well for Queen Elizabeth. There's no record of exactly how much she made when Drake paid her share of the Hind's dividends to her, but it was undoubtedly vast, since Drake himself and the other minor shareholders all received a 5000 percent return on their investment. Plus, because the queen placed a maximum loss to the initial investors of their investment amount only, it was a low-risk investment (for the investors at least—creditors, such as suppliers of provisions for the voyages or wood for the ships, or employees, for example, would be left unpaid if the venture failed, just as in a modern-day corporation). She was endorsing an investment model that led to the modern limited-liability corporation.
After making a fortune on Drake's expeditions, Elizabeth started looking for a more permanent arrangement. She authorized a group of 218 London merchants and noblemen to form a corporation. The East India Company was born on December 31, 1600.
By the 1760s, the East India Company's power had grown massive and worldwide. However, this rapid expansion, trying to keep ahead of the Dutch trading companies, was a mixed blessing, as the company went deep in debt to support its growth, and by 1770 found itself nearly bankrupt.
The company turned to a strategy that multinational corporations follow to this day: They lobbied for laws that would make it easy for them to put their small-business competitors out of business.
Most of the members of the British government and royalty (including the king) were stockholders in the East India Company, so it was easy to get laws passed in its interests. Among the Company's biggest and most vexing problems were American colonial entrepreneurs, who ran their own small ships to bring tea and other goods directly into America without routing them through Britain or through the Company. Between 1681 and 1773, a series of laws were passed granting the Company monopoly on tea sold in the American colonies and exempting it from tea taxes. Thus, the Company was able to lower its tea prices to undercut the prices of the local importers and the small tea houses in every town in America. But the colonists were unappreciative of their colonies being used as a profit center for the multinational corporation.
Boston's Million-Dollar Tea Party
And so, Hewes says, on a cold November evening of 1773, the first of the East India Company's ships of tax-free tea arrived. The next morning, a pamphlet was widely circulated calling on patriots to meet at Faneuil Hall to discuss resistance to the East India Company and its tea. “Things thus appeared to be hastening to a disastrous issue. The people of the country arrived in great numbers, the inhabitants of the town assembled. This assembly, on the 16th of December 1773, was the most numerous ever known, there being more than 2000 from the country present,” said Hewes.
The group called for a vote on whether to oppose the landing of the tea. The vote was unanimously affirmative, and it is related by one historian of that scene “that a person disguised after the manner of the Indians, who was in the gallery, shouted at this juncture, the cry of war; and that the meeting dissolved in the twinkling of an eye, and the multitude rushed in a mass to Griffin's wharf.”
That night, Hewes dressed as an Indian, blackening his face with coal dust, and joined crowds of other men in hacking apart the chests of tea and throwing them into the harbor. In all, the 342 chests of tea—over 90,000 pounds—thrown overboard that night were enough to make 24 million cups of tea and were valued by the East India Company at 9,659 Pounds Sterling or, in today's currency, just over $1 million.
In response, the British Parliament immediately passed the Boston Port Act stating that the port of Boston would be closed until the citizens of Boston reimbursed the East India Company for the tea they had destroyed. The colonists refused. A year and a half later, the colonists would again state their defiance of the East India Company and Great Britain by taking on British troops in an armed conflict at Lexington and Concord (the “shots heard 'round the world”) on April 19, 1775.
That war—finally triggered by a transnational corporation and its government patrons trying to deny American colonists a fair and competitive local marketplace—would end with independence for the colonies.
The revolutionaries had put the East India Company in its place with the Boston Tea Party, and that, they thought, was the end of that. Unfortunately, the Boston Tea Party was not the end of that. It was only the beginning of the power of corporations in America.
The Birth of the Corporate “Person”
Fast forward 225 years.
The American war over corporate power is heating up again. A current struggle centers on the question of whether corporations should be “people” in the eyes of the law.
In October 2002, Nike appealed a lawsuit against it to the Supreme Court, asking it to rule that Nike's letters to newspapers about treatment of workers in Indonesia and Vietnam are protected by the First Amendment.
In Pennsylvania, several townships recently passed laws forbidding corporate-owned farms. In response, agribusiness corporations threatened to sue the townships for violation of their civil rights—just as if these corporations were persons.
Imagine. In today's America, when a new human is born, she is instantly protected by the full weight and power of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Similarly, when papers called articles of incorporation are submitted to governments in America (and most other nations of the world), another type of new “person” is brought forth into the nation.
