Archive for the ‘Law’ Category
The United States has signed agreements with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to help those countries’ banks comply with an anti-tax evasion law starting next year…
The deals are part of the US effort to enforce the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act…which was enacted in 2010 and is set to take effect in July 2014. FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to tell the US Internal Revenue Service about Americans’ offshore accounts worth more than $50,000. It was enacted after a Swiss banking scandal showed that 17,000 US taxpayers had hidden substantial fortunes overseas…
With these two deals, both signed this week, the Treasury has now finished 12 FATCA “intergovernmental agreements”…which help countries’ financial institutions comply with the law…
The trading of financial information, though not part of the Cayman Islands deal but included in many of the other 11 FATCA agreements, has rankled US banks. In April, the Texas Bankers Association and the Florida Bankers Association, both industry groups, filed a lawsuit attempting to block a Treasury Department rule that would allow the IRS to send certain bank account information to foreign governments.
Looks like Romney, his Republican peers in the billionaire boys club will have to put their sleazy tax accountants to work again – searching out places to hide their funds from any responsibility to pay taxes in the United States.
It’s always preferential to hide your money rather than run the risk of leaving it inside countries that may have favorable taxation plans for foreigners; but, still let the IRS know how much you have inside their borders. Or so I’ve been told. Never had enough money to worry about.
Would you buy a used car from this man?
Police in Arkansas said a car dealership owner allegedly plotting to have a former employee killed inadvertently telephoned the man while talking to a hit man.
Jonesboro police said Larry Barnett, 68, owner of Legend Motor Company, called a former employee while speaking to a hired killer about having the former employee killed…
Sgt. Doug Formon said the conversation had ended by the time police arrived at the former employee’s home, but the call made from Barnett’s phone was still active.
Police said Barnett allegedly wanted to have the former employee killed because the suspect owed the intended victim a large sum of money.
“I’ve been here now for 25 years and I’ve never recalled a time when a subject has accidentally, if you will, ‘butt-dialed’ someone they’re either trying to commit a crime against or the possible victim of the crime,” Formon said.
Barnett, who police said was also allegedly falsifying documents to get loans for non-existent vehicles, faces charges of conspiracy to commit murder, felony theft greater than $25,000 and felony forgery.
Nice guy. I’ve known Mafiosi in the car business with better business ethics than this thug.
The European Commission has called…for new protection for Europeans under United States’ law against misuse of personal data, in an attempt to keep in check the U.S. surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding said she wanted Washington to follow through on its promise to give all EU citizens the right to sue in the United States if their data is misused. “I have … made clear that Europe expects to see the necessary legislative change in the U.S. sooner rather than later, and in any case before summer 2014,” she said.
Reding’s message was reinforced in a draft report obtained by Reuters that called for “very close attention by the EU” in monitoring data-exchange agreements given the “large-scale collection and processing of personal information under U.S. surveillance programs”.
The remarks underline a growing sense of unease in Europe at a delicate moment in transatlantic relations, when the globe’s two biggest economies seek a trade pact to deepen ties…
In the report, they highlighted the need for improving transparency in the ‘Safe Harbour’ scheme that allows companies in Europe who gather personal information about customers, for example, to send it to the United States…
“We are an economic giant and we behave like a political midget,” said Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. “The Commission and the member states are extremely timid and soft. They are failing their citizens.”
“It’s not a legal question,” she said. “It’s about Europe behaving like a politically self-confident entity…”
The EU is preparing to establish new rules, regulations and protection of data for member-states. Though it talks about a “right to erasure” some critics feels the members of the Euro Parliament still have little understanding of where the world has come to with the advent of the World Wide Web.
Should we expect them to be more or less behind the times than Congress or the UK Parliament, eh?
Earlier this week, voters in Albuquerque voted down a city-wide measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, by a ten-point margin. According to voter data analyzed by ProgressNowNM, the pro-choice side has women to thank for it.
“Eleven thousand more women–almost three times more women than men, in terms of additional turnout–came out in the municipal abortion election than did in the general six weeks earlier,” said Patrick Davis, the group’s executive director…
The result also showed that Latino voters, including Latina women, weren’t swayed by the anti-abortion arguments. They make up nearly half of the city’s population, and ban supporters had pinned their hopes on Catholic and evangelical Latinos. Opponents of the ban have pointed out that their coalition included two groups led by Latinas, Young Women United and Strong Families New Mexico.
Although not all public polling shows a gender gap on abortion, the team behind Virginia governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has said the issue helped account for a 9-point gender gap in his favor earlier this month. He won 59% of voters who said abortion was their top issue.
