Trump Has Appointed The Users Of Dark Money To Regulate All Our Money

Trump Has Appointed The Users Of Dark Money To Regulate All Our Money

The Paradise Papers and Trump.
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Donald Trump claimed that he would “drain the swamp” but it seems that this has not been the case. One of the most alarming examples of this has been seeing the amount of Trump’s advisors who have appeared in the Paradise Papers. For those unaware, the Paradise Papers is “the latest in a series of global journalistic exposés of the offshore financial industry” mostly being spearheaded by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The idea is that many well-off people will hide money in offshore accounts, and not pay taxes on it. Now it is important to mention that people do use these accounts legitimately, but if you were to want to hide your money from the government, these accounts are how you’d do it. These accounts provide a high level of anonymity, which some people take advantage of, and the only way to know if everything is being handled legally is for investigations like those the ICIJ is doing.

So, who has appeared in the Panama Papers? I’ll be using this tool by the ICIJ to write about the following people, but I strongly recommend looking at their interactive tool to get the full picture, and see who I didn’t have time to look into.

Of the people currently in the Trump administration, one of the most notable to appear is Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce. Once appointed Ross divested most of his assets, but held on to a company Navigator Holdings. One of Navigator Holdings biggest customers? A Russian company called Sibur, with close ties to Putin, and is partially owned by Putin’s son-in-law. That is right, the US Secretary of Commerce is making money from a company being paid by Putin’s son-in-law’s company. Navigator Holdings also has ties to a Venezuelan Government run company, which has ties to “corruption and undermining of democracy” in Venezuela. Keep in mind Ross is in charge of handling sanctions.

Another prominent figure is Gary Cohn, chief economic advisor, and Director of the National Economic Council. Cohn, who used to work for Goldman Sachs, appeared as “president of 20 Bermuda incorporated companies … affiliated with Goldman Sachs”.

Another high-level official is Randal Quarles, who is “vice chairman of supervision at the Federal Reserve” and so he essentially acts as a “watchdog over the US banking industry.” Quarles was seen to be an “officer of two tax-exempt entities.” It is also worth noting that in 2013 Quarles was pronounced to be under investigation for tax-evasion by the USDJ.

Now I should reiterate that their are legitimate reasons to have one of these accounts. Also I don’t want to say that it is only Republicans who use them. You can read here about Democratic nominee for Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker, and his use of them. What I want to point out is the widespread use of these offshore accounts. For example, it is thought that 11.5% of ALL the world's wealth lies sitting in these accounts. And with that, maybe we shouldn't put the people who use this shady system, like Wilbur Ross, Gary Cohn, and Randal Quarles, in charge of regulating these kinds of practices.

Cover Image Credit: Lucas Favre

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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