The new corporate person is instantly endowed with many of the rights and protections of personhood. It doesn't breathe or eat, can't be enslaved, can live forever, doesn't fear prison, and can't be executed if found guilty of misdoings. It is not a human but a creation of humans. Nonetheless, the new corporation gets many of the Constitutional protections America's founders gave humans to protect them against governments or other potential oppressors. How did corporations become persons?
After the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson proposed a Bill of Rights with 12 amendments, one of which would “ban commercial monopolies,” forever making it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, to do business in more than one specific product or market, and thus forever preventing another oppressive commercial juggernaut like the East India Company from arising again in North America to threaten democracy and oppress the people.
But Jefferson's amendment failed and the corporations fought back. Now those corporations use the club of the amendments that did pass to influence elections and legislation favoring them—in the name of their rights as persons.
An Historic Goof?
What most people don't realize is that this is a recent agreement—and it is based on an historic error. Only since 1886 have the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment been applied explicitly to corporations. For 100 years people have believed that the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad included the statement “Corporations are persons.” But looking at the actual case documents, I found that this was never stated by the court, and indeed the chief justice explicitly ruled that matter out of consideration in the case.
The claim that corporations are persons was added by the court reporter who wrote the introduction to the decision, called “headnotes.” Headnotes have no legal standing.
It appears that corporations acquired personhood by persuading a court reporter and a Supreme Court judge to make a notation in the headnotes of an unrelated law case. In Everyman's Constitution, legal historian Howard Jay Graham documents scores of previous attempts by Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field to influence the legal process to the benefit of his open patrons, the railroad corporations. Field, as judge on the Ninth Circuit in California, had repeatedly ruled that corporations were persons under the 14th Amendment, so it doesn't take much imagination to guess what Field might have suggested Court Recorder J.C. Bancroft Davis include in the transcript, perhaps even offering the language, which happened to match his own language in previous lower court cases.
Alternatively, Davis may have acted on his own initiative. This was no ordinary court reporter. He was well-connected to the levers of power in his world, which in 1880s America were principally the railroads, and had, himself, served as president of the board of a railroad company.
Regardless of how it happened, an amendment to the Constitution, designed to protect the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, passed by Congress, voted on and ratified by the states, and signed into law by the president, was re-interpreted in 1886 for the benefit of corporations. The notion that corporations are persons has never been voted into law by the people or by Congress, and all the court decisions endorsing it derive from the precedent of the 1886 case—from Davis' error.
Other legal errors have been corrected with time. The notions that women aren't persons under the law, (affirmed, for example, in the 1873 Bradwell v. State case) and that blacks aren't entitled to equal protection (decided in the Dred Scott and Plessy cases) were superseded by court cases affirming the full rights of African Americans and women under the law. The establishment of corporate personhood, on the flimsy foundation of a court reporter's insertion of a phrase into a legal summary, may be the next mistake to be corrected, particularly if grassroots efforts continue to challenge the legitimacy of corporate personhood.
(Adapted from Thom Hartmann's book Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and The Theft of Human Rights)
THIS IS FROM A WIKLEAKS RELEASE....THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PAGES FROM HACKED BANK DATA THAT IS TRICKLING OUT.....REMEMBER, MUCH OF THESE TRILLIONS STASHED IN OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS ARE FRAUD.
Below you see just the tip of the iceberg with corporate tax evasion......the wealthy have all their wealth in corporations and these corporations are avoiding all taxes. As is said below....there are lots of ways to get that money back other than hunting and taking these corporations to court!
DO NOT STOP SHOUTING FOR JUSTICE IN GETTING THIS MONEY BACK INTO GOVERNMENT COFFERS....IT IS WHY THEY ARE CUTTING ALL PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR PUBLIC INTEREST AND LOCALLY RAISING TAXES ON THE MIDDLE/LOWER CLASS TO MAKE UP FOR LOST CORPORATE REVENUE!
You will be taxed to death and get nothing for it if we do not reverse this!
Commenter on the article below:
Sigh, what a racket Submitted by beowulf on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 1:00am If this were something the government was serious about stopping, they'd treat these accounts like they do any cash held by suspected drug mules. They take the money (even if they let the suspect go) and tell them, if you want the money back, you can sue us and explain to the judge where the money came from.
