How digital foreign money is altering how we give and obtain cash

Right now, the world of cryptocurrency is like the Wild West. Just think of all of them modern prospectors in search of their fortune. If you are looking for gold in the digital world, I have tons of resources to help you out!

In a recent episode of Kim Komando Explains, my team and I give you all the tips you need for a successful crypto career. Basically, now is the best time to jump on the bandwagon. Retailers are also starting to accept digital currencies. (We even heard that Amazon will add crypto payment features!)

Get this: Some nonprofit groups accept donations through cryptocurrency. I spoke to recently The New York Times about how this can create a revolutionary game in the world of gift giving. Here’s what you need to know.

Sounds great … but it’s also pretty complicated

As with all things nebulous blockchain related, cryptocurrency donations are difficult for laypeople to understand. This is one of the biggest hurdles for donations.

Charities may not have the money to hire IT professionals to figure out how these donations are processed. You may not even understand how they work. That means they could be missing out on a lot of money.

Daily technical news that is important to you

Privacy, security, the latest trends, and the information you need for your best digital life.

Second is the problem of volatility. If you’ve caught up on the news, you probably know that bitcoin prices are extremely sensitive. You will one day take off like a rocket and soar to new heights.

ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE BANK ONLINE: Click here for everything you need to know about NFTs

The next thing you know is that Bitcoin is crashing towards earth, making dollar signs plummet in value and bleeding. Let’s say a charity receives $ 7 million in bitcoin on a Friday. The value could drop to $ 6.5 next Monday. (This is just an example; we’ve never heard of it, but it’s good to think about.)

Overall, they can be difficult to understand for people who are not tech buff. They are also much more difficult to predict than cash donations. When you donate $ 7 million in fiat currency, that value will be preserved. The same cannot be said for cryptocurrency donations.

Would you like to learn more about cryptocurrencies?

I’ve received a lot of requests to get an in-depth look at the Wild West of cryptocurrencies. So I wrote a brand new one eBook “Cryptocurrency 101” only for you! It sheds light on the buying, selling and spending of cryptocurrency in today’s digital world.

Get it now while you are thinking about it so you can read it later. It is not yet known which cryptocurrencies Amazon will accept. (Keep in mind that there are over 10,000 different types of cryptos available.)

I’m proud to say it’s already on the bestseller list! Check it out now and impress your friends with all of your inside knowledge.

Crypto is a way to make money, but it’s not for everyone

There are many ways you can use your free time to make extra money. I did the work and collected it for you. Tap or click here for 20 ways to make money online.

Cleveland’s baseball workforce is altering title to the Guardians

The Cleveland Major League Baseball team is set to change its name to Guardians, as the franchise announced on Friday, dropping the racially offensive name by which it has been known for more than a century.

The change was announced in a video on Twitter told by Oscar winner Tom Hanks worked in Cleveland at the beginning of his acting career and starred in the women’s baseball film “A League of Their Own”.

The Guardians name is a nod to well-known Art Deco statues on the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, which spans the Cuyahoga River and connects downtown Cleveland with trendy Ohio City. These statues are known as the “guardians of traffic”.

The franchise, which announced the name change in a tweet on Friday morning, had long been pressured by activists locally and nationally to give up the name “Indians”, which critics described as racist. It was the name of the baseball club since 1915.

The announcement did not say when it would take effect. However, MLB.com reported that will happen in the next season. The franchise ranks second in the American League Central.

The Washington Football Team of the NFL last year dropped its previous name, which has been decried as degrading to Native Americans as corporate backlash intensified. The franchise temporarily took over the Washington Football Team and played under that name last season. It will continue to be known as the Washington Football Team for the 2021 campaign.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that a new name and logo for the NFL team will be announced in early 2022.

At a press conference Cleveland team owner Paul Dolan said Friday the organization hopes the Guardians will “turn us off a path that divides us” and ultimately be accepted by the entire fan base and region.

“We understand that the name change will be difficult for some of us and the transition will take some time,” said Dolan, who found he grew up in northeast Ohio and has always worked for the team under his old nickname was rooted. “Those memories won’t get any less with a new name,” he added.

In December, the Cleveland baseball team said so would change its name after the 2021 season, a move that some consider long overdue. Protests by Indian activists in front of the team’s stadium had been the order of the day for years. especially on the open day.

The franchise moved away from its longtime “Chief Wahoo” logo after the 2018 season, with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred saying it was at the time “No longer suitable for use on the field in Major League Baseball.”

