Posts tagged Accountability
No NSA Firings over Snowden Affair
WASHINGTON – Both NSA head Keith Alexander and National Intelligence Director James Clapper have said that Edward Snowden’s leaks have done extensive damage to the agency’s surveillance program.
While the Obama administration continues to seek Snowden’s extradition from Russia, the NSA has not fired or disciplined any of the officials who granted Snowden access to classified information.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 31, NSA deputy director John Inglis admitted that nobody has been fired, and “no one has offered to resign” over the Snowden affair. Inglis insisted that “Everyone is working hard to understand what happened.”
Detroit dysfunction from the inside, Former head of transport for the city says it’s a lost cause
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
Bill Nojay, the recent head of the Detroit Department of Transportation tells it like it is. The bureaucracy, the incompetence, the unionized city workers, the fraudulent lawsuits, the complete lack of accountability, means that Detroit has no business asking for a bailout. It is a failed city. It does not work. Many of the people who run the city refuse to work. Any money given to Detroit would be wasted. Worse, it would enable the incompetent and dishonest.
The more we learn about Detroit the more it becomes clear that perhaps its just best let the place slowly sink back into the plains of Michigan. The city has been given chance after chance, billions of dollars by various means, but it has refused to change. It’s not compassionate to bail out such a place. It’s just stupid.
There is an endgame to big government and it looks like Detroit.
Like it or not my big government friends, (and I do mean friends) business is not the enemy. Capitalism is not the enemy. Capitalism (real capitalism) creates wealth and provides for the things which many in society want. Chase business out. Chase the innovators out. Chase the dreamers out and there is no one left to pay any taxes, to give to museums, to pay for Boys and Girls Clubs, to provide wealth creating (not wealth redistributing) jobs.
Capitalism is how society moves forward. In a free market people can experiment and see what works.
You want progress? You want life to be better for the average person? Then free markets and prices.
You want to drift back to the Stone Age? Then regulate society to death like they did in Detroit.
It was the law department’s policy to settle virtually all claims—which meant that the transportation department became easy prey for personal-injury lawyers bringing cases with little or no merit, costing the city millions.
In the DDOT we tried to hire our own lawyers to fight these claims. But we were blocked by city charter provisions prohibiting any city department from hiring outside counsel without the approval of the Detroit City Council. When we inquired with the mayor’s office we were told that the union representing the law department—in Detroit, even the lawyers are unionized—would block any such approval.
By CBC News Posted: Jun 14, 2013 10:10 PM ET | Last Updated: Jun 14, 2013 11:44 PM ET
Secret tax-haven names released to public
Journalism group anticipates crowd-sourcing of leaked offshore list will yield revelations
A glimpse at an enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance.
The information, contained in a new online database released Friday night, has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities — mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands — and the people associated with them.
CBC News has had exclusive Canadian access to the data for months and has determined that it names at least 550 Canadians. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions.
- Browse the new database of secret companies
- Read how countries have been rattled by tax-haven data leak
- See how massive leak of offshore records came to light
- Find out how the rich hide money offshore
The online names database was released late Friday night by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations, including the CBC.
“What we’re doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what’s routinely done in many countries around the world — making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record,” said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium.
“This is about transparency and accountability. There is a growing consensus that no one should be able to own a company secretly. No one should be able to hide in the shadows behind a company or trusts.”
The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them.
For example, a search of “Ghermezian” finds the name of Alberta businessman David Ghermezian, president of the West Edmonton Mall, and links him to a British Virgin Islands-registered company called Regal Mega Malls Development Corp . and a group of Chinese, Taiwanese and Canadian entrepreneurs.
Ghermezian has told CBC News his offshore company was a legal joint venture to develop a mega-shopping centre in China, but the project fizzled.
The names database does not contain the much vaster cache of potentially confidential information from the offshore data leak, such as bank account numbers, passport data, telephone numbers, financial transactions and emails.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.
“ICIJ believes many of the best stories may come from crowd-sourcing, when readers explore the database,” the organization said in a press release.
Offshore companies not necessarily illegal
Under Canadian law, it is not illegal to create an offshore company or trust as long as it is properly declared for tax purposes. There are a variety of reasons for setting one up, though all offshore entities typically enjoy strict secrecy under the laws of the jurisdictions in which they’re based.
“We’re not saying that everyone in the database has done something wrong,” Hudson said. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, however, you shouldn’t have anything to fear from this disclosure.”
CBC News has reported that the leaked files show that a Canadian senator and her husband, one of the country’s most prominent class-action lawyers, were beneficiaries of a confidential offshore trust in the Cook Islands that was used to make investments via Bermuda.
