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Culture, Humour, the Brave, the Foolhardy and the Damned
Culture, Humour, the Brave, the Foolhardy and the Damned.Disclaimer : this page is not intended for any specific nationality or jurisdiction. It is also not intended to solicit clients from any specific jurisdiction including the Republic of Mauritius inter alia.
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Congress and Hillary want grave-robbing to play a bigger role in tax revenue
Recently, Hillary Clinton announced her plans to levy a whopping 65% estate tax on households with a net worth of just $3.5 million. Cutting the threshold drastically from the current $5.45 million.
She’s not the first one either, with her plans closely matching a bill currently in congress.
This threshold drop would make a serious difference, because we’re not talking about $3.5 million in cash. We’re talking about net worth.
There are now 1.3 million households in the United States worth more than $5 million. And all the while inflation continues push more and more people into this category each year.
A modest family business, a suburban home, and a couple of decent cars could easily land a person in the range where their assets total more than $3.5 million, and would therefore have to be sold off upon their death in order to pay the government.
What this means:
How much wealth is exempted from the death tax, and what percentage is taken are both beside the point. The fact is that all the money being passed on after death has already been taxed when it was earned as income.
But with such a low exemption, this means small family businesses, and even farms are at risk of being dissected and confiscated by tax agents before they can transfer to the next generation.
Imagine the injustice of having to sell or dismantle a family business in order to hand over half of it to the government. A $5 million business is still pretty modest, especially when split between, say, three heirs. Yet even a business of that size would risk dissolution from the new Estate Taxes.
Government gag orders keep public in dark on unreasonable searches and seizures
Secret subpoenas and gag orders served to tech companies from the Justice Department are coming under fire, as tech companies are fighting for the rights of their customers and the public to know what is going on behind closed doors.
Microsoft along with many other tech companies have recently filed suit against the Justice Department arguing that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to restrict them from telling their customers what documents will be searched by the government and why. They also point out that gag orders clearly violate the First Amendment, by restricting the free speech of the companies who are served subpoenas for their customers' information.
Open Whisper Systems with the help of the ACLU successfully lifted part of a gag order from the Justice Department, which allowed them to explain to the public the government's attempt to demand user data from them.
The company which created the popular encrypted messaging app Signal, received a subpoena from the Justice Department in the first half of this year, demanding information about two phone numbers. The subpoena was accompanied by a gag order, which is why the specific date of the subpoena has not been published.
Open Whisper Systems and the ACLU have now published the documents from the government, and their response--something that could not have happened if the ACLU did not successfully get the original one year gag order partially lifted.
What this means:
But some gag orders have no expiration date. Who can tell how many companies have run into this issue, when they are legally forbidden from telling the public?
The government routinely restricts companies like microsoft, apple, and encryption providers from telling their customers or the public when a subpoena is issued for customer information. This means whoever is being investigated doesn't know.
Due process is going out the window and the biggest slap in the face comes when we are legally forbidden to talk about it. It is illegal to reveal the illegal activities of government.
Bait and Switch: Regulatory fallout from Wells-Fargo scandal will hurt small banks more
To pass the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, the government baited the public into being angry at the big banks, and then passed legislation that would give the big banks an edge against small competitors in the long run. All the costly regulations affected banks big and small.
But small banks don't have the personnel to deal with new regulations, and find ways around them, like Wells-Fargo does. It is easy for large banks who already have teams of lawyers who know how to comply with regulation to forge forward while still posting profits. But in addition to the costs of compliance for small banks, reworking their business model to remain viable after new regulations is not always such an easy feat.
And now, Wells-Fargo was caught creating fake accounts under customers' names without their knowledge or consent. But while Elizabeth Warren was grilling the CEO, he must have been hardly able to suppress his smile.
He knows any new regulations will just help destroy his small competitors; banks which might actually serve the needs of their customers honestly.
The big banks know that any new regulations because of their dishonesty will disproportionately hurt their small competitors. Wells-Fargo must pay $185 million in fines for wrongdoing. But these fines may pay dividends when the small banks and lenders are crushed under legislation that was meant to be the big banks' "punishment."
What this means:
Though Wells-Fargo must pay $185 million in fines to the government, they have only paid customers affected a total of $2.5 million in the form of returning fees collected due to the fake accounts they set up. Yet $100 million of the fine will go to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Civil Penalty Fund.
