Author: rafflaw

Corporate Greed

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving, I was struck by the news that Congress is considering legislation that would grant large tax breaks to corporate citizens and actually remove tax breaks for the poor and the middle class.

‘ “This Congress seems willing to give huge tax cuts to big businesses—who are already doing better than ever—but somehow can’t prevent tax increases on 50 million working Americans that will occur when expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit expire,” Harry Stein, the Associate Director for Fiscal Policy at American Progress Action Fund, told ThinkProgress. “This is a great deal for CEOs and a terrible deal for struggling families.”’ Nation of Change  Continue reading “Corporate Greed”

What Are You Thankful For

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

Although I am a few days early, I wanted to wish all RIL readers a Happy Thanksgiving.  I would guess that most of us have many things to be thankful for at this time.  I am thankful for my wife of 40 years and my four kids and their spouses and significant others, and of course, my 3 beautiful grandchildren.  And I am thankful that we all have our health.  I am also thankful that my 91-year-old mother is still with me and my 4 siblings.

While our family has had its ups and downs, we always seem to pull together to solve the problems and issues facing us.  I am glad that many of us will be together at Thanksgiving to share one of the best family times of the year.

At this time of the year, many of us have many things to be thankful for.  I thought it might be a good idea to offer the chance for our readers to tell us what they are thankful for.

Let’s hear what you and your family are thankful for during this holiday season.  What can it hurt?  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

” The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

Foreclosure Fraud?

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

Since the Great Recession officially started in December of 2007, millions of people have lost their homes to foreclosures.  It turns out that many of those foreclosures may have been fraudulent or in violation of foreclosure laws. According to the Southern Essex County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds, John O’Brien, a forensic audit of his recording files suggests that at least 75% of the mortgage assignments were invalid.

“My registry is a crime scene as evidenced by this forensic examination. The Audit makes the finding that this was not only a MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) problem, but a scheme also perpetuated by MERS shareholder banks such Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan and others. I am stunned and appalled by the fact that America’s biggest banks have played fast and loose with people’s biggest asset – their homes. This is disgusting, and this is criminal.” Nation of Change Continue reading “Foreclosure Fraud?”

Banks Ignore the Bankruptcy Laws

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In the past, I have written about the Big Banks continued unlawful actions that only result in “slap on the wrist fines” that in many cases are passed on to the shareholders and/or used as a tax deduction. It seems that Wall Street and the Banksters have not learned a thing.  Or have they?

The latest wrinkle in Banksters taking advantage of American citizens is noted in a Crooks and Liars report which detailed an investigation into several Big Banks and their alleged refusal to honor the orders of Bankruptcy judges across the country. Of course, the “usual suspects” have been named in the latest investigations.  Continue reading “Banks Ignore the Bankruptcy Laws”

Why is it Illegal to Feed the Homeless?

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

Did you know that somewhere in America, it is illegal to feed the homeless in public?  It can’t be true can it?  It is true in Fort Lauderdale, Florida after the recent passage of an ordinance by the city council.  The real scary part of that news is that Fort Lauderdale is not alone in taking this anti-compassionate stance!

“Over 30 cities across the nation have outlawed or are considering criminalizing the provision of food to homeless people. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, over 20 cities have devised laws against giving food to homeless people since January 2013.” Nation of Change

While I can understand this stance if these cities are adding health guidelines to make such feeding attempts safer, I am shocked that over 30 cities have outlawed it or are considering outlawing the practice of giving food to the hungry and homeless.  Are public picnics next on the hit list? Continue reading “Why is it Illegal to Feed the Homeless?”

Prosecuters Seem Surprised that Banksters May Still Be Breaking the Law

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

We have written on multiple occasions about the illegal activities of Big Banks and Wall Street financial firms as well as their penchant to repeat their offenses.  It now seems that a State regulator and two Federal prosecutors may have finally come to the conclusion that many Big Banks are not only continuing their illegal practices, but that they may have hid information during prior investigations into their allegedly shady dealings.

While I am glad that at least two Federal prosecutors may be putting the heat on some of the repeat offenders by extending their deferred prosecution agreements and opening new investigations and taking a second look at past investigations, my first response is what took them so long?

Continue reading “Prosecuters Seem Surprised that Banksters May Still Be Breaking the Law”

Two Corporate Crimes and No Accountability for the Suits

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

It never ceases to amaze me that the heads of major corporations and officers of those companies just never seem to go to jail when the corporation’s fingers are caught in the cookie jar.  We saw two separate examples of that concept this week.  One example is simply a case of corporate greed at employees expense and the other is a brutal and deadly tragedy that caught up the corporate employees, but not their bosses.