In a Friday post, the team explained the name Guardian: “To protect, to keep watch, to defend. For Clevelander this is a way of life. We fight together for what we believe in. And when we get knocked down, we catch up with each other and keep fighting. We you are resilient , hard working and loyal to this city and to each other. That’s what it means to be the Cleveland Guardians. “

The organization said it asked more than 40,000 fans for possible names and conducted more than 140 hours of interviews with supporters, front office members and community leaders in northeast Ohio. The team’s primary colors, navy blue and red, remain the same.

“Our fans are at the center of this decision. We have heard this name many times from our fans as a top contender because it has a connection to the iconic Cleveland landmark,” said the franchise statement.

The bridge with the Guardians of Traffic is near Progressive Field, where the team plays, and pictures of the statues have been printed on T-shirts. A popular local brewery, Gardening, even adopted it as part of his logo.

The Cleveland franchise already exists since 1901when it was called the blues. The following season his name became Broncos, then it was known as the Cleveland nap from 1903 to 1914 in terms of player managers Nap Lajoie. It was changed to its current name after Lajoie was traded.

There Is No Free Cash To Be Had From Altering Taxation Of U.S. Multinational Companies

Every government comes into office pretending to have a huge pot of money that can easily be raised by changing the taxation of international businesses on US multinational corporations. It’s a chimerical notion, however, and the Biden government’s inappropriate and contradicting plans to change the taxation of foreign-sourced income would likely generate low income and nothing to create employment in the US

How the US taxes the income of US corporations that do business abroad has been controversial for some time. Until the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in 2017, the US taxed income from foreign sources worldwide, which meant that a domestic company operating overseas would pay taxes at the US tax rate rather than the domestic tax rate. Hardly any other country has a territorial regime.

The rationale for a global tax system was that Congress didn’t want a multinational company with offices around the world to have tax incentives to manufacture elsewhere. However, it forced US companies competing in overseas markets to pay a higher effective tax rate than their competitors in the market.

For example, if Caterpillar – a company with significant operations in my hometown – were to sell tractors in Spain before 2018, it would be subject to the US corporate tax rate of 39 percent (including state and local taxes) on its profits, highest in the OECD – while its non- American competitors in Spain were only subject to the Spanish corporate tax rate of 25 percent. This difference was a major reason why many US companies, after merging with a foreign company, moved their headquarters to outside the US – a process known as corporate inversion.

The proliferation of corporate inversions, combined with a high corporate tax rate and the ability for U.S. companies to defer tax liabilities on income from foreign sources until those profits are repatriated, resulted in the Treasury Department raising relatively little money from the overseas operations of U.S. companies.

The Tax Code and Jobs Act attempted to correct these problems. Not only did it lower the federal tax rate to 21 percent, but it also shifted tax law from a global tax system to a territorial one, which helped put US firms on an equal footing when doing business abroad.

That’s a good thing, because overseas sales by US corporations can create many jobs in the US, even if what is sold is not made in the US, high-margin tractors are mostly made in the US. Its market presence through the sale of its low-margin merchandise is driving global demand for its high-margin devices. But even if it produces and sells abroad, it still creates jobs in the US: Most of the logistics, marketing and technical support, for example, are still done domestically.

The much lower corporate tax rate – exactly on average across OECD countries – also reduced the incentives for corporate inversions.

Another issue the TCJA addressed was the practice of US companies to move intellectual property overseas so that the income from it would be taxed at a lower rate. US multinationals have large tax departments that seek to spread profits across jurisdictions through intellectual property or debt transfers in an attempt to minimize global tax liabilities – which usually means reducing US tax liabilities in the first place.

The TCJA’s inclusion of a Global Intangible Low-Tax Income (GILTI) targeted this practice by imposing an effective tax of between 10 and 13 percent on what it believed to be “above average” returns.

However, it is not clear whether GILTI – or the hybrid territorial global tax system – will remain in place. The recently published “Green book“, Which describes the revenue proposals of the Biden administration in detail for the 2022 financial year, suggests” revising the global minimum tax system “, which many have understood as a doubling of GILTI.

However, that’s not what it is suggesting. Rather, it calls for the resumption of a global tax system, as it was before 2018, and the introduction of a minimum tax on foreign profits – more precisely on EBITDA. If a company does not pay enough tax in a foreign jurisdiction, it owes tax to the United States G-7 agreement to introduce some kind of minimum tax for multinational companies.

Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that this will ultimately lead to more tax revenue for the US or more domestic economic activity.

The main motivation for France and the other developed European countries to introduce some kind of global minimum tax is that they want to tax the revenues of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google – the so-called FAANGs.