The Civil Penalty Fund was part of the Dodd-Frank legislation, and was set up to pay back victims of financial crimes. But if the agency has money left over, they can use it for their own purposes, including educating consumers. This education could be in the form of supporting new regulations, which end up helping the big banks. So did Wells-Fargo just simply pay $100 million for a marketing campaign to support legislation and regulation that will help kill their competitors?
Wells-Fargo will forge on, just as they did after Dodd-Frank, to find new ways to manipulate their customers. The small banks, however, could very well disappear with each new wave of regulation supposedly aimed at stopping Wells-Fargo from doing what they keep doing regardless. Consumers will be forced to deal with such shady big banks, having had their other options destroyed by regulation.
Source : sovereignman.com
The land of Liberty to become the Land of Hillary #socialistnightmare @investorseurope
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"Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Entries: 124, Scoring system: Appendix A"
As India and its citizens continue to feel the aftermath of the unexpected and unprecedented demonetization event, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pointed a silver lining – “less cash transactions and an increase in digital currency.”
"Speaking today, Indian finance Minister Arun Jaitley has opined that India will no longer see traditional cash numbers after the sweeping ban to render 86% of all cash in circulation obsolete, overnight, in early November."
Tough times for Romansh, Switzerland’s least-spoken national language, with the Romansh chair at the University of Zurich under threat.
"Virtually all of them live in Graubünden, in eastern Switzerland, the only canton where Romansh has official status."
Growing up on an estate in West London, I saw very talented people around me who, despite their potential, did not succeed.
"The professions and leading institutions are missing out on the unique insight and talent that real diversity can bring."
Marks & Spencer is ramping up its effort to win back its core customers by putting the spotlight on Mrs Claus as a stylish, festive, 55-year-old woman in its latest lavish Christmas campaign.
"The retailer has also agreed a partnership with Channel 4 that will see Mrs Claus give seasonal style, decoration and food tips with a host of TV presenters including Dawn O'Porter, Kirsty Allsop, Phil Spencer and Jimmy Doherty. "
A stone relief that turned up in Geneva in 2014 having been stolen from the Nile Delta some 30 years ago will soon be returned to Egypt.
"The stele will be handed over to the Egyptian authorities in the near future by the person responsible for cultural goods at the Federal Office of Police."
"The physical insecurities didn't end there: Sinatra also wore elevator shoes to boost his five-foot-seven stature."
"Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Entries: 124, Scoring system: Appendix A"
Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, but 31pc of UK shoppers think the deals are no better than other sales throughout the year, new research has suggested.
"As last-minute Christmas shoppers saw prices of some of last year's most popular gifts tumble after Black Friday 2015, just 19pc of the 1,300 people surveyed believed the event was a great way to get the best deals."
For the best part of a decade, the social news site Reddit was neglected.
"Ohanian is sitting in the speakers’ lounge at Web Summit, a European technology conference in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, billed as the “Davos of geeks”."
It's that time of year again, when we all struggle to remember if the clocks go forward or back.
"Relish those extra 60 minutes in bed. The mornings will also be lighter, however the evenings will be darker."
What kind of Latin America road trip would Che Guevara go on if he were alive today? He may have ridden an electric bike.
"E-bikes are a rare sight in the southern-most parts of South America – Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It is certainly not like in China, a country with 200 million e-bikes, or Switzerland, where one in six bicycles is electric. "
From Safety Check to crisis-detection algorithms and internet drones, the social media behemoth is becoming a vital tool in catastrophic situations.
"His feed was already lit up with a barrage of messages and updates."
Films have provided some of the most popular and recognisable melodies in popular culture, from The Piano to Amélie.
"Swiss-based classical pianist See Siang Wong has recorded an album of film classics, including from those two films, which has topped the classical music charts in Britain."
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"The traditional format of teacher-pupil communication is also going to change. Students will no longer sit behind school desks and wait anxiously to be called upon to answer a question."
To combat its ‘throwaway consumer culture’, Sweden has announced tax breaks on repairs to clothes, bicycles, fridges and washing machines. Will it help to reduce waste?
"The country has ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but has found that the impact of consumer choices is actually increasing."
Obama presented WIRED with six challenges the tech industry needs to address. We asked six of the biggest names in the our world how they could get it done.
"He presented WIRED with six challenges he feels the tech industry needs to address—just a few earthshaking problems the country could use some help with, that’s all."
Building something as large as a 737 wing takes an even bigger machine. Boeing’s Panel Assembly Line (PAL) is the 60 ton, 20 feet tall, friendly robot tha
"Building something as large as a 737 wing takes an even bigger machine. Boeing’s Panel Assembly Line (PAL) is the 60 ton, 20 feet tall, friendly robot that"