THE CONFERENCE AT UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND REAFFIRMED THE EXISTENCE OF CRIME, IT REAFFIRMED THE ABANDONMENT OF ENFORCEMENT, AND IT HIGHLIGHTED THE SIMPLE CHANGES THAT WERE NEEDED TO REVERSE THIS FINANCIAL DEBACLE. RATHER THAN THE HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS CREATED IN THE FINANCIAL REFORM (ONE ALMOST THINKS THEY WERE COPYING THE COMPLEX FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT MODEL TO HIDE AND CONFUSE THE PUBLIC) THE FOLLOWING ARE THE PRIMARY CONCERNS, ALTHOUGH NOT EXCLUSIVE:
1) WE SIMPLY NEEDED TO REINSTATE GLASS STEAGALL SEPARATING BANKING AND INVESTMENT TO END 'TOO BIG TO FAIL'.
2) WE NEEDED TO REMOVE THE RIGHT OF THE TREASURY/FED TO DECLARE FEDERAL DOMAIN OVER NATIONAL BANK REGULATION, LEAVING STATES UNABLE TO ENFORCE LAW.......THIS IS STILL THE CASE.
3) WE NEEDED A WELL-DEFINED LEGAL DEFINITION OF FINANCIAL FRAUD SO THE PUBLIC DOESN'T HAVE TO BE TOLD THAT NOTHING DONE WAS ILLEGAL OR TOO HARD TO PROVE......NO ENHANCEMENT TO FRAUD DEFINITIONS AT STATE OR NATIONAL LEVEL HAVE OCCURRED.
4) THE CAPS ON FINANCIAL REWARDS FOR CRIMINAL ACTIONS BY CORPORATIONS THAT GIVE US PARKING TICKET AWARDS FOR ALL THESE FRAUDS IS STILL ON THE BOOKS AT BOTH STATE AND NATIONAL LEVEL.......WE CANNOT RECEIVE A PUNITIVE AMOUNT AND WE CANNOT RECEIVE DAMAGES WITH THESE CAPS.......WHICH IS THE POINT.
5) THE LAWS MEANT TO CURB THE PRACTICE OF SHORT TERM GAINS THAT SPURRED RECKLESS RISKS ARE SPECIOUS AT BEST, NOT ENACTED FOR THE MOST PART.
THESE ARE THINGS A SUPERMAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS COULD HAVE DONE IMMEDIATELY TO REVERSE THE COURSE OF CRIMINALITY IN WALL STREET. NATIONALIZING THE BANKS WOULD HAVE ALLOWED FOR ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS FOR PROSECUTION. THAT IS IT. NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BROUGHT THE ECONOMY DOWN......WE ARE IN PROLONGED RECESSION AS IT IS. THAT IS WHY THESE POLITICIANS DID NOT DO THAT. THEIR JOB WAS TO PROTECT THE FRAUDULENT GAINS.....AND THEY HAVE SO FAR. BELOW YOU SEE THE MECHANISM THESE POLITICIANS HAVE DEVELOPED TO SECRET ALL THIS MONEY OUT OF THE COUNTRY....SHELL COMPANIES ......THAT CANNOT BE TOUCHED BECAUSE THE US HAS OPTED OUT OF INTERNATIONAL LAW/TREATIES THAT WOULD ALLOW PURSUIT OF THIS MONEY.
YOU CAN SEE HOW DEEPLY THOUGHT OUT THIS MASSIVE FRAUD OF THE TWO DECADES FROM CLINTON TO BUSH WAS. THEY EMPTIED OUR PENSIONS, RETIREMENT TRUSTS, HEALTH CARE TRUSTS, TOOK PERSONAL ASSETS LIKE HOMES AND STASHED IT IN SHELL ACCOUNTS OFF-SHORE. THE STAGNATION IN OUR ECONOMY IS THAT SUCKING SOUND, THAT MISSING MONEY CANNOT BE REPLACED. THEY ARE SPENDING IT FREELY OVERSEAS OUT OF OUR SIGHT. SO WHEN YOU HEAR THAT GREECE OR SPAIN IS ENDURING AUSTERITY WITH HIGHER TAXES ......THE ONES TAKING ALL THE MONEY ARE FACING NO PENALTY YET AGAIN AS YOU CAN'T TAX HIDDEN GAINS. IT IS HAPPENING IN THE US AS WELL. YOU WILL SEE THAT YOU AND I WILL BE THE ONLY ONES PAYING THE $14 TRILLION DEFICIT DOWN......IF WE REELECT THESE SAME PEOPLE TO OFFICE!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT THE STATES LEADING THIS SHELL COMPANY CULTURE OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND HIDING MONEY IS DELAWARE, HOME OF JOE BIDEN AND NEVADA, HOME OF HARRY REID.......BOTH THIRD WAY DEMOCRATIC LEADERS.
