Monday, September 21, 2020

Ruby’s Day: Journey into a Libertarian Future– Dark Realities

Almanac: Charles Wilson on courage
“Courage is a moral quality; it is not a chance gift of nature like an aptitude for games. It is a cold choice between two alternatives, the fixed resolve not to quit; an act of renunciation which must be made not once but many times by the power of the... Read more


Journey into a Libertarian Future: Part V – Dark Realities

A libertarian perspective on nobility, democracy, and lobbying.

Jeffrey A. Dubin (MIT) & Emma Cockerell (USC), Bi-Annual Taxes – A Simple Solution to Rising Tax Non-Compliance, Shrinking IRS Budgets, and Increasing Taxpayer Burden:

Each year, individual tax non-compliance results in billions of dollars of lost tax revenue. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts examinations of select returns, the audit rate has fallen precipitously in past decades.

Ian Taylor sells high-end jet skis from his four-bedroom waterfront townhouse in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac on the Gold Coast.

What the 43-year-old does not advertise is that his other source of income has come from setting up shell companies, which have been used by money launderers, arms dealers and Mexican drug cartels.

His business allowed customers to hide their true identity by providing nominee directors and shareholders to obscure who was really behind the shell company.


 Confidential Clients 


Explore Fincen Data 



via ICIJ: FinCEN Files – our latest cross-border investigation – exposes how the world's biggest banks, tasked with stopping suspicious activity, actually profit hugely from it. Over the coming days and weeks, we will take you on a shocking worldwide tour of corruption and inequality, as we send each story directly to your inbox.The very idea of money laundering and the despots, terrorists and drug lords who benefit from it, may not register as an immediate threat – especially in a year punctuated by a global health crisis.


But the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to grip much of the world, shows just how important every dollar is to our revenue-starved governments. Today, we explain how our broken financial system lets anonymous companies go unchecked and how millions of dollars in public money gets looted – instead of helping fund hospitals or other public services.At the heart of the FinCEN Files are 2,100 extremely secret documents, known as suspicious activity reports, that were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with us. These documents offer extraordinary insight into the secret world of international banking.From these files, more than 400 reporters in 88 countries have taken threads of information – a name, a company – and researched, interviewed, and further sourced more than 17,000 additional documents to tell stories of notorious figures who have benefited from a system unable to protect us.


Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terroristsTrillions in tainted dollars flow freely through major banks, swamping a broken enforcement system.


Unchecked by banks, dirty cash destroys dreams and livesFrom Ukraine to the United States, from Tunisia to Turkmenistan, FinCEN Files details the punishing human cost of laundered trillions. We reveal that banks kept moving illicit funds even after U.S. officials warned them they’d face criminal prosecutions if they didn’t stop doing business with mobsters, fraudsters, or corrupt regimes. Big global banks – JPMorgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon – continued to wave through suspect payments despite promises to government authorities to do more to stop the flow of dirty money. Banks told us they take their responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have since taken efforts to clean up their act.On the surface, this might seem like a victimless crime, but tell that to the Californian man who ended up dead after one of the investors he unwittingly told to support a Ponzi scheme had him killed. Or the Russian parents who wanted a used car to take their sick child to the hospital and instead lost $15,000.  Olympic athletes have been cheated of victories by crooked officials, and a family mourns the loss of their son to a fentanyl overdose – payments for which darted across the global financial system long before the drugs landed in his home. The stories we - and our partners - reveal are just the beginning.

Where to start?  Explore billions of dollars in transactions – and see how your country fits into the story.We explain suspicious activity reports in detail here.And, explain why all this cash goes through New York in this video.


Short on time? Watch our overview video (less than 3mins!) – and then tell your friends!

It wouldn’t be an ICIJ investigation without our partners. You can meet some of them in this short video from the investigative ‘party’ we all had in Germany (back when we could meet in person!) to kickstart our research.I will be back in your inbox for the next four days. So stay tuned for more! And, please, if you think this investigation is worth reading about, forward it to your friends and share on social media with #FinCENFiles.

Experience: my brother spied on me for the Stasi

I was strip-searched at the border. To be betrayed by a family member touches you deeply

New Space technologies: Australia's first private space rocket blasts off from Koonibba Aboriginal community

The policing of speech is more common than it was 15 years ago. Political correctness has run amok, says Tyler Cowen. But so then has everything else  

Hundreds of apartment owners are facing a financial time bomb after their buildings were approved by a dodgy building certifier who has since been booted from the industry.

Conversation among New Yorkers can seem less like a discussion than a verbal wrestling match. Can a sociolinguist explain? Fuhgeddaboutit 

TIME: “Like many of the virus’s hardest hit victims, the United States went into the COVID-19 pandemic wracked by preexisting conditions. A fraying public health infrastructure, inadequate medical supplies, an employer-based health insurance system perversely unsuited to the moment—these and other afflictions are surely contributing to the death toll. But in addressing the causes and consequences of this pandemic—and its cruelly uneven impact—the elephant in the room is extreme income inequality.

How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades.

This is not some back-of-the-napkin approximation. According to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation, had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP—enough to more than double median income—enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Every month. Every single year…”

Robodebt court documents show government was warned 76 times debts were not legally enforceable