The anti-abortiion rights crowd is still working hard trying to snatch victory from their defeat. Democracy can be a tough solution for losers who think God is on their side and that’s all they need. Perish the thought that voters pay attention to science, constitutional law and civil liberties in an election.
A New York City judge dropped a prostitution case against a young woman, saying she was clearly not wearing the outfit of a prostitute.
Felicia McGinnis, 26, was arrested in the early hours of Jan. 9 after police saw her talking to a passersby on a sidewalk in Manhattan’s Midtown area, and charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution…
Police noted that McGinnis was wearing a “black pea coat, skinny jeans and platform shoes.”
…Judge Felicia Mennin wrote that McGinnis’ outfit did not warrant a prostitution charge and tossed the case out.
“Any current issue of a fashion magazine would display plenty of women similarly dressed,” Mennin wrote. “However, the choice of such outfit hardly demonstrates the wearer’s proclivity to engage in prostitution.”
Mennin also slammed the police officer for noting that McGinnis’ pants were “revealing” because they “outlined” her legs.
“[The] characterization of the jeans as ‘revealing’ because they ‘outlined the defendant’s legs’ seems more to be expected in the dress code of a 1950s high school than a criminal-court pleading,” Mennin wrote.
“Granted, this incident occurred in the middle of winter,” Mennin added. “However, a pea coat is still standard issue to members of the US Navy … and blue jeans, skin-tight or baggy, are practically an American icon.”
The copper who promoted this bust deserves to spend the rest of his career stuck somewhere in a Tea Party time warp – rounding up Beatles records and copies of Catcher in the Rye for burning, arresting people for shopping on a Sunday and, of course, shutting down pharmacies that sell condoms.
Then, forced to stand before a judge who comprehends civil liberties and roasts this anal Sluggo for having the brain power of a sawhorse.
More than 100 Britons were among 1,000 men caught trying to pay a computer-generated child to perform sex acts online, after a Dutch children’s charity set up a fake profile.
Terre des Hommes carried out a 10-week sting near Amsterdam, posing on video chat rooms as “Sweetie”, a 10-year-old Filipina girl.
Some 20,000 men contacted her, with 1,000 found to have offered her money…The names of these men – including 110 Britons – were passed to police…
When I visited the charity’s operations room – in a warehouse on the outskirts of Amsterdam – I watched as a researcher logged on to a chat room as Sweetie – incredibly life-like but created by a computer.
Within seconds, like sharks, men were circling.
Of the 1,000 men who were willing to pay Sweetie to take off her clothes in front of a webcam, 254 were from the US, followed by 110 from the UK and 103 from India…
The charity has now handed over its findings to police and has said it will provide authorities with the technology it has developed.
But European policing agency Europol has expressed reservations about the findings…And Andy Baker, of the UK’s National Crime Agency, also said that “tackling child sex abusers is best left to specialist law enforcement agencies”.
But he praised the campaign, saying it had “widened awareness of a global child sex abuse threat”…
Sweetie will not be used again. She has done her job – showing the predators that they can easily become prey.
If they’re keeping the program going, they should invest in better software. Sweetie ain’t near the sort of realism approached in computer-generated images for lots of movies.
OTOH, maybe this shows how strung out and weird the guys are who attempted to liason with Sweetie.
Spain’s public prosecutor’s office announce…that it had launched a preliminary inquiry into the alleged widespread surveillance of Spanish citizens’ private phone calls and emails by the US National Security Agency, to determine whether it could be prosecuted under Spanish law.
It was reported on Monday that the NSA had monitored 60.5m Spanish phone calls in the space of one month alone, in the latest revelations from the documents leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden…
The outcry comes days after it emerged that the NSA spied on the phone calls of scores of allies, including the personal phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
On Monday, the Spanish foreign minister warned the US that, if the monitoring of tens of millions of phone calls was confirmed, it could “lead to a breakdown in the traditional trust” between the two countries. José Manuel García Margallo said that the NSA’s alleged activities could have broken Spain’s privacy laws, which prohibit the collecting of data in relation to electronic communications.
Madrid had earlier on Monday summoned the US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, to meet with government officials and explain the extent of US surveillance…
Many in Spain feel that the government has not done enough to protect its own interests and had previously shown a surprisingly relaxed attitude to US spying when the allegations first began to emerge in the press last week. Human rights groups have called on the government, led by Mariano Rajoy of the rightwing People’s party, to do more to protect its citizens.
Rajoy fits snugly into the mold of Spanish right-wingers. I’d be mightily surprised if he’s interested in protecting much more than Spanish bankers, the Roman Catholic church – and his own wallet.
Lots of people announce the birth of their baby on Facebook – but not many get a congratulatory tweet back from the president. Yet that’s what happened to Lebanese couple Kholoud Sukkarieh and Nidal Darwish.