Shell companies Launderers Anonymous A study highlights how easy it is to set up untraceable companies
Sep 22nd 2012 | NEW YORK | from the print edition The Economist
SHELL companies—which exist on paper only, with no real employees or offices—have legitimate uses. But the untraceable shell also happens to be the vehicle of choice for money launderers, bribe givers and takers, sanctions busters, tax evaders and financiers of terrorism. The trail has gone cold in many a criminal probe because law enforcers were unable to pierce a shell’s corporate veil.
The international standard governing shells, set by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is clear-cut. It says countries should take all necessary measures to prevent their misuse, such as ensuring that accurate information on the real (or “beneficial”) owner is available to “competent authorities”. More than 180 countries have pledged to follow it. A study* scrutinises the level of compliance worldwide. The results are depressing. (YOU SHOULD READ THE STUDY)
Posing as consultants, the authors asked 3,700 incorporation agents in 182 countries to form companies for them. Overall, 48% of the agents who replied failed to ask for proper identification; almost half of these did not want any documents at all. Contrary to conventional wisdom, providers in tax havens, such as Jersey and the Cayman Islands, were much more likely to comply with the standards than those from the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. Even poor countries had a better compliance rate, suggesting the problem in the rich world is not cost but unwillingness to follow the rules (see chart). Only ten out of 1,722 providers in America required notarised documents in line with the FATF standard.
Providers were often strikingly insensitive even to clear criminal risks. The authors sent three main types of e-mail: the first from a low-risk alias from a country such as Norway or Australia; the second from a high-corruption-risk individual purporting to work in government procurement in such places as Kyrgyzstan and Equatorial Guinea; the third a terror-financing risk, working for a Muslim charity in Saudi Arabia. Providers were less likely to respond to the corruption category than the low-risk one, but also less likely to ask for identification when they did reply. Finding takers for the terrorist financier was harder, but not impossible: one in every 17 providers was willing to set up an anonymous shell for him.
Informing the incorporators of the international rules they should be following made them no more likely to do so, even when penalties were mentioned. When the undercover authors offered to pay a premium to flout the rules, the rate of demand for identity documents fell precipitously. “Your stated purpose could well be a front for funding terrorism,” one American provider replied—and then indicated he would consider establishing and administering the shell for $5,000 per month.
This study, by far the most thorough of its kind, makes sobering reading for anyone who worries about the link between financial crime and corporate secrecy. OECD countries show little willingness to tackle their own weaknesses and end their hypocrisy. In America, by some measures the least compliant of all, the incorporation-friendly states and business groups opposing reform continue to have the upper hand, despite valiant attempts by Senator Carl Levin to push through legislation that would require the registration of beneficial owners. Movers of dirty money know where the best shells are to be had, and it is not on a Caribbean island.
* “Global Shell Games: Testing Money Launderers’ and Terrorist Financiers’ Access to Shell Companies”, by Michael Findley, Daniel Nielson and Jason Sharman, 2012.
from the print edition | International
DO YOU HEAR THIS IN AMERICAN MEDIA? YOU BET YOU DON'T.....I'M GOING TO SHARE THIS WITH NPR NEWS----
THE ARTICLE BELOW SHOWS THE RENAISSANCE OF WASHINGTON DC.....IT IS NOW INHABITED BY THE CORPORATIONS RUNNING THE COUNTRY AND THE WEALTH THEY ACCUMULATED FROM THEIR POLITICIANS IS REFLECTED IN THESE URBAN FACELIFTS. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN BALTIMORE.....THE MONEY-LAUNDERING OF FRAUDULENT GAINS INTO CORPORATE INFRASTRUCTURE. THOSE BUILDINGS ARE OUR HOMES, PENSIONS, RETIREMENT, AND HEALTH CARE.