These US-based multinationals – with a combined market capitalization of nearly $ 7 trillion – are all US based and also have most of their employment in the United States. This is where they currently pay most of their taxes.

Europe wants to change that. France’s attempt to implement a digital tax system was only suspended at the last moment by the G7 tax treaty, although it is unclear whether the US – or any of the other countries – will keep the vague promises made at the meetings.

But if the US pushes through both the Biden Green Paper proposals and the G7 agreement, the US will again put its multinationals at a competitive disadvantage when they operate overseas, sacrificing tax revenues from US companies to European countries without much to get for it.

Corporate tax is not a very good tax: it discourages capital investment, which in turn reduces productivity, production and wages. It’s also not nearly as advanced as most people assume, and it’s devilishly expensive for businesses to adhere to.

The French philosopher Jean-Baptist Colbert famously said that taxation is the art of plucking feathers from the goose to get the most feathers with the least hiss. Corporate income tax – like all investment taxes – generate a lot of hiss for relatively few feathers.

The TCJA has done a feat by lowering the corporate tax rate and making it difficult for multinational corporations to circumvent it. While it may have reduced revenue, there is evidence that it also boosted economic growth and domestic investment.

A return to a global tax system and the introduction of a burdensome minimum corporation tax instead of GILTI would not bring much additional revenue to the US Treasury Department, but it would undoubtedly reduce economic growth.

The altering of the cash

Some things become relevant while people are still waiting to see if they ever will, and cryptocurrencies are one of those things.

For years attention to them has ebbed and flowed like that paid to a Powerball lottery: When the jackpot has been high — as measured primarily by the trading price of the most dominant such currency, Bitcoin — interest has been, too. But when Bitcoin’s value has dropped — as it has several times, precipitously — then the going wisdom has been that crypto is at best a fad or a tool for those engaged in activities they’d rather hide.

But virtual currencies are bubbling up into the mainstream now; it happened while most of us weren’t quite looking, and it raises questions for governments and consumers alike. Consider:

• Coinbase, which operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform for both retail and institutional investors, made its own shares available to the public last week. Trading opened well above the expected price.

• More than two dozen publicly traded companies — most notably Tesla — are holding some amount of digital assets like Bitcoin on their balance sheets.

• Last month, PayPal announced that it would start letting its U.S. customers make day-to-day transactions with Bitcoin and other such currencies.

• It was already easy for retail investors to possess incremental amounts of various cryptocurrencies, through PayPal or brokerages like Robinhood, and to trade them in an attempt to profit from changes in price.

• Survey results have suggested that as many as 1 in 10 recipients of the most recent government stimulus checks directed money into Bitcoin.

• As recently as a few years ago, surveys found that a third of the people investing in Bitcoin knew little or nothing about it.

Let’s start there.

• • •

At the core of cryptocurrency is a promising technology called blockchain. Think of it as the kind of ledger or database anyone might use to keep track of what goes out and what comes in. Except: With blockchain, the information is not stored in a central location. Instead, it’s duplicated on a multitude of computers around the world, each updated every time a transaction takes place. In theory, this adds confidence to the record-keeping and makes it hard for anyone to cook the books. It also, paradoxically, can speed the process of settling a transaction, which in the financial world can otherwise take days.

Blockchain has potential applications beyond finance. In supply chains, for instance. Or health care records. Or voting.

Cryptocurrencies, meanwhile, are units of exchange created and managed on computers. You can’t hold them in your hand like a gold coin or a dollar bill. But that very fact — that they’re aren’t “fiat” money, issued by governments and managed (some would say manipulated) by central banks — is the appeal to many people. Instead, the value of a cryptocurrency derives from its relative scarcity: the computational effort involved in unlocking it and a limit to how much ever can be introduced into circulation. Meanwhile, encryption — wherein personal details are converted to code — provides privacy, though transactions are not necessarily untraceable.

Not all virtual currencies are secretive. China is rolling out a digital version of its money, but it’s the antithesis of cryptocurrency — it’s meant to be tracked. Some people think that the U.S. should create its own (presumably less Orwellian) version, especially if the country would like to continue to enjoy the benefits of the dollar’s being the world’s reserve currency. At least publicly, though, there’s no official haste.

• • •

Going forward, the advice for consumers is simple. If you try to profit by speculating on cryptocurrencies, limit yourself to an amount you can stomach losing, and expect volatility. (Example: Bitcoin’s bubblicious doubling over the last few months was followed a week ago by a quick 20% drop.) If you want to make routine transactions using cryptocurrency, understand that it may just be a fancy way of turning your cash into something else and back again, and that there may be fees involved in the conversion.