One of my pet peeves about the tax system is that the capital gains tax, which is already taxed at a lower rate than earned income, does not apply to unrealized (or "accrued") capital gains. And since capital gains tax liability dies with the capital holder, their heirs inherit the property with all prior capital gains wiped clear. That's kind of a big tax loophole. For liquid property like stocks and bonds, cap gains could easily be taxed annually (so-called "accrual taxation"). For illiquid property like real estate or closely held company stock, cap gains could still be taxed at realization but with an interest penalty for every year their accrued cap gains were not taxed ( "retrospective taxation"). And if you don't sell it, death should be a realization event (last year when there was no estate tax, for once, heirs WERE required to pay capital gains taxes on the accrued gains).
For anyone who thinks its unconstitutional or impracticable to write accrual or retrospective taxation into the tax code, they're both already in the tax code. Futures contracts are taxed on an accrual basis and retrospective taxation already applies to passive foreign investment company stock.
What I'm driving out is, if the government traced the money from offshore bank accounts to offshore stock holdings, there would be a LOT of unpaid taxes owed simply from the interest penalty. Since they won't do that, if Congress simply applied accrual taxation to all securities and retrospective taxation to all other property. It would at least triple (key words being "at least") the $100 billion in capital gains taxes collected now without raising tax rates. I expect Lambert to get a tax credit for his compost pile before we see that happen.
Accrual taxation, 26 USC 1256 "contracts marked to market"
Retrospective taxation, 26 USC 1291 "interest on tax deferral"
Check Out Who's Hiding $32 Trillion in Offshore Accounts
- Greg Madison, Associate Editor - May 1, 2013
More than two million emails that shed light on the biggest tax dodge in history - trillions of dollars hidden in offshore accounts - have been uncovered by the British newspaper The Guardian and the Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Some $32 trillion has been hidden in small island banking hubs which host a bevy of trust funds, shell corporations and other tax havens, the Tax Justice Network estimates.
This money is to the financial world what the Higgs boson and dark matter are to particle physics: It's tough to prove it's there, but the universe doesn't make much sense without it. It's just a matter of connecting the money to the people hiding it.
That's been a tall order... until now.
An Unprecedented Tax Dodge Next to this bombshell, Wikileaks looks like a first-grader's game of Telephone.
In fact, the leak contains more than 200 gigabytes of data, compared with Wikileaks' two gigabytes.
The information is still being sifted through, even as it's being released to the public, but here's some of what's been found so far:
- American Denise Rich, ex-wife of pardoned tax cheat Marc Rich, has been uncovered as the settlor and beneficiary of two large trusts based in the tiny Cook Islands. The ICIJ found that Denise Rich gave up her American citizenship in 2012. Her citizenship was convenient enough when President Clinton had the authority to pardon her ex-husband.
- French President Francois Hollande, ardent socialist and tireless champion of the 75% marginal tax rate, appears in these documents, mostly by association. His campaign co-treasurer, Jean-Jacques Augier, has been forced to reveal the name of his Chinese business partner in a Caymans-based distribution company. Augier says he used his offshore company to make a large investment in China.
- Australian actor Paul Hogan, of "Crocodile Dundee" fame, has lost about $35.3 million from an account that he used to offshore his "bonza" film royalties. His once-trusted tax adviser Philip Egglishaw ran off with Hogan's sizeable hidden offshore stash.
- French banking scion Elie de Rothschild, of the famous banking family, has been named in the leaks. He was instrumental in setting up some 20 trusts and 10 holding companies in the Cook Islands, all extremely opaque in nature. His heirs have, not surprisingly, refused comment.
- Brigitte Bardot's third ex-husband, Gunter Sachs, a millionaire industrialist, has been revealed as the owner of a huge, obscure wealth-masking machine: trust upon shell company upon holding company, almost ad infinitum, mostly based in the Cook Islands. The ICIJ has constructed an interactive map of Sachs' extensive offshore holdings and business networks. The network is fairly representative of the steps that many on this list have taken to hide their wealth away. You can marvel at its imponderable complexity here.
How Much is $32 Trillion? It bears repeating: $32 trillion has been stashed away, off the books, by corporations and wealthy individuals.
Let that sink in for a moment. The implications are stupefying. The real effects of this are far more subtle, and pernicious, but this makes for a fun thought exercise - even setting aside the fact that only some percentage of this huge sum would be fair game for the tax man.
In the extremely unlikely event that all $32 trillion was added to government coffers, that would be enough to give every man, woman and child alive on Earth today a roughly $4,600 "stimulus" check.