In the past, I have written about banks getting away with fines and financial penalties for committing crimes, but today the focus is on two corporations in two different areas of endeavor.  I am referring to the corporation formerly known as Blackwater and Electronics for Imaging (EFI).  Blackwater as you may recall was in the private security and intelligence gathering business with many government clients, while EFI is a Silicon Valley tech firm with earnings of over $100 million in 2013.  They both have one thing in common.  They broke the law and one got a slap on the wrist and the CEO and founder of the other and his fellow corporate officers avoided any culpability in a brutal murder case. Continue reading “Two Corporate Crimes and No Accountability for the Suits”

Voter ID Unmasked

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. Continue reading “Voter ID Unmasked”

Banks Have the Federal Prison System Handcuffed

department of treasury

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

I have written in the past about our large financial institutions and their uncanny ability to break the law and escape any criminal penalties at the corporate or personal level.  If the Department of Justice had actually indicted a Bank of America official and procured a criminal conviction, that Bank of America official could have assisted the corporate office in their no-bid contract to handle all of the federal prison systems inmate financial services and email services.

“A few blocks north, however, at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center, there exists a market that Bank of America has locked down, literally. For the 790 federal prisoners incarcerated at MCC, Bank of America controls the provision of money transfers, e-messaging and some telephone services.

The bank’s monopoly extends across the federal Bureau of Prisons system—121 institutions housing 214,365 inmates. Since 2000, Bank of America has collected at least $76.3 million for its work on the program.” Readersupportednews  That would be $76.3 Million dollars in the Bank of America coffers without any need or worry about having to compete for this latest sweetheart deal.  Continue reading “Banks Have the Federal Prison System Handcuffed”

9/11 and the Saudis and State Secrecy

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In light of the recently observed 13th anniversary of the events on 9/11/01, I read an article this week that caught my eye.  According to reports, there is a 28 page section of the 9/11 Commission report that has never been released publicly and remains secret to this day.  Indeed, Congressmen must go through numerous security reviews before they can read the document in a secure room in Washington, D.C.

What kind of secret and clandestine information can be found in such a guarded document?  Since it is top-secret, we can only go by the reviews of people who have read the report.  What is found in that report may surprise you in light of its level of secrecy. Continue reading “9/11 and the Saudis and State Secrecy”

Halliburton Commits Crimes and Gets a Fine

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I guess I should not be surprised anymore, but it still saddens me to read that our old friend, Halliburton, has pled guilty to destroying evidence concerning their participation in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the subsequent environmental disaster in 2010.  If they pled guilty why should I be upset?  I am upset that the Department of Justice agreed to a $1.1 Billion fine instead of jail time.  Once again a corporate “citizen” has committed a crime and no one is going to jail. Continue reading “Halliburton Commits Crimes and Gets a Fine”

Economic Patriotism or Treason?

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

We have read in recent weeks and months about the continued movement of corporate profits by US corporations to their overseas subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes here on those profits.  Walgreens almost went that route recently but they decided to not do what is called an “inversion” to avoid taxes.  At least for now.

You may be wondering what the picture is all about.  The building in the attached photo is one of the main buildings on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.  And Microsoft has also been busy working on their taxes.

Microsoft, made news recently, by admitting that they have stashed $92 Billion dollars overseas in an attempt to avoid paying $29 Billions in taxes!  While Microsoft has not officially “inverted” its profits, they have done the next best thing.

Many large US corporations have complained that they have to move profits overseas because they cannot be competitive in the world market without a lower tax base.  Just how true is that claim? Continue reading “Economic Patriotism or Treason?”

Bank of America Escapes Jail… Again

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

It seems that a week doesn’t go by without news of the latest Big Bank agreeing to pay billions in a settlement with the government over their past and continuing abuses concerning mortgages.  This past week was no exception.

“Preliminary reports say that a $16 to $17 billion settlement will soon be announced between the Justice Department and Bank of America. That would break the record for the largest bank settlement in history, set less than a year ago by a $13 billion agreement between Justice and JPMorgan Chase.” Crooks and Liars

Sixteen billion dollars is not chickenfeed!  However, as we have learned in the many past settlements, the dollar amounts can be a little deceiving.  Continue reading “Bank of America Escapes Jail… Again”

Senate Resolution 400 and the Torture Report

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

Since the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted in April of this year to declassify its long-awaited Torture Report, the intelligence agencies have been working behind the scenes to convince the Executive Branch to further sanitize it or keep it entirely secret.  Needless to say, the declassification process used to prepare the report for public consumption has been dragging on.  With the CIA and other defense agencies working overtime to keep a lid on the report, the truth may never reach the public.

What can Congress do to make sure that its report gets declassified and distributed to the public if the President agrees with the intelligence agencies and does not order the release? Continue reading “Senate Resolution 400 and the Torture Report”

Is Water a Right?

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I have been watching the water crisis in Detroit for some time now and I have been amazed that it is not a bigger story.  If you haven’t heard, the new city Administrator of the City of Detroit that was appointed by the Governor and his Water Department have been turning off the water of needy citizens in Detroit when their past due bills are as little as $150.00. In a city with over 20% unemployment and countless vacant buildings, it seems like Detroit is slowly being destroyed.  Continue reading “Is Water a Right?”