High-profile figures, from Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan to an officially bankrupt Swedish real-estate mogul to European banking dynast Élie de Rothschild, have used offshore accounts to hide wealth.
However, the leaked data also discloses dozens of cases of crooks, money-launderers and even democratically elected officials using the secrecy afforded by tax havens.
As CBC News reported recently, for example, the data shows how Russian criminals used offshore companies set up and administered by a Canadian firm in the Caribbean to launder part of a $230-million heist of the Russian treasury.
Other media outlets have found that the current or past leaders of countries such as Azerbaijan, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia have ties to offshore companies, sometimes in cases that would present serious conflicts of interest.
“A lot of people will be panicked to wonder if their names are on that sort of list and what it’s going to mean for them,” said Raymond Baker, president of Global Financial Integrity, a U.S. non-profit that campaigns to stop illicit movements of money.
“Right now there are millions and millions of entities around the world, shell companies where we don’t know who owns those entities. This is ridiculous. If we want to curtail the flow of illicit money, step one is knowing who owns the businesses that we are dealing with,” he said.
Tax probes underway
While journalists have their hands on the full set of leaked offshore records, so do national tax agencies. Britain, Australia and the United States announced last month that they’ve launched what could be the biggest ever international investigation into tax cheats using the data. Britain said it obtained the leaked files in late 2010.
Canada was offered the data by confidential sources for a price sometime before last December, but rejected it due to the Canada Revenue Agency’s policy at the time of not paying for such information. The federal government overturned that policy in its recent budget, which ushered in a plan to pay tipsters up to 15 per cent where the CRA recovers more than $100,000 from someone using offshore accounts to dodge their tax obligations.
Hudson said the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is hoping people will use its new database to find leads on other potential abuse of tax havens.
“It’s not a panacea. It’s not going to tell you everything. But it’s a tool,” he said.
“It’s a starting place for research for average citizens, for journalists, for government officials to start seeing connections and start documenting who’s out there and who’s using offshore.”
If you have more information on this story, or other investigative tips to pass on, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republished with permission
Even The New York Times editorial page turns on President Obama
The AP thing got their ears perked. Now with the recent NSA revelations even the Grey Lady, bastion of liberal statism, The New York Times, says the president has gone too far. It’s pretty hard for a liberal president to lose The Times but Obama seems to have done it, for at least this moment in time.
(From The New York Times)
Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.
Truth. Justice. Accountability. The idea of an international rule of law appeals to our innate sense of justice, but the most horrific plans are often cloaked in the most beautiful lies. Just as the ideals of international law are used to cloak the imperial ambitions of the globalists, so too is the idea of seeking justice in these controlled courtrooms a phoney pipe dream. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we explore the only real solution to this problem: removing the bodyguard of lies from the power elite and to withdrawing ourselves from the systems that seek to legitimize their rule.
So what does bad government fear most? Openness and transparency that would allow a view into their possible corruption and back room deals. When government conducts business in secret it makes one wonder as to which master they serve, as it would be apparent that they may not be serving those that entrusted them to office and the citizens they are to represent. If no other thought from this post stays in your thoughts, this last sentence should.
On February 5th the Blount County GOP held such a meeting, behind closed doors, which locked out and turned away approximately 40 or more people, from my quick head count, that took time out to attend, including a Republican County Commissioner as seen below. As no meeting was posted on the schedule on the Blount County GOP website, no signs were visibly posted, that I was able to see, as to give direction to the meeting room or that a meeting was even taking place, it makes one wonder what was the “agenda”. While that remains a mystery, we do know that open discussions with it’s citizens and transparency were not on the “agenda”.
Here was the only sign posted on the glass doors going back into the meeting room area. AARP Tax Aid was the only message given.
Below are two posts that originated on the Blount County Public Record website giving some of the details.
Sheriff’s Employee Jimmy Long Prohibiting Republican County Commissioner Jim Folts from Entering Meeting
Blount County Commissioner Jim Folts, a Republican, was prohibited by Blount County Sheriff’s Employee Jimmy Long from entering the Republican Party meeting on February 5, 2013.
Friends & Concerned Citizens,
On Tues. night there was a Republican meeting at the Blount County Library. This is what one of our patriots has posted on facebook: “Today a large number of grassroots Republicans showed up at the reorganization meeting of the Blount County Party. About 75 or so of the local elites, most of them you know, were the ones that got to make all of the decision about who is going to be in power in this county. They met in private, even though their own bylaws state the meeting is supposed to be open to the public and advertised in the paper of record. They denied fellow Republicans including a former state senator and sitting county commissioner entrance into the meeting, even though their own bylaws state anyone who has voted in 3 of the last 5 Republican primaries is eligible to vote in the meeting. Judges, who were part of the decision making process, suddenly left this meeting in the presence of so many people and at least one camera. Do you ever wonder why government operates in secret? The parties operate in secret. Well, the secret is up. More will be coming soon.”