Maybe we could all enjoy a two-week vacation in the British Virgin Islands. After all, it seems to be the destination of choice for monied types...
A Bright, Sunny Hub for Dark Business The British Virgin Islands appear to be at the epicenter of this huge offshore stash.
The small Caribbean islands specialize in tourism and financial services. Along with far-flung places like Liechtenstein, Sark in the English Channel, the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, the Caymans and others, the British Virgin Islands are home to thousands of shadowy front companies, trusts and funds that host the bulk of this $32 trillion stash.
As of 2000, the last year verifiable data was available, roughly 400,000 companies were listed in the BVI offshore registry. The number certainly has increased. Some of these countries remain underdeveloped, their citizens impoverished, even though they have high per-capita GDPs, and trillions flow to and from their shores.
Tax havens like these tend to have in common secretive banking laws and loose residency requirements, which make them appealing to those with money to hide. In once extreme case, The Guardianlocated an erstwhile British subject, Sarah Petre-Mears, who was the "nominal director" of nearly 1,200 companies across the world.
Less a captain of industry and more a shill for dodgy investors, Petre-Mears ran companies fronting everything from porn sites to time-share vacation properties. She used dozens of different addresses across the globe, with most turning out to be post office boxes and mail drops.
The consequences of this enormous tax dodge are hard to calculate. How does one reckon who's entitled to what? Which country's tax rate do you use - Canada? Azerbaijan? Slovenia?
There's almost certainly an impact to national budgets, from highway construction to military spending to social programs.
It's safe to say that whenever anyone anywhere feels the sting of budget cutbacks, whether a brigadier-general in South Africa or a primary school teacher in England, they'll have a world-class selection of tax cheats in part to blame.
Journalists are still sifting through the data contained in this massive leak, but as they go along, there're no telling who will appear in the data - and those people are running out of time and places to hide.
Neo-liberals will be working with republicans and Obama to lower the corporate tax rate and gave $4 trillion in corporate tax breaks in the past 4 years! They are moving to end all corporate taxes and have
Despite National Crackdown On Whistleblowers, IRS Relying On Informers To Report Tax Fraud
By Martin Michaels | September 13, 2012
In this Jan. 8, 2010 file photo, Bradley Birkenfeld, a whistleblower in the tax evasion case against Swiss bank UBS AG, pauses during a press conference outside the Schuylkill County Federal Correctional Institution in Minersville Pa, before reporting to the federal prison. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File )
(MintPress) — The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasingly relying upon the whistleblower program to investigate cases of tax evasion and fraud. While estimates vary, wealthy U.S. citizens could be hiding up to $5 trillion in offshore accounts, according to a Senate report published in 2008. By providing rewards for successful indictments, the government could significantly reduce the multi trillion dollar deficit by recovering lost tax revenue.
While the program has netted more than $5 billion, critics believe the U.S. government is promoting an unfair double standard. Despite being financially compensated, those who expose tax fraud are still subject to prosecution despite bringing valuable information to the attention of authorities. This has occurred at a time when the Obama administration has cracked down on a record number of whistleblowers.
Bradley C. Birkenfeld, a former employee at UBS AG bank was awarded a $104 million “whistleblower award” earlier this week for reporting widespread tax fraud committed by his former employer. During his career at the financial services firm, Birkenfeld helped thousands of wealthy Americans move their money to Swiss banks in order to avoid taxation by the U.S. government.
UBS tax evasion The UBS case is one of the biggest cases of tax fraud in U.S. history. In 2009, UBS was found to have helped 19,000 clients move more than $20 billion to Swiss bank accounts, tax shelters outside the purview of U.S. financial regulation and taxation. Birkenfeld an employee of UBS at the time, played an integral role in helping UBS clients move their money to these tax shelters.
Birkenfeld would later divulge the details of widespread UBS fraud. After his testimony, the bank was forced to pay more than $780 million in fines. UBS closed the division responsible for the tax evasion and also agreed to hand over account information for more than 4,500 clients. An additional 33,000 tax evaders chose to report offshore accounts on their own accord, generating an additional $5 billion.
Birkenfeld, who himself was complicit in the tax fraud as a UBS employee was tried and sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role. Earlier this week the IRS rewarded the 47-year-old for his efforts in the UBS case, a case that many tax experts believe could lead to investigations in other financial institutions.
