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
Tesla's range of high-end electric motors are about to get pricier in the UK as a result of the country's vote to leave the European Union.
"Sterling's fall of more than 15 per cent since the Brexit vote has led to price increases on imported goods, as well as on products made domestically using components or ingredients sourced overseas."
Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse will pay a collective $12.
"The German bank will pay a $3.1bn fine and provide a further $4.1bn in consumer relief in the form of loan modifications and other assistance to homeowners and borrowers."
Sunspel, the 156-year-old clothing company whose creations were worn by both Daniel Craig and Sean Connery in their appearances as James Bond, is due to report a 27pc jump in sales this year.
"The company, which specialises in T-shirts and boxer shorts, is on track to record a lift in sales from £7.4m to £9.4m to the end of January. "
Sony Music has apologised after its official Twitter account was hacked and hoax tweets announced that Britney Spears had died.
"The entertainment firm's tweets about the pop star, one day after George Michael's death shocked the world, caused a stir online before it quickly removed the false messages."
Arkansas police are seeking data from an Amazon Echo device belonging to a suspect in a murder inquiry.
"The gadget belongs to James Andrew Bates, who is accused of strangling his friend Victor Collins, who was found dead in a bath at the suspect’s home in November last year after an evening of drinking."
The number of new listings on London’s junior market fell this year as companies abandoned flotation plans amid Brexit uncertainty and volatile market conditions.
"Overall, there were 55 IPOs on the UK Main Market and Aim this year, making it the slowest year for UK flotations since 2012, as political events dented investor confidence."
Meiringen is the meeting place at this time of year for what could be mistaken for a Hallowe'en festival.
"One group dons animal fur and skins, adding ivy and roots from the forest. "
Parents have claimed their children's Hatchimals have been using swear words as they 'sleep'.
"They plan on keeping the toy because their son loves it so much and he hasn't noticed what the toy is allegedly saying."
Linda Farrow, the high-end British glasses brand that counts Beyonce and Adele as fans, is planning an ambitious expansion plan to launch 100 stores globally after a savvy bet on the Brexit result.
"The demand for upmarket and unusual eyewear attracted immediate attention and Linda Farrow Vintage gained an instant spot in Harvey Nichols, where it still has space today in the department store's refurbished beauty hall."
For Jean Pierre Mustier, the new boss of struggling Italian bank UniCredit, deciding to scrap his annual bonus was the honourable thing to do.
"Putting aside UniCredit, which is embarking on a huge €13bn rights issue to bolster its balance sheet, the omens for bonuses are not good. "
Some economists are having deja vu, and the reason might worry you.
"President-elect Donald Trump has championed tariffs on imports and limits on immigration, and suggested withdrawing from international alliances and trade agreements. "
At least 67 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a military barracks in the north of Mali on Wednesday.
"At least 67 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a military barracks in the north of Mali on Wednesday"
"The Bible describes a great city that corrupts the world. Portrayed as a woman, it is simultaneously presented as a queen clothed in precious garments and as a filthy prostitute, drunk on the blood of God’s people."
About 60% of Earth’s primate species are now threatened with extinction and about 75% have declining populations, according to a study published Wednesday.
"Humanity's population expansion is the main cause for the extinction threat, with 5 billion humans living in countries with primates. "
Four earthquakes have struck Italy, shaking buildings in Rome and Florence just months after almost 300 people were killed in one of the worst disasters in living memory. Residents of the capital described their homes and offices shaking when the first tremor struck at around 10.25am local time (9.25am BST).
"Residents of the capital described their homes and offices shaking when the first tremor struck at around 10.25am local time (9.25am BST)."
The president leaves with 60% approval but most Republicans still rate him poorly.
"A majority approve of his economic policy, but polls show a deep divide between Democrats and Republicans."
The payment to the UN Green Climate Fund was announced three days before Donald Trump takes office.
"Mr Obama pledged in 2014 to give $3bn to help tackle the effects of climate change in the poorest countries."
The moth, which has a wingspan of just over a centimetre, was discovered in California.
"Nine species were named after President Barack Obama during his term in office."
The Wikileaks source will walk free in May, but critics call the decision "a grave mistake".
"The commutation reduces Manning's sentence but is not a pardon, which some campaigners had called for."
The violence erupted over the demolition of illegally built homes in a Bedouin village.
"They alleged he was active in an Islamist group and might have been influenced by so-called Islamic State."
At least 50 people are killed in northern Mali in a car bomb attack on a military base, officials say.
"Despite French military intervention in 2013, the region remains tense with sporadic attacks and kidnappings."
Temperature data for 2016 shows it is likely to have edged ahead of 2015 as the world's warmest year.
"The El Niño weather phenomenon played a role, say scientists, but the main factor was human emissions of CO2."
MPs vote for The Gambia's leader to stay in power for another 90 days rather than step down on Thursday.
"The Gambia was plunged into crisis after Mr Jammeh rejected Mr Barrow's shock victory in the 1 December election."
The president of the Marche region appeals for aid after three strong quakes strike in a single day.
"A number of villages had become isolated, he said, with fallen trees blocking snow ploughs."
Boris Johnson tells the EU not to treat the UK's Brexit "escape" like a "World War Two movie".
"PM Theresa May set out her Brexit strategy, including leaving the EU single market, in a speech on Tuesday."