For the government, the rise of alternative currencies presents a familiar conundrum: to regulate or not to regulate, or something in between?

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota has been ahead of the issue in Congress, even accepting campaign contributions in cryptocurrency. As you’d expect from a Republican with a libertarian bent, he’s in the camp of preferring not too much regulation, or too soon. He wants to ensure that entrepreneurs have room to create in the space.

We credit Emmer for getting up to speed on the subject before others, and we agree with him to a point. There’s room to let this phenomenon develop. Despite their traction, the ultimate role of virtual currencies remains an open question. Some countries are instituting or pondering bans. Some people still aren’t persuaded that there’s even a point.

Still, there are questions about eventualities: How, ultimately, should trading in such currencies be taxed? Will the taxes be easy to dodge? Will typical users have privacy? Will nefarious actors find it easy to hide? Will the high energy consumption of crypto computing be brought down? Finally, can economies remain stable if the environment evolves such that central banks have less influence? (Remember that the Federal Reserve System was created after a series of financial panics, and that the Fed has managed crises since.)

Here’s something else to think about. A recent study in the journal Nature reported that people are more likely to consider solutions that add complexity than ones that remove it, even when removal is more efficient. So, a chicken-or-egg question: If complications are to be layered on top of a working financial system, is it the reinvention of currency or the regulation of it that lands with the first glop?

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Europe’s altering guidelines prompts confusion

LONDON – There are indications that the European rules of use for the vaccine developed by coronavirus are deviating and changing AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford sow further confusion and distrust among the citizens.

Not only have EU citizens faced a barrage of negative sentiment towards the vaccine, even from top officials themselves, but they have seen the shot suspended by more than a dozen European countries after concerns about a small number of blood reports clots became loud.

The European Medicines Agency and World Health Organization, after safety reviews of the data, recommended continued use of the shot, saying its benefits outweighed the possible risks. But those fears have not gone away and there is now confusion about which age group should and can take the vaccine.

On Tuesday, Germany stopped using the AstraZeneca shot on all citizens under 60, citing renewed concerns after a small number of reports of rare but serious blood clots. Earlier this week, some hospitals in Berlin initially stopped vaccinating women under the age of 55 with AstraZeneca’s shot.

Germany initially only allowed the vaccine to be used under 65 years of age due to insufficient data to show that it was safe and effective for the elderly, despite reversing that decision in early March.

Meanwhile, Spain decided on Wednesday to extend the use of the vaccine to key workers over 65 years of age. The vaccine was previously limited to the 55 to 65 age group, but is now made available to priority groups in this age group such as health workers, police officers and teachers.

In France, the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially not approved even for people over 65 years of age. French President Emmanuel Macron has now been criticized by many French commentators for his chair epidemiology, falsely saying that the vaccine is “virtually ineffective” for those over 65.

France later reversed that stance when more clinical trial data emerged, saying the vaccine would be approved for people with comorbidities, including those between the ages of 65 and 74.

Confused? You’re not alone. Comments on Twitter indicate that people on both sides are confused about the official stance on the vaccine.

A Twitter user based in Germany noted that “you can’t blame people for being confused” after listing the phrases that characterized it AstraZeneca’s vaccine timeline.

Another user, Aetera, based in Germany, noticed this “Everyone here is confused whether it’s good or bad” While another UK Twitter user, Mike Carrivick, said the reversal of the rules of use surrounding the vaccine is the “irony of irony” but one with potentially dire consequences. He remarked, “No wonder so many are confused and lives in danger.”

London-based Kristen Covo was another Twitter user who expressed confusion over AstraZeneca’s safety data after being suspended in a handful of European countries and resuming use following recommendations from the EMA and WHO.

Regarding the question of giving the second dose of vaccine to younger people who have already received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the German vaccine committee announced that it would issue guidelines on the matter by the end of April.

The ambivalent and changing attitudes of European countries towards the vaccine were made all the more confusing by an accompanying narrative (and major argument) about the delivery of the shot.

The EU has repeatedly accused the drug maker of failing to meet its delivery schedule, while various EU officials and heads of state and government have cast doubts about the vaccine’s effectiveness, which in turn has made many EU citizens skeptical about vaccines.

A Brussels-based BBC reporter noted that it had been labeled the “Aldi vaccine” after the cheap grocery store. because people saw the shot as a budget option. There are other reports from people requesting this Pfizer– –BioNTech or Modern Shots instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

As an English Twitter user named gazztrade asked on Wednesday, does the EU want “the AstraZeneca vaccine or not”?

