UPDATED- July 10, 2018
What’s News In This Story?
Many have asked for an update about Shane Rasche. Three months after our story, Shane has still been unable to find a full time job. He says he’s tried everything- even going to an job agency but nothing has worked. But thanks to RISE NEWS readers who reached out after watching his story, Shane was able to pick up some part time work cleaning a yard. The same family who gave him the part time gig also took him out to dinner one night. His landlord has been very understanding and has allowed him to stay in his North Miami apartment despite the fact that he owes thousands in unpaid rent. Finally, late last month, Shane received his first Social Security check for around $1,200. It isn’t much- especially with all that he owes, but he is able to survive on it. At 62, Shane says that he still wants to work and give more to society. He also said that he would gladly take a job if one was offered to him. Until he is able to pay off his debts, he will still be in the Aldi’s parking lot collecting quarters. If you would like to help Shane, we can put you in touch with him by emailing us at email@example.com.
-Shane Rasche has lived and woked in North Miami for nearly 50 years.
-All that time, he’s paid taxes and been a productive member of the community.
-But after the K-Mart that he worked at for nearly a decade closed last year, he’s been unable to find a job.
-Now, only a few months before he recieves his first Social Security check (and some financial safety), he is about to be evicted from his apartment.
-He’s been forced to collect quarters in the parking lot of an Aldi’s on Biscayne Boulevard (1290 NE 108th St, Miami, FL 33161) so he can feed himself.
-If you have a way to help Shane you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to email@example.com.
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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You’ve probably been hearing a lot about something called the Panama Papers in recent days.
That’s because on Sunday morning The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and other media organizations announced the largest data leak in the history of journalism.
The leak contained 2.6 terabytes of information with over 11.5 million files that identified corruption amongst some of the top political figures in the world. It’s larger than the Wikileaks leak in 2010 or what Edward Snowden brought to light in 2013.
Now, what is in the leak exactly?
Mossack Fonseca is a law firm which specializes in the creation of shell companies and offshore accounts. It’s where the rich stash their ill-gotten or legally obtained earnings from their governments. These accounts are completely legal and can be used to protect their assets from raids or simply for inheritance reasons and estate planning.
However, there are other common reasons for stashing money in a offshore company, such as money laundering, dodging sanctions, and avoiding taxes.
The firm is based out of Panama but runs a worldwide operation.
On their website they claim to have a global network with 600 people working in 42 countries. It has franchises around the world.
It operates in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
Mossack Fonseca has their fingers dipped in many questionable pies. From Africa’s diamond trade, the international art market, to dealing with Middle Eastern royals and Russian oligarchs.
The firm rejects that it has ever been involved with dirty money.
“Recent media reports have portrayed an inaccurate view of the services that we provide and, despite our efforts to correct the record, misrepresented the nature of our work and its role in global financial markets,” a statement on the Mossack Fonseca reads. “These reports rely on supposition and stereotypes, and play on the public’s lack of familiarity with the work of firms like ours.”
FIFA, the international football association, an organization often connected to corruption and scandal, is also featured.
The leaked documents allegedly show that FIFA ethics committee member Juan Pedro Damiani, a Uruguayan lawyer, had business links with three men who have been indicted by U.S. officials on corruption charges: former FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo and father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis.
The latter two were convicted of paying bribes to obtain broadcast rights for soccer matches in South America. Documents show that Damiani’s law firm represented a company registered to Jinkis and seven others registered to Figueredo in a tax haven.
Interestingly, the British government has been especially vocal against offshore companies in recent years, but Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t come out of this squeaky clean. His late father is one of the names revealed in the leak.
It is not yet clear, if Cameron himself has financially gained from off shore accounts.
According to some of the reporting in the aftermath of the leak, Mossack Fonseca has helped Russian President Vladimir Putin hide $2 billion, setting up offshore banks under the name of two of his close acquaintances.
The now former Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has also been implicated and was facing calls for his resignation as the public’s confidence in his leadership had been shattered.
He resigned on Tuesday, and is the first political casualty. Also listed are Iceland’s minister of finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, and Iceland’s Interior Minister, Olof Nordal.
China’s leaders have relatives who are named in the leak, propelling the government to limit local access to western media coverage of the leak and accusing them of being biased.
In a further twist, documents show Mossack Fonseca’s links to Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the Syrian president, even though Washington imposed sanctions Makhlouf in 2008.
Though the firm is under no obligation to comply with US sanctions, it was legally bound to react to EU measures in 2011. It took until September of that year for the firm to finally resign from Makhlouf’s companies. By that time, Syria was in the middle of a genocidal civil war.
Other world leaders in the leak include Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; and Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president, just to name a few.
The list of questionable characters goes on, although it gets worse. It includes Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins, tax evaders, dictators and at least one jailed sex offender.
And that’s when it becomes unbearable. The sex offender was a U.S. businessman traveling to Russia to have sex with underage orphans. He signed papers for an offshore company while he was serving his prison sentence in New Jersey.
It’s notable that Mossack Fonseca is the fourth biggest provider of offshore services, meaning that if this much information is coming from this company, larger law firms with these same services must have shocking anonymous beneficiaries.
In reply to ICIJ questions about their methods, Mossack Fonseca said that backdating of documents “is a well-founded and accepted practice” that is “common in our industry and its aim is not to cover up or hide unlawful acts.” The company is extremely protective of their clients’ privacy.
Honestly, should we be surprised by this leak?
The exposé once again emphasizes the need for world financial reform. It shows that not only is the global tax system broken, but with so many world leaders involved, global governance itself is fractured too.
