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In a book review Dec. 29, the Wall Street Journal gives a rave review to "1,000 Dollars and an Idea," a book by Texas billionaire Sam Wyly. James Freeman, an assistant editor of the Journal's editorial page, sings the Wyly song and guzzles the Wyly Kool-Aid. But Freeman should have at least mentioned "Tax Haven Abuses: The Enablers, the Tools & Secrecy," a report released in mid-2006 by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. It is a 370 page report on tax dodging via offshore maneuvers. The report devotes 257 of those 370 pages to the antics of Sam Wyly and his brother Charles. The report shows how the brothers "hide assets, shift income offshore, and dodge U.S. taxes," say investigators. The main Wyly offshore tax and secrecy havens are the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands, which did not cooperate with the investigators. Between 1992 and 2002, the Wyly brothers shifted 17 million stock options and warrants worth $190 million offshore, resulting in "nonpayment of taxes on millions of dollars in capital gains held by the offshore trusts they [the brothers] directed." You can find the report various ways online. It will disabuse you of any notion that lawyers are reputable members of society. Ditto for Wall Street institutions, which used to be called investment banks, but recently changed their designations to be able to get their sticky fingers on federal largesse. The subcommittee report, about which shockingly little has been written in the mainstream press, is fascinating reading. The Journal's Freeman should at least have referenced it. Paradoxically, the embarrassing Wyly whitewash came on the same day that the Journal printed a brilliant piece of journalism, "The Weekend That Wall Street Died."

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Comments

JohnnyVegas Dec. 31, 2008 @ 8:41 p.m.

When the top 1/10 of the top 1% get away with this nonsense then the entire system loses credibility and breaks down.

They only get away with it because they are bribing congress with campaign contributions.

There was a book published about 28, 30 years ago called "Citizen Hughes", it was about Howard Hughes and how he bought influence and evaded taxes- including how a $1 million dollar campaign contribution bought his Hughes Medical Center a $25 million dollar tax break......directly from his legal bribe-that's how Washington runs.......

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Burwell Dec. 31, 2008 @ 10:15 p.m.

I read "Citizen Hughes." The author theorized that Nixon ordered the Watergate burglary because Howard Hughes hired Larry O'Brien, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, as a lobbyist. Nixon was afraid that Hughes had told O'Brien about the loans Hughes made to Nixon's brother, Edward. Nixon wanted the burglars to pilfer O'Brien's files at DNC Headquarters at the Watergate to find out what he had. Neil Morgan also reported several times in his column that Howard Hughes was in San Diego for medical treatment as Scripps Hospital. Morgan also reported that Hughes had been spotted walking on the beach at La Jolla shores. Morgan's reports were not accurate.

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Don Bauder Dec. 31, 2008 @ 11:55 p.m.

Response to post #1: We are talking about trillions of dollars stashed in secrecy-shrouded, offshore tax havens. It's not just individual money. Corporations get away with murder through tax haven subsidiaries. Much of the insurance industry is based on Bermuda, a tax haven. Enron was all about offshore thievery. The Cayman Islands are one of the largest money centers in the world -- right up there with New York, London, etc. Yes, the pols look the other way. It's too complex for the public to understand. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 31, 2008 @ 11:59 p.m.

Response to post #2: That is definitely one theory of the Watergate burglary genesis. As to Hughes, he was frequently reported in numerous locations -- almost all false. The same has been true of San Diego thieves who disappeared -- Walter Wencke, for example. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 1, 2009 @ 11:35 a.m.

An ultimate sequel to "The Weekend That Wall Street Died" will most certainly be “The Weekend That Homo Sapiens Became Extinct” because natural history is full of billions of years of proofs that lead to the prediction in this mornings “Quest – Darwin’s Legacy”:

“We’re in the middle of an enormous mass extinction right now --- This mass extinction is human-mediated. It’s largely caused by things like destruction of habitat, which may result in irreversible harm in terms of evolutionary diversification. Environments are being modified, but maybe not in any way that life can adapt and evolve in. --- Certainly some kind of life will persist, adapt, evolve ------ It just might not be us.”

As the consequences of destruction documented daily by escalating events are proving, the past six years of Bush-Cheney-GOP Autocracy put us on a course of destruction that is spinning further and further out of control due to the GOP’s paramount cultural values of Greed and Hate.

To our peril, natural history proves that the GOP has put humanity on an accelerated path of destruction which very likely will not allow us to evolve in time to survive. No wonder the GOP chooses to destroy our educational systems and close libraries, they have most certainly created the brain-dead republican electorate that best serves their Greed and Hate.

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Fred Williams Jan. 1, 2009 @ 2:37 p.m.

Anon, have you seen the article in the Economist about the world's oceans?

http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12853926&source=hptextfeature

We're in a lot deeper trouble than most realize on this planet.

It's an awful parallel to what's happening on Wall Street and right here in San Diego. A few highly placed malefactors rape the rest of us. Then they use the two-tiered justice system (one for the rich, another for the rest of us) to get away with all of their crimes.

Look at John Moores. Is there anyone in San Diego who has done more to destroy this town? Yet many locals still think he's some kind of benefactor.

Remember, Moores is an alleged Democrat, friend of Jimmy Carter, so it's not only the GOP that's complicit in destroying America from the inside.

Is there any reason for optimism now? Not that I see...

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Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2009 @ 4:44 p.m.

Response to post #5: Economist John Maynard Keynes said that in the long run, we are all dead. Now you are saying that in the long run, we are all extinct. Maybe those who want to pump up spending and debt once again are right: party now, before we are extinct. We won't have to worry about passing on the debt to future generations, because there won't be future generations. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2009 @ 4:47 p.m.

Response to post #6: Trenchant observations, those. Moores was a Democrat when he came to town, but he switched to independent when he was begging for money for the ballpark. I think he is still an independent. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 1, 2009 @ 5:23 p.m.

Response to post #7:

That most certainly is another way to define their cultural failure.

The GOP aristocracy has proven far too many times in the last eight years alone that they really don't give a damn about the future for humanity as long as they can maximize their insatiable lusts for wealth and power during their own lifetime.

Most obviously, not enough homo sapiens really care enough to take history seriously or the rest of us would have voted the vast majority if not all of the republicans out of office by the end of the Bush-Cheney-GOP Autocracy.

Yes Don, homo sapiens are the first species to determine their own path to extinction.

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Time_on_my_hands Jan. 1, 2009 @ 10:13 p.m.

"It will disabuse you of any notion that lawyers are reputable members of society." Well, not all of them, but this story reminds me of a local scoundrel, you're sure to remember who also wrote a book on how to off-shore money to avoid taxes. While less likely to garner the kudos of the Wall Street Journal, you did a fine job of exposing the antics of B. Roland Frasier several years ago. He never received the full "credit" he deserved, but his most infamous client suffered the worst type of outcome while relaxing in Mexico. I wonder what Roland is up to these days? Keep up the great work Don!

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Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2009 @ 11:22 p.m.

Response to post #9: Young people think love makes the world go around. Older people know that it's greed. The post-1980s greed may indeed be our undoing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 1, 2009 @ 11:25 p.m.

Response to post #11: I don't know what has happened to Frasier or his daddy. Both were cut from the same cloth. Both did run afoul of authorities, but didn't get what they deserved. Best, Don Bauder

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