Airways altering enterprise to reply post-pandemic demand for holidays

A picture taken on February 28, 2021 shows palm trees on the empty “Promenade des Anglais” in Nice on the French Riviera.

VALERY HACHE | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – Airlines in Europe see sunshine and beaches as their way to make money again.

The sector has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and people have been advised to stay home. Lufthansa said On Thursday, the number of passengers saw a 75% decrease between 2019 and 2020. This underscores the devastating impact many airlines have seen since then Covid beat.

However, they are currently examining ways to adjust business models as economies seek to reopen in the coming months.

“European airlines will focus on vacation travel,” Adrian Yanoshik, a stock analyst at Berenberg, told CNBC on Wednesday. “This is a tactical answer. You follow the flow of people,” he said.

Given the easing of restrictions in European economies, people are expected to try to go on vacation as soon as possible after about a year at home. In contrast, it takes longer for business trips to recover.

I think we’ll see a little less business travel and more vacation travel.

Rickard Gustafson

CEO of Scandinavian Airlines

“Will I be making the one-day trip from London to New York for a three-hour meeting? Probably not, so this will have some impact on business travel,” Keith Barr, CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts, told CNBC’s “Squawk” Box Europe “last Month.

Rickard Gustafson, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, also expects “some significant changes in the dynamics of the (airline) market”.

“I think we’ll see a little less business travel and more vacation travel,” he told CNBC. “We have to adapt our operations more to the seasonality than we do today,” he added.

Low cost airlines like Ryanair and easyJet I’ve always enticed customers to take breaks in sunny European locations like Greece, Spain and Italy. However, more airlines could do the same, such as Lufthansa and British Airwaystraditionally intended for those who travel for work purposes.

“Business travel will be above 2019 levels by the end of the decade,” Stephen Furlong, senior analyst at wealth management firm Davy, told CNBC on the phone, adding that “leisure (travel) could snap back very quickly.”

Another mix of cabins

Business travel has led airlines to develop business class, premium seats and loyalty cards. However, as part of a new focus on leisure, analysts expect a different aircraft layout.

“You will get a cabin reconfiguration,” said Furlong, mentioning that business class will be a much smaller part of the aircraft. “The size of the plane is (also) smaller,” he added.

When you consider how low-cost airlines have traditionally organized their aircraft, the focus is far less on premium customers. In fact, for example, Ryanair does not have a frequent flyer loyalty card.

People sit on the “Castel” beach along the “Promenade des Anglais” on the French Riviera in Nice, southern France.

VALERY HACHE | AFP | Getty Images

“This is probably a temporary phenomenon. You will focus on business (travel) again,” said Yanoshik from Berenberg.

However, as more airlines focus on vacation travel in the short to medium term, he added that ticket prices “will be weak”.

Vaccination records

European airlines hope so Vaccination records will be used this year as a means of restoring lost businesses.

The idea of ​​a vaccination pass is still debated by European politicians, but the travel industry sees it as a must that some trips can return during this summer season.

“IATA is pushing extremely hard within the industry,” Andrew Lobbenberg, equity analyst at HSBC, told CNBC.

The International Air Transport Association is currently working on a passport, a digital platform where passengers can upload their health information. She has asked the EU heads of state and government to introduce vaccination records so that customers can feel safe again.

vaccine Passports “will be part of the reopening of air traffic,” Lobbenberg said.

Alaskans have been left in the dead of night as cash poured into elections final yr. Now, that is altering.

A voting sign at Hanshew Middle School in Anchorage on the morning of Election Day last year. (Jeff Chen / Alaska Public Media)

Two weeks before the November elections, attacks were posted on Facebook targeting independent and democratic legislative candidates.

“Calvin Schrage is not independent,” said one of the advertisements, referring to the independent candidate for a seat in the House of Representatives who represents Anchorage Hillside. “He’s a typical liberal democrat.”

This complaint, which attacks Anchorage State House independent candidate Stephen Trimble, is from the Council on Good Government. Most of the Council on Good Government’s money came from the Republican State Leadership Committee, whose largest donor in Alaska prior to last year’s elections was the telecommunications company GCI. (Facebook)

The group that paid for the ads, the Council on Good Government, received nearly all of the $ 380,000 it raised from a single group: those based in Washington, DC Republican Governance Committee. But only after the votes were counted did the RSLC have to disclose the sources of the $ 8.5 million in its own submissions, collected in the month leading up to election day.

