The New York Police Department found Mr. Rago dead in his apartment at 7:40 p.m., according to a police official. The authorities went to check on Mr. Rago after he didn’t show up for work on Thursday. Paul Gigot, the editor of the Journal’s editorial page, had alerted the paper’s security officials, who then contacted the police.
“Millions of Americans recognized Mr. Trump’s flaws but decided he was a risk worth taking. They assumed, or at least hoped, that he’d rise to the occasion and the demands of the job. If he cannot, he’ll betray their hopes as his Presidency sinks before his eyes.”
In what is a staggering example of not only state meddling in the affairs of the “free press”, but worse, sheer state idiocy, yesterday the WSJ posted an article on its website revealing that as many as 24 co-conspirators would be exposed shortly in the ongoing Libor manipulation scandal and divulging the names of various individuals on this list. What promptly followed was truly bizarre. As the WSJ reports shortly after posting the article, “a British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper’s European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government’s ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.” This happened at 7:18 pm London time, after the original WSJ article had already hit the Internet.
The WSJ added that “The order, which applies to publication in England and Wales, also demanded that the Journal remove “any existing Internet publication” divulging the details. It threatened Mr. Enrich and “any third party” with penalties including a fine, imprisonment and asset seizure.”
As a result, the media organization decided to comply with this gross example state censorship, and now in the place of the article, one could find the following note:
The U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the IRS.
Beware the sledgehammer used to crack the nut. In this case, the nut is the U.S. government’s laudable goal of catching tax evaders. The sledgehammer is the overreaching effect of legislation that is alienating other countries and resulting in millions of U.S. citizens abroad being forced to either painfully reconsider their nationality, or face a lifetime of onerous bureaucracy, expense and privacy invasion.
The legislation is Fatca, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. To appreciate its breathtaking scope along with America’s unique “citizen-based” tax practices, imagine this: You were born in California, moved to New York for education or work, fell in love, married and had children. Even though you have faithfully paid taxes in New York and haven’t lived in California for 25 years, suppose California law required that you also file your taxes there because you were born there. Though you may never have held a bank account in California, you must report all of your financial holdings to the State of California. Are you a signatory on your spouse’s account? Then you must declare his bank accounts too. Your children, now adults, have never been west of the Mississippi but they too must file their taxes in both California and New York and report any bank accounts they or their spouses may have because they are considered Californians by virtue of one parent’s birthplace.
Extrapolate that example to the six million U.S. citizens living around the globe. Many, if not most, don’t know about these requirements. Yet they face fines, penalties and interest for not complying—even if they owe no U.S. taxes, own no U.S. property, have no U.S. bank account and haven’t lived there in years—if ever.
A particularly alarming aspect of Fatca is that it seeks to co-opt foreign banks as long-arm enforcement agencies of the Internal Revenue Service—even when it might contravene that country’s own privacy or data-protection laws. If financial institutions don’t report U.S. citizens holding accounts with them, these institutions face a 30% withholding tax on securities transactions that originate in the U.S.
Authored by Vincent Cignarella, originally posted at WSJ Market Beat,
Is The Euro a Currency or a Prison?
Wearing the disguise of austerity, the euro has emerged as the gatekeeper of what is fast becoming a debtors’ prison.
The Troika of the ECB, IMF and European Commission acting in concert have become more like another Troika–of judge, jury and executioner–for any nation within the euro zone that dares not follow the letter of budgetary imposition.
The latest country bound by these handcuffs: Cyprus.
(Reuters) – BNP Paribas said on Tuesday that it had asked French market regulator AMF to open an enquiry about a Wall Street Journal opinion piece claiming that France’s largest bank could face a dollar funding crunch.
BNP Paribas, whose shares slumped more than 10 percent in early trading but later rebounded to gain 7.2 percent, said it had requested the enquiry earlier in the day after what it called the “false” report.
PARIS (Dow Jones)–BNP Paribas SA (BNP.FR, BNPQY) on Tuesday said it had asked the French stock-market watchdog to open a probe following the publication of an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal that contained “erroneous information.”
The Autorite des Marches Financiers, or AMF, the stock-market watchdog, wasn’t immediately available to comment.
Pro-Israel leaders in the United States, Britain and Australia are warily watching the unfolding of the phone-hacking scandal that is threatening to engulf the media empire of Rupert Murdoch, founder of News Corp.
Murdoch’s sudden massive reversal of fortune—with 10 top former staffers and executives under arrest in Britain for hacking into the phones of public figures and a murdered schoolgirl, and paying off the police and journalists—has supporters of Israel worried that a diminished Murdoch presence may mute the strongly pro-Israel voice of many of the publications he owns.
“His publications and media have proven to be fairer on the issue of Israel than the rest of the media,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “I hope that won’t be impacted.”
Murdoch’s huge stable encompasses broadsheets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and The Australian, as well as tabloids, most notably The Sun in Britain and the New York Post. It also includes the influential Fox News Channel in the United States and a 39 percent stake in British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, a satellite broadcaster. Murdoch founded the neoconservative flagship The Weekly Standard in 1995, and sold it last year.
Jewish leaders said that Murdoch’s view of Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians and with its Arab neighbors seemed both knowledgeable and sensitive to the Jewish state’s self-perception as beleaguered and isolated.
In an interview released today by Digg and the Wall Street Journal, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pressured about the growing popular movement to Audit the Fed spearheaded by Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
A visibly uncomfortable Geithner attempts to dismiss the question by stating “I’m sure people understand that you want to keep politics out of monetary policy.”
When Geithner is again pressed on the issue, he makes the stunning assertion that conducting an audit of the Federal Reserve-something never before done in its 96 year history-is a “line that we don’t want to cross,” proclaiming that such a move would be “problematic for the country.” Watch the interview in the player below:
Geithner’s response that auditing the Fed would give politicians dangerous control over American monetary policy is mistaken at best and a deliberate lie at worst.
Allowing the public to know what happened to their $24 trillion in bailout money does not give undue control of monetary policy to the people’s elected representatives.
Instead, such an audit would finally allow the public to see how their money has been spent in the midst of the largest spending binge in the history of the world’s economy, hardly an unreasonable demand given the well-documented revolving door between the Treasury and Goldman Sachs, the main recipient of bailout funds.
Ultimately, the Treasury Secretary is left spewing the absurdity that “I think even the sponsor of that bill recognizes how important it is to us to have the Fed independent of politics,” which can only be said to be true insofar as Ron Paul-the sponsor of House Resolution (HR) 1207– wants to abolish the Federal Reserve system altogether.
That the Wall Street Journal would even pressure the Treasury Secretary on serious issues like the Audit the Fed movement may be surprising, given that the Wall Street Journal is a mouthpiece of the financial oligarchy and that editor Paul Gigot, like Geithner himself, is a Bilderberg attendee.
Needless to say, this was not a typical inside-the-beltway interview. Instead, questions were submitted and voted on by the Digg community, with the top 10 questions being posed to Mr. Geithner.
British banks soon could be scrambling for short-term funding once more amid reports that supplies from Threadneedle Street and from Frankfurt may be drying up.
The Bank of England explicitly ruled out extending its Special Liquidity Scheme (SLS), while the European Central Bank is reportedly considering tightening its lending criteria.
The two central banks have been huge suppliers of liquidity to British banks. The SLS is thought to have provided £50 billion or more, while the ECB has lent banks €467 billion (£378 billion) – much of it thought to have gone to UK institutions.
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