Call For Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Recounts.

By Jerry Alatalo

“In a democracy dissent is an act of faith.”

– J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT (1905-1995) American senator

World Map1Alphabet The Green Party’s candidates for President and Vice-President, Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, have taken steps calling for recounts of the 2016 vote in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Given their request includes a “paper trail” to verify the vote counts were accurate and that electronic voting machines in their current technology configurations make that likely impossible, recounts should make what has been highly disturbing for the few who’ve looked into problems associated with electronic voting universally known.

While Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are among those who have apparently settled on the legitimacy of the 2016 election, not acted by questioning the accuracy of vote totals and/or requesting recounts, and look forward, despite disappointment, to a “smooth transition of power” – big questions will become answered, concerns will become addressed, for good or bad in the three states specified.

Supporters of Stein|Baraka had their hopes dashed by results showing them receiving just 1% of the national vote – far short of the desired 5% goal Green Party organizers worked toward – and left many wondering whether there was some form of vote corruption or illegality occurring to lower final Green totals. Given that election 2016 took place during a time when “anti-establishment” sentiments were at the highest ever in America and around the Earth, and that the Green Party’s platform proposals clearly represented the most “anti-establishment” variety of all those in the race, the final results seem in the eyes of many difficult to reconcile.

During the campaign Dr. Stein and Mr. Baraka stated on numerous occasions that they wouldn’t “sleep well at night” if either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton were to become President; recounts in the three (3) states will not result in Green Party candidates winning the White House, so the primary impetus behind the action is more fundamentally in defense of democracy – to (finally) expose defects existing in the U.S. election system, viewed by experts as the worst in the developed world, and the need for long-overdue reform(s).

Some will view the act of calling for recounts as “sour grapes” after the Green Party candidates’ poor showing in the election, or perhaps as an attempt to reverse the election in favor of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine over Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Various responses and perceptions of motivations related to the recount action aside, it becomes difficult for any person moderately informed about the poor state of U.S. national elections to criticize efforts to improve the nation’s democratic process by identifying, acknowledging and then correcting as many problems and deficiencies as possible.

Protecting the will of “we, the people” through vigilance using checks and verification procedures commonly practiced in the accounting profession can only result in an ever-increasing potency and strength of democracy in America. Certainly, actions leading to such a result will receive nothing but the strongest support of current President Barack Obama, President-elect Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Bernie Sanders, their supporters, and all those who believe in democracy.

Knowing their fellow Americans have genuine concerns about protecting the democratic process, willing to act in its defense against manipulation or corruption, and intent upon making their election system the best possible, should rationally become perceived by citizens as completely positive. During Thanksgiving Day celebrations across the United States, people now have another good reason to give thanks.

(Thank you to RT America at YouTube)

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Panama Papers? Sanders Was Fighting Tax Havens In 2013.

By Jerry Alatalo

(Photo: ImagesofMoney.org)
(Photo: ImagesofMoney.org)

Alphabet A video from February 2013 shows now 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaking forcefully in opposition to tax havens. While many around the world are both thankful and enraged after learning first details of the “Panama Papers”, the largest media leak in human history, it is important – especially for American voters – to understand one candidate of the major parties was actively battling offshore tax evasion since at least early 2013. Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton got busted red-handed misrepresenting Bernie Sanders’ record on healthcare a few weeks ago when she intentionally and arrogantly lied, with a fake air of moral outrage asking a St. Louis crowd, “Where was my opponent (Sanders) in 1993-94 when I was working on healthcare?” A video from 1993 of Ms. Clinton making a press statement about healthcare was found within hours, clearly showing Bernie Sanders standing directly behind her – and where she thanked Sanders personally for all of his help – and quickly went viral.

Sanders could – especially after the “Panama Papers” expose has become the issue discussed across all media, gaining worldwide attention – ask “Where was my opponent (Clinton) in 2013 when I was waging a battle against tax havens?” Sanders could ask the same question of Trump, Cruz and Kasich.

The matter of highest importance for the American people to consider between the candidates’ questions is this: Clinton’s false and misleading question was slanderous and designed to steal votes, while Sanders would be asking about an issue that is very important and clearly legitimate. The “Panama Papers” release only strengthens and adds to positive perceptions of Bernie Sanders in the eyes of the American people.

(Thank you to Bernie Sanders at YouTube)

From February 2013:

Prediction: Sanders Wins Wisconsin, Another Record Turnout.

By Jerry Alatalo

Bernie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alphabet If the trend of record numbers of voters over the campaign fueled by enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders continues in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Sanders should easily win the state’s Democratic primary. He has a large lead over Clinton among independents in Wisconsin and the nation, independents can vote in Wisconsin, so one can predict a Sanders win. The only question that remains is by how large a margin.

Because the people of Wisconsin, of America for that matter, have felt the pain of lost manufacturing firms and jobs to Mexico, China and other low wage countries due to “disastrous trade deals” beginning with NAFTA, voters in the state will not forget that Hillary Clinton’s husband signed NAFTA into law instead of stopping it with the presidential veto. They know, and will remember, that Ms. Clinton’s State Department helped push and create the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), her calling it the “Gold Standard” of trade deals, then her “opposition” to TPP when it became politically advantageous in her race with Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

During the following interview with long-time Bernie supporter and media personality Ed Schultz at a United Auto Worker’s center in Jaynesville, Wisconsin, Sanders pointed out the Clinton campaign seriously proposed their New York State debate be held tonight – at the same time the NCAA men’s college basketball championship game is being decided. Clinton’s team might as well have asked the debate be held on a weekday at 3:00 AM. Everyone in America is watching the NCAA championship game.