When the RSLC created the file this report to the IRSit only showed one large Alaskan donor: GCI. The Anchorage telecommunications giant gave the RSLC $ 100,000 in early October – the day before the group reported it had transferred $ 75,000 to the Council on Good Government.

The donation came as a shock to some political observers.

“You’re kidding,” said Amber Lee, who led the campaigns for two candidates targeted by the Good Government Council. “Impressive.”

GCI’s $ 100,000 contribution was significant to politics in Alaska, as most legislative candidates raise less than that much money over the course of their entire campaigns. But it was far from unique: groups on both sides of last year’s struggle for control of state lawmakers spent significant sums of money on corporations that didn’t disclose – or not at all – their donors before the elections.

But from this year this practice will be banned: A citizens’ initiative approved in November Groups attempting to influence the election of candidates must disclose the “true source” of all donations in excess of $ 2,000.

“Getting this information from IRS tax documents in February for money spent to influence Alaska’s voters in last November’s elections is of no use to voters,” said Shea Siegert, who led the successful initiative campaign. “That is the problem that Election Action 2 was supposed to fix.”

The RSLC supports GOP legislative candidates across the country, and the GCI issued a statement saying that its contribution to the organization was not intended for a specific campaign.

GCI is making a donation to the RSLC “in support of their work both across the state of Alaska and across the country, and advocating for candidates who support companies like GCI and promote strong economic policies,” spokeswoman Heather Handyside wrote in an email.

“We have chosen to support the RSLC directly as an organization that has effectively participated in elections in the past,” said Handyside.

The Council on Good Government – the Alaska-based group that attacked independent and Democratic candidates – has raised more than $ 300,000 from the RSLC over the past year. The money came in several installments, including the $ 75,000 the day after the GCIs donation.

RSLC also gave $ 150,000 to defend the Alaskan elections last year. This is the group that has struggled unsuccessfully to defeat the electoral initiative which, among other things, requires greater disclosure from donors. Defend Alaska Elections received $ 45,000 direct from GCI and $ 50,000 from two top GCI executives.

The Council on Good Government supported GOP legislative candidates in five races at the Anchorage State House and one race in the Fairbanks Senate.

The group supported three victorious Republican candidates: Fairbanks Senator Robb Myers, who defeated the independent Marna Sanford; Anchorage Rep. David Nelson, who defeated the Democrat Lyn Franks; and Anchorage Rep. Sara Rasmussen, who defeated the independent Stephen Trimble.

This ad, attacking Democratic Anchorage State House candidate Liz Snyder, comes from the Council on Good Government. (Facebook)

The group also supported three lost Republicans: former Anchorage Rep. Lance Pruitt, who lost to Democrat Liz Snyder; former Anchorage Rep. Mel Gillis, who lost to Schrage, the Independent; and Kathy Henslee, who lost to incumbent Anchorage Rep. Chris Tuck.

Among the ads by the Council on Good Government were radio spots praising Pruitt as “one of the most respected members of the legislature” and promoting Snyder for “government-run health care” and an income tax – even though Snyder refused to approve an income tax during a campaign debate .

Other ads on Facebook labeled independent candidates Schrage and Trimble as “typical Liberal Democrats” and “fake independent liberals”, respectively.

Lee, who led the Trimble and Snyder campaigns, said the lack of information about the ad sponsors makes it difficult for candidates to respond at this point.

“All of the information you have changes to some degree, what kind of research you do and what kind of tactics you use,” she said.

The RSLC wasn’t the only major campaign donor in Alaska, however, whose supporters were not revealed in the election.

Progressive organizations that do not reveal their donors also donated five- and six-figure amounts to groups that support democratic and independent candidates. And because these organizations are organized differently, they do not report their donors to the state or the IRS.

Defend AlaskaThe company, which raised $ 500,000 last year to support progressive candidates, raised $ 150,000 with the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Sixteen thirty funds. The fund does not disclose the identity of its contributors Politico once described it as “fueled by massive anonymous donations, including a gift totaling $ 51.7 million”.

This complaint, which attacks former East Anchorage GOP representative Lance Pruitt, was paid for by a group called Defend Alaska. Defend Alaska raised large donations from several groups that do not disclose their donors. (Facebook)

Defend Alaska also raised $ 50,000 at the Alaska Progressive Donor Table, a nonprofit based in Anchorage. Kay Brown, a former Alaska Democratic Party executive director listed as one of the officers on the donor table, declined to immediately disclose information about their donors.

Defend Alaska chairwoman Barbara Blake referred questions about the group’s donors to the donors themselves, though she noted that Defend Alaska began as a grassroots effort.

