Category Archives: Wealth

Headline of the day: Trumped up promises


From the Washington Post:

Trump promised millions to charity. We found less than $10,000 over 7 years.

In the past 15 years, Trump has promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his money-making enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

Audit clears Brazil’s Rousseff, coup polls lower


Two notable stories coming out of Brazil today, both reported by teleSUR English.

First, an audit has cleared Rousseff of financial wrongdoing, one of the key charges lodged in the impeachment resolution that forced her to step aside:

A report prepared by analysts in the Brazilian Senate said Monday there is no evidence that suspended president Dilma Rousseff participated in fiscal wrongdoing, one of the causes that led to the opening of the impeachment process against her.

The Senate Impeachment Commission has 72 hours to analyze this report, and starting from July 5 they can interview the analysts. The vote to determine whether the impeachment will be confirmed is scheduled to be held on August 9.

teleSUR’s correspondent in Brazil, Ignacio Lemus, said the report indicates that Rousseff did not directly participate in a scheme to manipulate the budget.

According to Lemus, the analysts found that no direct actions were taken by Rousseff to delay payments to public banks by the Brazilian National Treasury.

The report states there are no reasons to continue the impeachment process because Rousseff had no direct participation, and according to the constitution the individual accused must bear direct responsibility.

And in the second story, the interim government holding power pending Rousseff’s trial, has been plagued by scandal, with several ministers already forced to resign in disgrace after revelations that they’d been guilty of the same offenses they’d charged Rousseff with committing.

And now a new poll reveals a catastrophic decline in their popularity:

Three quarters of Brazilians reject Senate-imposed interim president Michel Temer while suspended president Dilma Rousseff has a lower disapproval rating than before the impeachment, according to an IPSOS poll published Monday.

Temer’s disapproval rating was 61 percent in February, and is now 70 percent nationwide. Dilma Rousseff went from having an 80 percent disapproval rating during her impeachment to her current rating of 75 percent.

The figures are part of the first research poll on the image and conduct of the interim government, announced by columnist José Roberto de Toledo, at the State of Sao Paulo.

The poll reflects strong opposition to politicians involved in the Petrobras corruption scandal, including members of Temer’s government, but the interim president is also poorly rated on various aspects of his administration. Polls show he has a 44 percent rating for combating unemployment, 42 percent for resolving the political crisis, 40 percent for fighting inflation and 40 percent for policies around anti-corruption.

Panama Papers: The case of the silent watchdog


Back in the fictional London of 1897, if criminals struck the prominent, there was only one person to call, Sherlock Holmes.

In The Adventure of Silver Blaze, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about the case of a famous racehorse, abducted before a major race.

After visiting the scene of the crime, a rural farm, Holmes discusses his findings with Inspector Gregory of Scotland Yard, when the Inspector asks a question:

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Needless to say, as Holmes had correctly inferred, the case was an inside job.

Fast forward 119 years and the same question is equally relevant in the wake of the Panama Papers leak, that massive cache of data revealing the names of the members of the global elite — including some of the planet’s mpost powerful drug cartels and criminal syndicates — who available themselves of the services of a Panamanian law firm specializing in create covert tax shelters hidden under a bizarre network of pseudonyms and false fronts.

It’s been three months since the documents were first leaked to journalists and findings were reported in some of the planet’s leading publications and many governments have requested their own copies.

Many governments, except the government of the world’s richest nation, where no requests have come from the Department of Justice of those committees of the House of representatives and Senate charged with oversight of the institutions of power.

From the McClatchy Washington Bureau:

The inaction raises questions about the response by Congress and the Obama administration to the unprecedented leak that rocked governments in Iceland, Pakistan and the United Kingdom and prompted investigations worldwide.

“The biggest financial scandal involving offshores is greeted with a yawn by U.S. law enforcement officials?” said Charles Intriago, a former federal prosecutor and money-laundering expert in Miami. “It doesn’t make any sense that a pot of evidentiary gold is going unpursued by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

In the weeks following the April 3 publication of stories across the globe about hidden offshore fortunes, President Barack Obama vowed to work with Congress to tackle reform aimed at offshore companies. His Justice Department declared that it “takes very seriously all credible allegations of high-level, foreign corruption that might have a link to the United States or the U.S. financial system.”

Yet as of June 23, Panama said it had not received a single request from the United States for access to the data seized by Panamanian authorities from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers, said Sandra Sotillo, spokeswoman for Panamanian Attorney General Kenia Porcell.

On Capitol Hill, there is also little movement.

Obama’s proposed legislation to change reporting on the true owners of companies does not appear to have found any sponsor. The White House did not respond to questions.

Odd, ain’t it?

Or maybe not, considering all that dark money that fuels the American political machine. . .

Map of the day: A cartogram of real estate values


A cartogram redraws geographical boundaries in proportion to other numeric values, in this case with state boundaries redrafted to reflect the value of real estate in each state.