Wayne and I were there in the hallway so experienced this firsthand and saw it with our own eyes. Do you ever wonder why we’re sick of incumbent or career politicians? We have our share of them here in Blount County and it’s past time to get involved as the taxpaying citizens of this county and tell them we want “openness and accountability” for our hard earned money.
A year after an eruption of protests in Bahrain, the ruling monarchy continues to commit serious human rights abuses against activists. Amnesty International has criticized the US and UK for ignoring the repression, and urged action.
In November 2011, a panel of human rights experts investigated the uprising in Bahrain and its aftermath and released the Bahraini Independent Commission of Enquiry (BICI) report. In June 2012, the panel sent a follow up unit to monitor Bahrain’s progress in implementing the report’s recommendations. Amnesty International has found that human rights activists are being arrested and harassed at increasing rates.
“The establishment of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and its report was considered to be a groundbreaking initiative, but a year on, the promise of meaningful reform has been betrayed by the government’s unwillingness to implement key recommendations around accountability,” the group reported.
The watchdog group said that the human rights situation in Bahrain has “markedly deteriorated” in recent months, and the country “risks sliding into protracted unrest and instability.”
The government’s failure to bring in promised reforms, recommended almost a year ago by the independent BICI panel, pose a serious threat to the small Gulf nation, which is deeply divided and is suffering from escalating violence, the reports said.
“We have found that actually the situation is much worse than it was months ago, it’s really deteriorating. We’re talking about at least 24 killed since BICI issued its report last year, a ban on all protests by the end of October and only a week ago a revocation of nationality of 31 opposition activists,” the author of the report, Covagonga de la Campa told RT.
Insufficient international condemnation
The human rights watchdog also criticized the US and the UK for refusing to condemn human rights violations committed by their ally, and choosing instead to “satisfy themselves with the narrative of reform while ignoring the reality of repression.” Bahrain is the strategic home of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Dozens of people have been killed in Bahrain since the Shia-led uprising began against the ruling Sunni monarchy in February 2011. Protestors are demanding an end to widespread discrimination against the country’s Shiite majority. Bahraini authorities blamed Shiite religious figures for fueling tensions in the country.
The BICI commission received complaints concerning the ‘mistreatment’ of 559 people in state custody. Forensic evidence in 59 of the complaints “was highly consistent with beatings and trauma.”
East Tennessee, Blount County, listen up! I can not forecast the outcome of this State Representative election but I can forecast for whom I will be voting for in tomorrows election! If you do not know of this person it is contributing to your loss of freedom. If you have not heard of her before it is because she is supported by folks like us, by We The People, not corporate interests and lobby funding.
If you have any concern regarding personal freedom, taxes, government accountability, limited government, honesty in voting and a strict adherence to both federal and state constitutions, the choice should already be made! Tomorrow is the day people. Tired of the right / left game and being lied to while having your purchasing power dissipated week by week, all the time hearing great promises while seeing nothing in promises kept or any positive actions? We have hope, we have Tona Monroe! Hope to see you voting with me for Tona Monroe on August 2nd at your local voting location.
Now for a word from a friend, fellow patriot and candidate for Tennessee State Representative, Tona Monroe.
Principles not Politics!
My 5 Point Promise and Proof that I Mean Business!
I will not vote to increase your taxes. Period!
Proof: I have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and have actively opposed numerous tax increases. I opposed a wheel tax when there was talk of implementing one. I stood strong against increased spending and a property tax increase.
I will oppose and expose all wasteful spending.
Proof: For years, I’ve challenged the status quo by carefully examining budgets and exposing waste. A Senator gave me his copy of the 721 page State budget because he knew I’d read it and find the waste. I will vote against any budget that is not balanced.
I will keep you informed about your State government.
Proof: I kicked off my campaign off with a free Constitution class. Currently, I maintain a blog on government and write for a local newsletter. These efforts will continue and grow. Serving as your State Representative, I will provide weekly legislative updates when the General Assembly is in session.
I will not compromise on the principles of responsible, limited government.
Proof: My campaign website has a list of principles that I believe in and will carry to Nashville as your State Representative. As an activist, I have worked for years to implement responsible, limited government principles that protect your God-given unalienable rights.
I will read the bills.
Proof: On my blog, you can see that I do extensive reading on proposed legislation. It was egregious when members of the Blount County PBA signed documents that they had never read and didn’t even have a copy of. It’s absurd that legislators would even consider supporting something they’ve never read. I will not support bills written behind closed doors that come out minutes before the vote is taken.
