Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7

North Carolina Republicans pushing bill to put two-year hold on all divorces


Sunday Long Read: Tax Havens, Tax Cheats & Other Criminals

Looks like we're in for a chorus of wide-eyed whoever could have imagined — turns out that people who want to hide their funds may not always have acquired such funds in full compliance with the law. Sunday's Washington Post has a long piece on "Piercing the Secrecy… "

A New York hedge fund manager allegedly swindles $12 million from a prominent Baltimore family. An Indiana couple is accused of bilking hundreds of customers by charging for free trials of cosmetic products. A financial manager in Texas promises 23-percent returns but absconds with $33.5 million of his investors' money in a classic Ponzi scheme.

All three cases have one thing in common: money that ended up in offshore accounts and trusts set up in tax havens around the world.

The existence of the trusts surfaced during a joint examination of the offshore world byThe Washington Post and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a D.C-based nonprofit news organization. ICIJ obtained 2.5 million records of more than 120,000 companies and trusts created by two offshore companies, Commonwealth Trust Ltd. (CTL) in the British Virgin Islands and Portcullis TrustNet, which operates mostly in Asia and the Cook Islands, a South Pacific nation. The records were obtained by Gerard Ryle, ICIJ's director, as a result of an investigation he conducted in Australia…

Today, there are between 50 and 60 offshore financial centers around the world holding untold billions of dollars at a time of historic U.S. deficits and forced budget cuts. Groups that monitor tax issues estimate that between $8 trillion and $32 trillion in private global wealth is parked offshore.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) has been holding hearings and conducting investigations into the offshore world for nearly three decades. In 2010, Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act requiring that U.S. taxpayers report foreign assets to the government and foreign institutions alert the IRS when Americans open accounts. More »


"Five Oil Spills in One Week: 'Accidents' or Business as Usual?" excerpt:
"It's time to put to rest the notion that oil spills are 'accidents'. They are, rather, a routine function of the business of extracting, transporting, and consuming oil - a good reason to spend our energy and resources on developing sustainable alternatives, not further entrenching our dependence on fossil fuels through new oil infrastructure."

((UPDATE: Since publication of this story this morning, yet another oil spill has come across the wire - a CP Rail spill from a derailment in northern Ontario - raising the total of spills this past week to SIX.))

Full article here:

Also, ExxonMobil will be required to fix the Pegasus pipeline, which has spilled an estimated 5,000 

barrels of  toxit shit into central Arkansas. However, ExxonMobil wasn't required to pay into 
the fund that will pay most of the costs to clean up the spill.
Pegasus carries crude oil that often contains a large amount of bitumen. And according to a 1980 law, 
companies transporting this type of crude from the oil shales of Canada are not required to pay into 
the trust fund. Only companies transporting conventional crude are required to pay the eight cents 
per gallon that was used to clean up the 364 pipeline spills last year.
And, yes, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be shipping the same sort of crude 
that allows oil giants to skip out on insuring against spills.

We could switch to clean energy like solar power, but they can't make any money cleaning up sunshine spills.


John Boehner Really Seriously Considered Obama Budget For Whole Minutes Before Saying The Hell With It




Callista needs a new pearl necklace

One from Tiffany's, I mean.

Newt Gingrich isn't ruling out a 2016 presidential run.

"I don't rule it out, but we're not spending any energy on it," Gingrich told reporters this morning at a National Review briefing on Capitol Hill. 

He is, however, continuing to speak in the early primary states. Gingrich, a 69-year-old former House speaker, will head to South Carolina later this month. He will visit the state from April 29 to May 2 for an energy roundtable and other events.

Callista, no doubt, will be navigating the aisles with the collection plate.


The states with the most relaxed gun laws have the highest incidence of gun violence.

But, y'know, we need penis enhancers guns to protect us from those Stalinist Kenyan Hitler dog-raping something-or-others lurking outside our lily-white gated communities!



The ongoing 20-year disaster: Pipeline accidents common, expensive


Gun control, schmun control... Who needs it? An Arizona Republican says elected officials should just wear bullet proof vests. That way, people get to have all the crazy guns they want and elected officials can just stop worrying. According the report, State Rep. Bob Thorpe says he started "researching body armor in the wake of the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords." Thing is, Giffords wasn't shot in the vest region of the body, she was shot in the head region of the body. And what about the rest of us? Are we all supposed to walk around in Kevlar all the time? Someone needs to check on Bob and make sure he hasn't been shot in the head region of the body, because nothing about this makes any damned sense at all.

A special discount on body armor for lawmakers.

Somehow I don't think we've reached the bottom of the barrel yet.


Pres. Obama is taking a beating from the left for backing cuts to Social Security. He should. For weeks. If you can't stand up for working people and the middle class, while protecting one of your one party's greatest acheivements, what the fuck are you good for? Seriously.


A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll finds a majority(55%) of self-identifying Republicans believe that their state should establish Christianity as the official state religion:

Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to say that they would favor establishing Christianity as an official state religion, with 55 percent favoring it in their own state and 46 percent favoring a national constitutional amendment.

It's not just that 55% of Republicans would do it, or are already doing it at the state and federal level, or that 46% percent of Republicans favor amending the Constitution in officially declaring once and for all that Republican Jesus is the only state-sanctioned spirit guide Americans will ever need to be forced to worship. No!

It's that the poll asks:

"Based on what you know, would you think that states are permitted by the constitution to establish official state religions, or not?"

And 61% of self-identifying Republicans answered, "not permitted."

So, they know, which is surprising, but they seem to get that the Constitution prohibits the establishment of Satanism Buddhism Islam Jediism Christianity, but they'd go ahead and do it anyway.

Just like Jesus would have imposed.


This chart, courtesy of Health Affairs, depicts the mortality rate of women in the U.S. between 1992 and 2006 which increased in nearly 43 percent of all counties. And as you can see, much of this is geographically isolated.


If you are an adult and you tell a hungry kid they have to dump their lunch in the garbagebecause they're 5 cents short — you're a horrible person.

Students at an Attleboro, Massachusetts, middle school went hungry this week, if they had a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch cards.

Five cents of debt was enough for cafeteria employees at the Coehlo Middle School to instruct kids at least one day this week to dump out the food they would have normally eaten, CNN affiliate WJAR in Rhode Island reported.

About 25 children left the lunchroom with empty stomachs, said Whitson's Culinary Group in a statement. The company runs the school's cafeteria.

Actually, if you tell anyone that they have to throw their food in the garbage and go hungry because they're a few cents shorts — you're a dick.

Meanwhile, legislators in Tennessee are pushing a bill to make Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dependent upon the grades of children who benefit from it.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school.

Children of poor families are already at a severe disadvantage in academia relative to children from middle and upper class families, and linking welfare to their performance in school is equivalent to twisting the knife after it's already been jabbed in.

The fact that few very people in America have children of school age may make it easy to propose punishing someone else's kids because their parents are poor, but that doesn't make it right and it qualifies you to be counted among the world's worst persons.

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