This, California and New York are both notably larger than their physical boundaries, reflecting the cost of property in placed like Beverly Hills and Bel Air as well as those Park Avenue penthouses and Trump Tower condos.

From Metrocosm:

BLOG RE

The Brexit Boogie: A vote that shook the world


Is the world headed into another Great Recession even before that shockwaves of the last one have settled down?

When one of the world’s two major financial centers pulls out of its continental base, there’s good cause for concern.

But that’s just one of the issues raised by Thursday’s vote.

Here’s a roundup of rumbles. . .

British buyers remorse?

Even before the dust settled, Brits were flocking online to sign a petition for a do-over.

From Agence France-Presse:

More than two million people have signed a petition calling for a second referendum, after a shock vote to pull Britain out of the EU, an official website showed Saturday.

The website of the parliamentary petition at one point crashed due to the surge of people adding their names to the call for another nationwide poll following Thursday’s historic vote.

“We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60 percent based (on) a turnout less than 75 percent there should be another referendum,” says the petition.

The blame game begins

Guess who’s catching the heat?

Hint: He’s already resigned his job in disgrace.

From euronews:

Blame for the failure to convince British voters to remain in the European Union lies at the door of David Cameron, European Commissioner Günther Oettinger told Euronews.

The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society told Euronews that the decision by the Prime Minister to “order” the Commission to stay “out of the game” was a mistake.

Asked whether Cameron was to blame, Oettinger responded: “ I think so, yes. What he did is not acceptable.”

The Commissioner insisted that Scotland and Northern Ireland, which both voted overwhelmingly for ‘remain’, could only rejoin the European Union as independent nations. He predicted that Scotland would “probably” split from the rest of the United Kingdom.

And fear runs rampant

Shrinks call it Separation Anxiety Disorder, and it’s an ailment running rampant these days, especially in Berlin.

From Sky News:

Germany fears France, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and Hungary may follow the UK and leave the EU, a government paper says.

The finance ministry strategy paper expresses concern that the UK’s historic vote may trigger a Brexit domino effect across Europe, according to the German newspaper Die Welt.

It recommends that the EU enters into negotiations aimed at making the UK an “associated partner country” for the remaining 27 nations.

As it stands, the UK’s exit may cause Germany’s contribution to the EU’s budget to rise by 3bn euros (£2.44bn) a year, the paper adds.

And there’s good cause to worry, reports Reuters:

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union fired up populist eurosceptic parties across the continent on Friday, giving fresh voice to their calls to leave the bloc or its euro currency.

Right-wing and anti-immigrant parties in the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and France demanded referendums on membership of the union, while Italy’s 5-Star movement said it would pursue its own proposal for a vote on the euro.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch anti-immigrant PVV party, said he would make a Dutch referendum on EU membership a central theme of his campaign to become prime minister in next year’s parliamentary election.

“I congratulate the British people for beating the political elite in both London and Brussels and I think we can do the same,” Wilders told Reuters. “We should have a referendum about a ‘Nexit’ as soon as possible.”

After the jump, Boldness in Bratislava, a British downgrade, trillions in losses, the pain in Spain, grief in Greece, troubles in Tokyo, and a Schadenfreude alert. . . Continue reading

Chart of the day: Material deprivation in Greece


From the Hellenic Statistical Authority:

BLOG Greece

Among the findings:

  • 47.5 % of the poor households declare incapacity to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day, while the respective percentage of the non-poor households amounts to 1.8%.
  • 29.2% of the total households declare inability to keep their home adequately warm, while the share of the poor households is 50.8% and the share of the non-poor households is 23.7%.
  • 87.2% of the poor households and 44.5% of the non-poor households report difficulties in facing unexpected financial expenses of approximately 410 euro.

Brazil coup leader implicated in mega-bribe


If the allegation is true, Brazil’s acting president pocketed one of the largest bribes in history.

And the allegation would go a long way to explain why Michel Temer and his neocon compatriots were so eager to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

From teleSUR English:

Brazil’s acting President Michel Temer allegedly received a bribe of US$296 million that Engevix company owner Jose Antunes Sobrinho paid through intermediaries, Brazilian magazine Epoca reported Saturday.

The report cited allegations by the executive in efforts to secure a plea bargain with federal authorities.

In his proposed plea bargain, Antunes alleges that Joao Batista Lima, owner of the Sao Paulo-based architecture firm Argeplan and a close friend of Temer, had received work contracts in exchange for granting bribes to the current Brazilian head-of-state.

Lima, a former military police colonel, has repeatedly been accused of being the “key person involved in the dirty work” between companies and PMDB politicians.

If his plea bargain request is granted, Antunes says that he can prove Temer received a bribe of US$296 million in exchange for a construction contract that was awarded to Argeplan to build the Angra III nuclear-generation unit, which forms part of Brazil’s sole nuclear power plant.