THE AMOUNT OF WEALTH IN THE WASHINGTON SUBURBS IS STRIKING AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHERE 14 TRILLION IN FRAUD WENT.......THERE IT IS. PEOPLE ARE DYING AS POVERTY BECOMES EPIC AND WE KEEP ELECTING THE SAME PEOPLE OVER AND AGAIN. YOU KEEP HEARING THEY ARE SHRINKING GOVERNMENT....WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS MOVING ALL THAT WORK TO PRIVATE BUSINESS AND IT IS EXPANDING THE COSTS OF GOVERNMENT. WHEN THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS SAY GOVERNMENT IS GOOD......THIS IS THE MODEL THEY ARE CREATING WITH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!
Washington Versus America
By ROSS DOUTHAT Published: September 22, 2012 New York Times
WHEN I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2002, you could sense that the nation’s capital had turned a corner after decades of decline. But the Washington of 10 years ago still looked basically like the city that had been scarred by riots in the 1960s and then emptied by white flight, with a prosperous northwest divided from a blighted south and east, and frontiers of gentrification that weren’t that many blocks from the Capitol itself.
No doubt there were boomtowns in the 19th-century Wild West that changed faster than D.C. did over the ensuing decade. But the changes to Washington have been staggering to watch. High-rises have leaped up, office buildings have risen, neighborhoods have been transformed. Streets once deserted after dusk are now crowded with restaurants and bars. A luxurious waterfront area is taking shape around the stadium that the playoff-bound Nationals call home. Million-dollar listings abound in neighborhoods that 10 years ago were transitional at best.
And that’s just inside the District proper. Cross the bridges into Virginia or shoot north into Maryland, and you’ll find concentrations of wealth greater than in the richest counties around New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Last week, new census data revealed that 7 of the 10 richest American counties in 2011 were in the Washington, D.C., region. Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington Counties, all in Northern Virginia, have higher median incomes than every other county in the United States.
Whence comes this wealth? Mostly from Washington’s one major industry: the federal government. Not from direct federal employment, which has risen only modestly of late, but from the growing armies of lobbyists and lawyers, contractors and consultants, who make their living advising and influencing and facilitating the public sector’s work.
This growth is a bipartisan affair. It’s been driven by the contracting-out of government services under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (as Andrew Ferguson put it in a wonderful Time magazine essay on the new Washington, “government hasn’t shrunk; it’s just changed clothes”); by the Bush-era security buildup, whose ripples are spreading to this day (witness the new Department of Homeland Security facility intended for still-impoverished Anacostia); and by the bright young college graduates who flooded the city at the dawn of Barack Obama’s presidency and the lobbyists who followed to claim a piece of his attempt at a new New Deal.
If you don’t mind congested roads and insanely competitive child rearing, all this growth is good news for those of us inside the Beltway bubble. But is it good for America? After all, like the ruthless Capital in “The Hunger Games,” the wealth of Washington is ultimately extracted from taxpayers more than it is earned. And over the last five years especially, D.C.’s gains have coincided with the country’s losses.
There aren’t tributes from Michigan and New Mexico fighting to the death in Dupont Circle just yet. But it doesn’t seem like a sign of national health that America’s political capital is suddenly richer than our capitals of manufacturing and technology and finance, or that our leaders are more insulated than ever from the trends buffeting the people they’re supposed to serve.
For Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, what’s happened in Washington these last 10 years should be a natural part of the case against Obamanomics. Our gilded District is a case study in how federal spending often finds its way to the well connected rather than the people it’s supposed to help, how every new program spawns an array of influence peddlers, and how easily corporations and government become corrupt allies rather than opponents.
The state of life inside the Beltway also points to the broader story of our spending problem, which has less to do with how much we spend on the poor than how much we lavish on subsidies for highly inefficient economic sectors, from health care to higher education, and on entitlements for people who aren’t supposed to need a safety net — affluent retirees, well-heeled homeowners, agribusiness owners, and so on.
