A European financial crimes watchdog on Dec. 15 called on the Vatican to prosecute those caught money laundering, stating the Holy See must act to ensure the success of its financial reforms.
“There is a need now for the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing system, to deliver effective results in terms of prosecutions, convictions and confiscation,” said the report by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval oversight agency.
Although the Holy See has adopted new legislation in recent years to tackle money laundering within the city-state, there have been no indictments or prosecutions as a result of the new rules.
Here's something curious.
Big banks can't make money without cheating, manipulating interest rates, selling overly risky products and betting against their customers.
Big pharmaceuticals can't make money without paying competitors to keep their generic products off pharmacy shelves.
Google and Facebook can't make money without monetizing customers' privacy and violating their trust. Game maker Zynga can't make money, period, but its insiders did sweep $516 million off the table by unloading soon-to-plummet stock before a lousy earnings report.
Rupert Murdoch's media empire can't make money without tapping telephones and politicizing the news on which democracy depends.
And these are the people we are supposed to trust, admire, treat as superior and as worthy of huge salaries and government bailouts.
I’m coming to terms with the realization that I’m a big, fat fake. But at least I’m in good company.
Amy’s birthday was last Sunday. We had just arrived in Portland, so we went to a fancy-pants restaurant, situated several hundred feet above the skyline, with a view of the entire surrounding city, the Willamette River and Mount Hood. We shared a bottle of wine, enjoyed outstanding service and indulged on gourmet food to celebrate her ever-growing tenure as an occupant of our planet.
The bill for the night was nearly enough to cover groceries for our family for up to two weeks.
We could manage it; we knew it was pricey before we got there. And it was fairly easy to justify too. We were making memories. It was an other step in the courtship, helping us fall in love with our new city. We had worked hard over the past eight years, establishing a church in Colorado, struggling to pay bills at times, and we’re now enjoying some material fruits of our labor.
Seriously, how does anyone really justify spending that kind of money on one meal? After all, from our vantage point on the 30th floor, I could see scads of people below, standing on street corners, tucked in under sleeping bags and beneath cardboard boxes, walking wearily from one job to the next, hoping to pull together enough to make rent.
Produced by Cathleen Falsani for Sojourners/God's Politics
Photos by Heather Wilson and Carrie Adams/Sojourners
Music by Jason Harrod (used with express permission from the artist)
Song: "For Your Time" from Jason Harrod's album Bright As You, 2006
All Rights Reserved
The Olympics is the greatest representation of national athletic pride. Somehow every couple of years, patriotism is met with a degree of innocence and acceptance that is too often forgotten in conflict and negotiation.
Five years ago, Afghanistan re-entered international basketball when the county's Olympic committee decided to draft a team for the 2006 Asian Games. A year later, the committee hired Mamo Rafiq, who was the first Afghan immigrant to play in the NCAA first for Idaho State and then UC Davis.
Stephen Colbert does the second best interview in recent memory with economist, passionate advocate for consumer protection, and veteran Sunday school teacher Elizabeth Warren. Second best, that is, to Sojourners' interview with her for our April magazine cover story.
Elizabeth Warren is more than just the head of Congress’s panel reviewing the bank bailout (officially, the Troubled Asset Relief Program). Along with being a Harvard Law professor, she’s also a plain-spoken and passionate advocate for everyday people who is deeply motivated by her Oklahoma Methodist upbringing, as she described in an interview with Sojourners editor-in-chief Jim Wallis and assistant editor Jeannie Choi this February.
Wallis: Particularly for people of faith and conscience, what’s at stake in the battle over financial regulation that we’re in now?
Warren: Our future is at stake, and the future of our children. The story works this way: We had a boom-and-bust economy from 1794 until 1930. Our young nation would lurch from moments of great prosperity to moments of economic panic. Coming out of the 1930s, our leaders crafted a set of basic rules that put fairness into the marketplace: FDIC insurance that made it safe to put money in banks; Glass-Steagall, that said banks that take deposits cannot go out and speculate with your money; some honesty rules for Wall Street through the SEC. Those rules brought us 50 years of economic security and prosperity.
By the 1980s, some of those were outmoded—but instead of trying to think through what kind of rules we need to create a fair marketplace, we just began to throw the rules out. The credit marketplace became a lawless arena.