Earlier this year, they became the first couple to have a secular, civil marriage in Lebanon. Now, their baby – one-month-old Ghadi – has reportedly become the first child registered there without a sect specified on its birth certificate. The pair announced the news on their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the response from President Michel Suleiman came a few hours later. “It was nice surprise that he congratulated us – we didn’t expect it,” Ms Sukkarieh told the BBC.
In Lebanon, a person’s religious sect matters in everyday life. Military and public sector jobs are allocated according to a religious-based quota system. This approach extends to the top level of government too – the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shia.
But Ms Sukkarieh and her husband argue that this system is unfair. Jobs should be allocated based on a person’s qualifications and abilities – and bringing sect into the equation is divisive, they say. The pair took advantage of a loophole in the law when they married in a civil ceremony. A handful of other couples have followed in their footsteps – and according to Ms Sukkarieh – they too are planning to leave the sect section blank on their children’s birth certificates.
Though the president has come out in support of their moves, there is not universal agreement within the rest of the government, or Lebanese society. After their marriage, some MPs in Lebanon attempted to get the law changed to explicitly allow civil marriages – but this was thwarted after complaints from a number of religious clerics. Ms Sukkarieh says it’s not about rejecting religion, but embracing a Lebanese national – rather than a sectarian – identity.
I pressed for – and won the ability with several surveying bodies – to include the choice of “citizen of Earth” for nationality. I figured that out along with becoming an atheist when I was 13-years-old. Still wonder why so many folks have a difficult time getting all that straight.
Germany and Brazil are drafting a U.N. General Assembly resolution that would demand an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy after a former U.S. intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programs, U.N. diplomats said on Friday.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency.
“This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA (General Assembly), since no one likes the NSA spying on them,” a Western U.N. diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.
Merkel demanded on Thursday that Washington strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, adding she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.
Last month, Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders to yaccuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.
Rousseff also expressed her displeasure by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for this month over reports that the NSA had been spying on Brazil.
The arrogant Ugly American never really left the White House. The military-industrial complex achieved all its Cold War goals early on. Almost every president after Eisenhower was able to try his hand at a large or small war, keeping death and destruction hardware up-to-date. As often as our government lectured about peace, taxpayers ponied up for undeclared and unfunded wars, have continued to pick up the tab for 750+ military bases around the world. We are more of a danger to peace than any imperial force before us. We make the British Empire look like a traveling sewing circle.
From Congress to local polling places, there is damned little challenge to any executive mission termed necessary to national security. The War Department became the Department of Defense. God joined our pledge to the flag and our currency – and there must be a joke somewhere in that one. The sum of the four most recent presidential terms is complete agreement on our natural right to spy on everyone from laborers to prime ministers, home and away. The only difference being which mealy-mouthed interpretation of the Constitution is relied on.
A scientific survey of gun dealers and pawnbrokers in 43 U.S. states has found nearly unanimous support for denying gun purchases based on prior convictions and for serious mental illness with a history of violence or alcohol or drug abuse – conditions that might have prevented Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis from legally purchasing a firearm…
The research is the third report from the UC Davis’ Firearm Licensee Survey, which assessed support among federally licensed firearms retailers for a background check requirement on all firearm transfers and selected criteria for denying handgun purchases.
The survey is believed to be the first of its kind to gather the views of federally licensed firearms dealers and pawnbrokers on important social issues and the firearms business itself…
The survey found that most respondents (55.4 percent) supported a comprehensive background check requirement, with 37.5 percent strongly favoring it. Of those who favored comprehensive background checks, the strength of their support corresponded to the degree that respondents agreed it is too easy for criminals to get guns, recommended more severe sentences for illegal firearm purchasing and provided higher estimates on the prevalence of illegal gun sales by other retailers.
By wide margins, respondents endorsed three existing policies that deny handgun purchases to individuals convicted of aggravated assault involving a lethal weapon or causing serious injury, armed robbery, or domestic violence. They also strongly supported six of nine potential denial criteria proposed in the survey.
As federal and state policies on eligibility to purchase and possess firearms and background check requirements for firearm transfers are undergoing intensive review and, in some cases, modification, the views of gun retailers on illegal gun sales and other criminal activity among buyers and retailers could help legislators devise equitable gun laws.
Not especially surprising except that the study is worth noting – representatives of dealerships and dealers’ associations will be called upon to offer comment and testimony on future legislation.
I haven’t had a discussion with anyone in the retail end of the gun business over changing times in about 10 years or so. The last time I bought a new gun. But, I imagine that an educated self-interest in law is a necessity for today’s gun retailers.