In future state elections, the newly approved electoral measure will force groups to disclose more information about their donors.

Siegert, the initiative’s campaign manager, said the new rules should give Alaskans “real-time” information about groups trying to influence candidates’ campaigns within the state. Disclosure of donations and contributions is required within 24 hours.

“These people have a reason to contribute to campaigns, and the voters, who know who is donating, give them the opportunity to decide for themselves why these contributors contribute to a particular candidate,” said Siegert. “Voters can only research the information that is publicly available – they can speculate about the rest, but if we don’t have laws and regulations about the rest that make that information public, voters will be disadvantaged.”

Homicide, Kidnapping, Drug Trafficking and Cash Laundering: Right here’s How Hawai‘i’s Crime Scene is Altering

 

Illustration: James Nakamura

 

 

Dozens of federal agents swarmed a modest suburban Kailua house before dawn in mid-July, armed with search warrants aimed at a local businessman with a decadeslong reputation for trouble. The operation ended with Michael Miske Jr. behind bars and the U.S. Attorney’s office unveiling an indictment detailing 22 charges against Miske and 10 of his associates. The documents allege the 46-year-old O‘ahu man led an organized crime ring dubbed “the Miske enterprise” which resemble a movie script about murder, murder for hire, kidnapping, drug trafficking, chemical weapons attacks and more.

 

U.S. Attorney Kenji Price declared: “These arrests are part of a sprawling federal investigation into the activities of an organized crime group that has wreaked havoc in our communities for years.” Price said the charges send a message that “no one in Hawai‘i is above the law.”

 

Miske has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Tommy Otake, says: “Mr. Miske is not involved in organized crime, and is surely not the leader of it. He is a successful businessman who has been ruined by these false allegations.” Otake describes the U.S. Attorney’s case as “a false narrative that makes for good TV, but it’s not based in reality.” He says Hollywood “has glorified organized crime in countless movies, and because of that, the public is always interested in a good organized crime story.”

 

SEE ALSO: Crime Watch: What’s With All the Brazen Attacks in Honolulu the Past Year?

 

Indeed, the charges made for the splashiest organized crime story in years, with allegations so intriguing the case knocked COVID-19 out of the top spot in local news headlines for the first time in months. But, even before the current lengthy investigation coordinated by multiple agencies, Miske and his associates had been under scrutiny for years. Honolulu Deputy Police Chief John McCarthy says Miske was “nothing but a street-level drug dealer in Kailua until he started making more and more money.” Now he owns a multimillion-dollar home overlooking Spitting Cave in Portlock. And Miske is also alleged to have paid $217,000 in cash as a down payment for a 2017 Ferrari Berlinetta with money transferred from his Kama‘āina Termite Pest & Control business.

 

McCarthy—who has been in law enforcement for 44 years with a career that’s taken him from Chinatown foot patrol to organized crime probes, including a stint with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration—says Miske went into “extortion, theft, kidnapping, the murder. He threw money around to get what he wanted. He kind of fancied himself after [New York crime boss] John Gotti, the Teflon Don, because he would pay off prospective witnesses,” McCarthy says.

 

 

 

What’s next? For Miske, jury selection and trial are set for Sept. 13, 2021, before federal Judge Derrick K. Watson in Honolulu District Court.

 

 

 

Rumors that Miske was a crime boss had spread through the community to his mainstream companies, including the termite company where he was headquartered, according to federal documents. A federal motion to hold him without bail says: “Nothing demonstrates Miske’s penchant for violence more than his meticulously planned and premeditated abduction, kidnapping and murder of Johnathan Fraser in July 2016,” motivated by retribution for what prosecutors say was Miske’s mistaken belief that Fraser was the driver in a crash that eventually took the life of Miske’s son, Caleb-Jordan Miske-Lee.

“The kids nowadays that think they’re criminals aren’t smart enough to organize crime. They’re so driven by immediate gratification.”

— Megan Kau

 

That comes a year after a traffic stop that ties Miske to one of the most notorious cases of the decade: the public corruption conviction of disgraced former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his former deputy city prosecutor wife, Katherine, who also admitted to masterminding her own significant criminal enterprise. Katherine Kealoha pleaded guilty to bank fraud, identity theft and covering up knowledge of a drug operation that involved her doctor brother. Louis Kealoha pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filed for divorce; both are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 30. Investigation of their crimes and cover-ups reached into the Police Department and prosecutor’s office: Two HPD officers were convicted with them, and since March 2019, after the feds alerted him he was also being investigated, Honolulu city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has been on paid leave, still earning $170,000 a year.