There’s a case that this president’s policies have made these problems worse, sluicing more borrowed dollars into programs that need structural reform, and privileging favored industries and constituencies over the common good.
But this story is one that Romney and his party seem incapable of telling. Instead, many conservatives prefer to refight the welfare battles of the 1990s, and insist that our spending problem is all about an excess of “dependency” among the non-income-tax-paying 47 percent.
In reality, our government isn’t running trillion-dollar deficits because we’re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. We’re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesn’t stop.
When you look around the richest precincts of today’s Washington, you don’t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation.
THE BALTIMORE SUN PRINTED THIS EDITORIAL LAST WEEK. IT APPEARS TO BE FROM A TENNESSEE NEWSPAPER, BUT THE TOPIC IS TIMELY HERE IN BALTIMORE AS THERE IS A MOVEMENT TO PETITION TO REFERENDUM RECALL/TERM LIMITS FOR CITY OFFICIALS. IT APPEARS AS THOUGH THE BALTIMORE SUN IS HINTING TO THE COUNCIL THAT IT NEEDS TO TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT ITSELF FROM A PUBLIC CHANGE OF CHARTER. ONLY IN BALTIMORE, IT WON'T BE THE REPUBLICANS TRYING TO UNSEAT DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS, IT WILL BE EVERYONE TRYING TO UNSEAT CORPORATE POLITICIANS. THIS IS HAPPENING ACROSS AMERICA AND WE WILL PREVAIL!!!!!!!
GET OUT TO PUSH THE PETITIONS FOR RECALL AND RETROACTIVE TERM LIMITS IN BALTIMORE!!!
EDITORIAL: City needs a new recall law
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn. 5:14 a.m. EDT, September 14, 2012
It's been clearly evident for two years that the fringe attempt to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield was groundless to a fault, and fatally flawed under legal guidelines. The recall's chief supporter, Jim Folkner, has refused to give up, however. We hope Wednesday's appeals court verdict, upholding most of the trial court's findings, will finally be acknowledged as the last word.
The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's ruling on the recall's key deficiencies: the city's two-step recall statute failed to meet the state's superior mandate for a three-step recall process, and there were too few qualified and dated signatures to meet recall petition requirements.
The former will absolutely require the City Council to adopt a revised recall charter to meet state guidelines. The latter should shame the Election Commission, and the majority Republic bloc that ap proved the petitions.
Commission workers allegedly told recall organizers that signatures on their petitions didn't have to be dated -- a requirement under state law to allow signers to change their mind and retract their signatures within 10 days. The partisan Republican Election Commissioners, who hold a 3-2 majority edge, negligently approved undated signatures to be counted anyway. Then they rushed to approve the recall petitions and put the question on the ballot despite warnings of flaws by the panel's two Democrats -- one of whom is Jerry Summers, a highly successful trial lawyer who formerly served as the Election Commission's attorney.
In fact, the Republicans' excessive partisanship seemed apparent at every turn. They also supported their attorney, Chris Clem, in the filing of lengthy petitions supporting the recall process and futilely challenging the constitutionality of the state's recall statute. Clem's fees pushed the Election Commission's $25,000 annual legal budget up to $35,000 by the end of the last fiscal year on June 30. His final bills for the last appeal, Election Commission administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan confirmed Thursday, have yet to be tallied.
There's a good argument to be made that the commission's members and Clem didn't have to get so heavily involved in the legal tangle over the recall petition. All they really had to do was acknowledge the court's authority and await the ruling in the legal contest between Folkner and Mayor Littlefield, who properly challenged the recall petition's flaws.
City officials must now move promptly to adopt a recall process that overrides their illogical two-step recall. Because of an exceedingly low turnout of 18,000 voters in the last mayoral election, it would have allowed the mayor's opponents to effectively accomplish a recall of the mayor with just 9,000 valid signatures on the petitions; that's less than 10 percent of the city's registered voters. Had the petitions and signatures been found adequate, the mayor automatically would have been removed, and a new election would have held.
State law prevents such an exceedingly low recall vote by requiring a three-step process: a successful petition, then a vote on whether to recall the mayor, and, then, if needed, a new election. That's a far fairer process. A revised charter is in order. ___
(c)2012 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
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