Whether, to borrow a sports term, Ms. Clinton’s strategy at this crucial point in the election – playing to not lose, running out the clock – backfires in a big and historic way is yet to become known, but might just become a lot clearer after the last votes get counted Tuesday night in Wisconsin.

(Thank you to RT America at YouTube)

“Panama Papers” Tax Evasion Expose’ Forces Presidential Response.

By Jerry Alatalo

(Image: Vocfm.co.za)
(Image: Vocfm.co.za)

Alphabet After the largest release of secret financial records of tax evasion in history, the “Panama Papers”, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have no choice but to share their views with the American people and fully address the issue – like Bernie Sanders. Sanders alone among the remaining major-party presidential contenders has spoken to crowds across the nation about the global industry of tax havens/evasion.

Given the worldwide press coverage of the “Panama Papers”, the American people will surely be interested in what Clinton, Trump, Cruz and Kasich have to say on this major news bombshell – of historic dimension and consequence.

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The men and women at the Tax Justice Network have worked relentlessly for many years reporting on the worldwide tax evasion industry, now estimated to cost $1 trillion in lost tax revenues for national governments. The group issued a press release today on their website:

Press Release:  Tax Justice Network

The Enablers Of Financial Secrecy Know  What They Are Doing

For immediate release

Contact: John Christensen, Director of the Tax Justice Network +44 7979 868302

Law firms like Mossack Fonseca know exactly what they are doing when they set up secret offshore companies. Lawyers operate in a privileged environment. Although they have a duty of confidentiality to their clients, that duty does not override their obligation to uphold the law. This means performing adequate due diligence on their clients and informing the relevant authorities when they come across suspicious activity.

However, far too many offshore lawyers, accountants and bankers see it as their role to shield their clients from financial regulations designed to prevent money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.

The Tax Justice Network has for many years highlighted the role Panama has played in the global offshore industry. Our Financial Secrecy Index, the benchmark for assessing the secrecy of financial centres, assigns Panama with one of the highest secrecy scores in the world.

The kind of financial secrecy practised by Panama is designed specifically to avoid global regulations requiring the disclosure of assets. In many cases this secrecy is established for the sole purpose of hiding criminal or corrupt transactions.

For years we have called on governments around the world to implement the policies required to stamp out tax evasion, corruption and criminality, yet we have seen little progress. We note that today’s latest leak from the ICIJ highlights yet again how financial secrecy permeates the global political and business elite; many of whom are responsible for designing the rules on the global economy.

What is needed now is a commitment to end financial secrecy, tax havens and the offshore financial system. We are unaware of any legitimate reason as to why individuals need to incorporate companies in secrecy jurisdictions. It is now time for that practice to end.

Commenting specifically on today’s allegations,

John Christensen, Director of the Tax Justice Network said:

“Mossack Fonseca has been one of the giants of the offshore world for decades. They had a reputation for extreme secrecy and discretion on their clients’ behalf, which needless to say was attractive to many clients engaged in tax evasion, fraud, hiding conflicts of interest, and other white collar crimes.

It is important to recognise that offshore law firms like Mossack Fonseca do not operate in isolation; they rely on intermediaries, often other law firms or banks, to pass on clients and to provide support for the sophisticated cross-border structures needed by politically exposed clients or other members of the global financial elite who want to hide their corrupt and criminal activities”

Alex Cobham, Director of Research for the TJN said:

“The Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index has for a long time listed Panama as one of the most secretive jurisdictions in the world. In the most recent index we identified Panama as a jurisdiction of ‘extreme concern’. But the international community, despite talking a good game, has done little to compel improvements either from Panama or the many other jurisdictions working to promote secrecy, including the British tax haven network.

This global inaction has allowed places like Panama to cause huge damage to the global economy, facilitating tax avoidance and evasion that not only eliminates government revenues to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year, but also the corruption that undermines democratic government and elite accountability.”

Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands, a book about tax havens, said:

 “While the focus is currently on Panama, one of the world’s sleaziest tax havens, it is important not to forget that it is just part of a bigger global system. The United States is a big player in the game, hosting vast sums in foreign-owned assets in conditions of strong secrecy. The United Kingdom runs a global network of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies that includes some of the world’s biggest tax havens — including Cayman, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Jersey.

In a little over two months’ time UK Prime Minister David Cameron will hold a global anti-corruption summit in London. If the UK government is serious about taking on corruption and money laundering, then it needs to take action on the British territories, many of which are used by companies such as Mossack Fonseca to hide their clients’ wealth.”

Notes

  1. The Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index can be accessed here: http://www.financialsecrecyindex.com/introduction/fsi-2015-results. Panama receives a secrecy score of 72 out of 100 on the index.
  2. The Financial Secrecy Index narrative report on Panama can be found here: http://www.financialsecrecyindex.com/PDF/Panama.pdf
  3. We recently wrote on how Panama’s history as a tax haven. Which can be accessed here: http://www.taxjustice.net/2016/03/30/panama-the-making-of-a-tax-haven-and-rogue-state/
  4. The Tax Justice Network is a research organisation focusing on the offshore economy – To find out more about the TJN, visit taxjustice.net

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Along with TJN’s website, those interested in learning more about the issue of tax havens and tax evasion can visit Tax Justice Network’s YouTube channel and listen to dozens of archived, highly informative, fact-filled podcasts:

https://www.youtube.com/user/TackleTaxHavens

The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders should receive a tremendous surge of support after the release of the “Panama Papers”, especially when Americans learn he’s been the only candidate of the two major parties addressing the extremely important issue of massive, global tax evasion.