I ask for your vote and support on August 2nd. Together we can replace politics with the principles of freedom.
Let freedom ring!
Another great article by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles…)
Zombies, Deniers, Sociopaths, Schemers and Protectors: The five dominant personalities you’ll encounter in a world gone mad
(NaturalNews) What the heck is going on with our world? Why are people such lying betrayers? Why do the most evil people (like Eric Holder) rise to the top of the corporate-run fascist government? Why are homeless zombies eating human flesh?
In answering those questions, I’ve assembled the five archetypes of a society in collapse. These are the five dominant personalities we all see around us right now:
Which one are you?
Check the descriptions below to find out. You may also come to discover the true archetype of your boss, your spouse, your coworker or even your Congressman!
Zombies are the brain dead masses, the TV-watching fluoride heads who believe the mainstream media and dutifully vote for the next globalist puppet President. They live their lives without consciousness or awareness, sleepwalking through day after day, job after job, drinking diet soda and eating GMO.
Most zombies are incapable of holding down paying jobs, although a few have managed to find employment at the local DMV. The lower strata of zombies tend to be unemployed and even homeless, wandering the streets and snorting “bath salts” designer drugs that make them want to snack on each other’s flesh.
When not snarling at police and barbequing their best friends, these zombies are frequently panhandling at street intersection, holding signs that read, “Out of work. God bless” or whatever text best works to get them more money for booze and drugs. Four years ago, their signs read, “Hope and Change.” Change did come, of course, but not the kind of change they had hoped for.
The Zombie population is rapidly growing in America, thanks to the economic implosion and the continued assault on cognitive sanity via chemicals found in food, water, air and medicine. Many gun owners are locking and loading with Hornady’s “ZombieMax Ammo” in preparation for the coming Zombie apocalypse. Remember: If it’s eating the face off another person, it’s okay to shoot it.
Summary of the Zombie Archetype:
Cognitive capabilities: Insane.
Moral compass: Non-existent.
Desired agenda: Self-entertainment.
Typical dress: Rags.
When you’re not looking, they will: Eat your face.
With slightly more cognitive capability than Zombies, Deniers are the functional but ignorant masses who live out their meaningless lives in total denial of reality. They can still manage to hold down jobs and even dress themselves, so most Deniers are middle-class working people you might find employed at the local Wal-Mart, insurance company or TSA hub. Unlike Zombies, Deniers can speak in partial sentences and order from fast food menus. (“Idiocracy” speak.)
Astonishingly, Deniers watch network news and literally believe what they are watching. To the Deniers, there are no “conspiracies.” All governments are good. Drug companies are trying to help people, not exploit them for profit. U.S. Senators are “honorable” and the War on Drugs is a huge success!
Deniers believe there is no such thing as black market organ trafficking, child sex slave trafficking in the USA, child kidnapping by CPS workers, or government-run false flag attacks on civilian populations. Deniers are completely unaware that U.S. troops literally help grow the opium crops in Afghanistan, that vaccines are laced with cancer-causing stealth viruses, or that the so-called “fluoride” dumped into the municipal water supply is actually a deadly cocktail of industrial chemicals and neurotoxic heavy metals.
“The recent statements by Defense Secretary Panetta once again illustrate the Obama administration’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and our U.S. Constitution”
“For President Obama’s head of the Defense Department to state that international permission, rather than congressional approval, is what would be needed as a legal basis to initiate a no-fly zone over Syria flies in the face of the guidelines established by our Founders.
“There is no issue more serious than war. And make no mistake, establishing a ‘no-fly zone’ is in itself an act of war.
“Our Founders understood that waging war is not something that should be taken lightly, which is why Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress – not the President – the authority to declare war.
“This was meant to be an important check on presidential power. The last thing the Founders wanted was an out-of-control Executive Branch engaging in unnecessary and unpopular wars without so much as a congressional debate.
“But such actions should no longer come as a surprise. During the conflict in Libya last year, we saw exactly what this President thinks of following the rule of law. President Obama consulted NATO, the United Nations, and the Arab League for permission and authorization to use US military force against Libya. But he utterly ignored the one body that has the legal authority to grant that permission—the U.S. Congress. That was, and still is, unacceptable.
“This is a complete 180 from what we once heard when Obama was seeking the presidency, as he spoke passionately about the abuses of the Bush Administration in violating the War Powers Act. But, like many candidates, the rhetoric did not match the disappointing reality of what he would do as President.
“I have fought my entire political career for greater transparency, greater accountability, and strict adherence to the Constitution. If elected President, I pledge to always maintain the sovereignty of the United States and remain faithful to our rule of law.”
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!