Due to this leak the ability of the super rich to hide their money may be made more difficult. But if government officials themselves are doing this, how are we meant to expect them to do anything about tax havens?
The storm may be about to arrive in the United States as well.
A reporter from the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung responded to tweets about the lack of names from the United States, by saying “Just wait for what’s coming.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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By Alex Austin
For fans of the Philadelphia 76ers (such as myself), the 2015-2016 season has been a continuous nightmare.
Currently, the boys from the City of Brotherly Love have a record of 2-31, and with the exception of the equally-listless Lakers on New Year’s Day, the possibilities for wins are are few and far between.
The stats alone spell out a lot of woes. The team is last in PPG (92.0), last in point differential (-12.4), and 24th in points allowed (104.4).
On top of that, they have the youngest roster in the NBA at 22.9 years of age. They have only played one man over 30 (Carl Landry) and their leading scorer is a 20-year-old rookie.
I highly doubt any team could win boasting those figures.
But it’s not enough for the Sixers to just be seasonally bad. They are historically bad.
The phrase “worst team” is, admittedly, subjective. However, if you look at history, the case for the current iteration of the Sixers to hold that dubious title is strong.
The worst team in NBA history by winning percentage was the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats (.106). However, that was in a strike-shortened season. For a full 82-game season, the record low is held by the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers (.110).
Those Sixers won a paltry nine games. The current roster is projected to win fewer than five contests, which for the record would be a winning percentage of .061.
That sound you just heard was a collective groan coming from the vicinity of Constitution Hall.
I believe it is safe to say that the argument for the 2015-2016 76ers being the worst team of all time is cemented.
With that in mind, let’s take a minute to talk about the franchise as a whole.
General Manager Sam Hinkie is in the running for worst GM of all time in any sport. The news site FiveThirtyEight, summed this up pretty nicely.
And when other owners are petitioning the league to step in, you know you’re in trouble.
Hiring Jerry Colangelo as Chairman of Basketball Operations? Excellent.
Hiring Mike D’Antoni as an Associate Coach and sort-of Offensive Coordinator? The fanbase collectively facepalms.
Long story short, unless Colangelo takes over the GM duties, this team will go nowhere this season. And while theoretically they could only go up from here, that’s what was said at the end of last season too.
Cover Photo Credit: Doug Kerr/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 39
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By Alex Austin
The following is the opinion of the writer of this piece and not necessarily of Rise News.
It happened again Wednesday. Another community was shaken to the core by violence and the ubiquitous sound of gunfire.
This time, it was San Bernardino, CA. As the full facts of the incident are still being sorted out, this will not be a rant about terrorism.
Instead, this is about the reactions. According to the Boston Globe, there have been 355 mass shootings in 2015. Note that, as of yesterday, there have been 336 days in 2015.
Here’s a pause to let that sink in.
The United States of America, the “free” country that champions “liberty” is the site of more than one mass shooting a day.
And if you think that number will taper off as the year draws to a close, you are delusional. There will be more.
But again, this isn’t about what could be done to stop this, or what should be done. This is about the people who actually have the power to make changes, and yet do nothing.
Every time a tragedy like this occurs, people jump on social media to send condolences to the victims. This ranges from Mr. and Mrs. Doe to the President.
And with many of these posts, a common phrase is typed. A phrase which has become the default for grief; “My thoughts and prayers”.
This phrase, and variations thereof, is absolutely meaningless. It is just as meaningless no matter who says it, but it is particularly nauseous to read when it is spouted by the very people who should be doing something.
Allow me to break down why it’s meaningless in a rational sense before the political discourse starts.
Thoughts do not get anything done. Words do not get anything done. Actions get things done. And until there are actions taken, nothing will change.
It is up to normal human beings to create change.
The New York Daily News hit this on the nose with cover that ran on Thursday.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 3, 2015
You will notice that all (save for House Speaker Paul Ryan) of the Twitter posts the headline highlights are from present contenders for the GOP presidential nomination. You might also notice that they are all Congressmen.
These very men, along with many others of course, have the power to enact new laws. They could put into place stricter gun regulations, or alter conceal-carry laws, or something. But they don’t. And they won’t.
The simple reason: gun violence gets them paid. We all know about the NRA, the National Rifle Association.
While not all gun-owners are registered members, the NRA makes up the largest gun lobby in Washington. As a lobby, they dole out money in the form of campaign contributions to various elected officials.
Of course, this is with the understanding that said officials will work for the benefit of the NRA by either passing or blocking certain bills in either state or national Congress.
Igor Volsky the Director of Video at Think Progress sent out a series of Tweets yesterday, along with an article detailing how much money certain members of Congress received from the NRA.
The common ground between all these politicians listed? They all sent out Tweets yesterday with some version of “thoughts and prayers”.
To sum this all up, look at a Tweet posted yesterday by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT):
Your “thoughts” should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 2, 2015
This is poignant because of where Murphy is from.
In 2012, he was the Representative for Connecticut’s Fifth District, which included Newtown, the site of the Sandy Hook massacre. He has seen his constituents killed, and he is tired of seeing the same ever-repeating platitudes said with no substance to back them up.
It is time for America and Americans to open their eyes. These are not one-off incidents of lunatics. This is terror enabled by the very people who should be doing their best to keep Americans safe.
It is time to stop gun violence. And it is time to call out those who put the almighty dollar above safety and security.
This will happen again. And when it does, there will be no time for your “thoughts and prayers.”
Cover Photo Credit: Ben Townsend/Flickr (CC 2.0)Post Views: 82
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