Stephen Kohn, Birkenfeld’s co-counsel in the case commented on his client’s actions in a recent interview, saying:
“It’s the largest whistleblower award in history. But Birkenfeld turned in the largest financial fraud. He turned in 19,000 felons, and $20 billion in one unit. We also know that 33,000 people are turning themselves in. The total amount of U.S. dollars in illegal offshore accounts is over $5 trillion. That is the estimation by a Senate report.”
Although Birkenfeld was rewarded generously for his cooperation, Kohn believes that it was wrong of the Justice Department to prosecute his client, adding, “When the Justice Department prosecuted Bradley Birkenfeld in one of the most absurd and misguided efforts, they took an asset, a person who turned in the keys to the kingdom, the first whistleblower to expose exactly how illegal Swiss banking worked, and instead of using him, they persecuted him.”
However, Swiss authorities believe that the U.S. government has displayed “hypocrisy” for prosecuting Birkenfeld, then later rewarding him. Pirmin Bischof a member of the upper house in the Swiss Parliament commented, saying, “It’s the height of hypocrisy if the U.S. is one day sentencing the guy to 40 months in prison and the next give him the highest reward.”
Regardless of the duplicitous actions by the U.S. government, Kohn’s client is by no means the the only whistleblower to be prosecuted for exposing crimes, fraud and misdeeds.
Crackdown on whistleblowers Other whistleblowers reporting crimes have similarly been prosecuted for their actions. Bradley Manning, a member of the U.S. army has been held in solitary confinement since 2010 on 22 charges, including conspiracy and “aiding the enemy.” Manning allegedly released a cache of documents exposing U.S. military corruption and the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A video titled, “Collateral Murder,” was released in the vast cache, implicating the U.S. military in the murder of innocent Iraqi civilians and members of the international press. Filmed in 2007, the video has gone viral, viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube. While the video has stirred controversy, there have been no arrests or prosecutions since the video’s release.
Similarly, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently involved in a diplomatic standoff, unable to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange’s WikiLeaks project has brought to light hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables exposing corruption and war crimes committed by the U.S. armed forces and the U.S. government. U.S. authorities have sought his extradition for releasing classified information despite his being granted asylum in Ecuador last month.
The cases of Assange and Manning are, of course, different than that of Birkenfeld. However, all three are subject to a crackdown that occurs when the U.S. government has been found guilty of committing crimes, or has proven unwilling to prosecute crimes committed by its own citizens.
Unlike other whistleblowers, Birkenfeld received relative leniency for his crimes and was later compensated generously for his cooperation. While the case could lead to more investigations into offshore banking fraud, the unwillingness to properly tax major corporations remains a much larger, unaddressed issue.
Closing corporate tax loopholes Major U.S. corporations are able to move their corporate headquarters outside the U.S. while maintaining production and sales inside U.S. borders. When headquarters are moved offshore, corporations can avoid taxation despite being subject to other government regulations.
Consumer advocacy groups believe that this major loophole has cost the U.S. government more than $100 billion in annual tax revenue. U.S. PIRG, a consumer advocacy group, has advocated for closing corporate tax loopholes, a necessary component of tax reform, saying on its website:
“No company should be able to game the tax system to avoid paying what it legitimately owes. And, yet, establishing shell companies in offshore havens for the purpose of tax avoidance is becoming more the rule than the exception for at least 83 of the nation’s top 100 publicly traded companies. GE, Google, Goldman Sachs and dozens of others have created hundreds of phantom entities with nothing more than a clever tax attorney and P.O. box.”
According to its website, U.S. PIRG is “a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society.”
General Electric, a company that boasted $14.2 billion profit in 2010 adeptly avoided taxation altogether despite earning over $5 billion from U.S. sales. The company moved its address outside the U.S. and continues to avoid the 35 percent corporate tax rate.
Instead of prosecuting GE, Goldman Sachs and others for tax evasion, the U.S. government has consistently raised taxes on the middle class in order to close budget deficits and fund social programs.
This issue has become a cause celebre of Occupy Wall Street and sympathetic tax reform advocates in Washington. However, few voices have emerged calling for comprehensive corporate tax reform. The main issue is because Washington policies are largely dominated by corporations and wealthy donors able to shape policy by financing costly elections.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Va.), one of the few advocates for corporate tax reform, commented on the issue in a statement last year saying, “We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed, but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We’ve got to talk about shared sacrifice.”