 

Megan Kau stepped down after four years as a deputy city prosecutor when Katherine Kealoha became her supervisor in 2010. Now she is a defense attorney (running for city prosecutor when this magazine went to print) and one of her clients is fired Honolulu police Sgt. Albert Lee. Lee testified that in 2017, Katherine Kealoha called him and another officer he was supervising to tell them to back off Miske after they pulled him over for a traffic stop. “That’s when I put together the fact that Michael Miske was tied to the prosecutor’s office,” Kau says. She points to a court document filed by Kealoha saying, “I called the officers and I told them to stand down and leave Michael Miske alone.” Kealoha and Miske have denied knowing each other personally through their attorneys. (Another investigator reported that Katherine Kealoha took time off when Miske’s son died.)

 

SEE ALSO: The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: Our Interview With Louis Kealoha 9 Years Before He and Katherine Kealoha Are Found Guilty

 

Kau describes both Miske and Katherine Kealoha as “what some might consider a sociopath, both of them,” skilled at manipulating others. Kau, 43, says she met Miske in her private practice when she worked several months for one of his companies on a civil case, then withdrew. But Kau describes Miske and Kealoha as aberrations. Kau says many of today’s wannabe crooks are too impulsive to be organized. “The kids nowadays that think they’re criminals aren’t smart enough to organize crime. They’re so driven by immediate gratification.” As for gangs, “They’re much more violent. They don’t follow rules. They’re reckless.”

 

That wasn’t the case 50 years ago, when organized crime in the Islands regularly made national news. In 1970, The New York Times wrote about “the Hawaiian Syndicate,” with disturbing details of gangland-style murders—victims tossed in a city incinerator, hacked with axes, blowtorched. State Sen. Larry Kuriyama shot to death in his ‘Aiea home’s carport at about 11 p.m. after returning from a political rally. A Honolulu eatery forced to shut down for a couple of days to sanitize after thugs ran a body through the meat grinder.

 

Community fears were so great that the state created the Hawai‘i Crime Commission in 1977, spurred by stories about contract murders, police corruption, political influence and economic domination by the syndicate. “Extreme fear of organized crime was expressed in daily conversation by government officials, by commercial workers, by news reporters, by laborers, by housewives—in short, encompassing the spectrum of society,” the commission report charged. The citizen panel and staff members eventually helped to increase penalties for gambling and extortion, and they pushed through new procedures for wiretapping and the grand jury system. They also produced a report that outlined more than 60 organized crime-related killings from 1962 to 1978.

 

Organized Crime Mike Mccarthy In The 808 Web

Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino

 

 

“The Hell’s Angels used to come to Hawai‘i to hide a lot when they were wanted up on the Mainland. You go down to Puna, nobody’d find you.”

— John McCarthy

 

Today, the topic is definitely not part of everyday conversation. Yet, former U.S. Attorney and Judge Steve Alm, who is also running for Honolulu prosecutor this year, says organized crime evolved but never went away: “It’s not a small town anymore where people can feel like they can control those crimes.” In 1970, O‘ahu’s population topped 630,000. Now it is close to a million. Alm, 67, emphasizes “organized crime is always here,” but it is quieter, surfacing to the public periodically through large drug busts, moves against international gambling rings and sporadic violence such as the January 2004 midday shooting of three men in the parking lot of Pali Golf Course. More recently violence is turning up at illegal gambling houses.

 

And big bosses are rare. After the kingpins of the ’70s went to prison or died, law enforcement officials say control fractured among local and international groups and individuals. Former longtime Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Peter Carlisle thinks fewer dramatic organized crime cases make the news these days because that tight-knit brutal culture disintegrated. Carlisle, 67, started working in the prosecuting attorney’s office as a deputy back in 1978 and headed it from 1997 to 2010. His first local organized crime assignment, however, came even earlier when he was a law student at UCLA doing legal work on the murder retrial of Hawai‘i underworld figure Wilford “Nappy” Pulawa. Pulawa was sentenced to 24 years for tax evasion for his gambling organization that netted more than $2.5 million a year, tried and acquitted for murder and linked by others to a host of violent crimes.

 

Carlisle, who’s now retired, says crimes have changed with technology, and investigative techniques have grown more sophisticated. “We don’t have those grotesquely violent people,” says Carlisle. “They were cold-hearted killers. That type of person seems to have been replaced by the people who are using drugs and doing stupid stuff like that.”

 

By the 1980s, drugs smuggled into Hawai‘i came from enough sources to resemble a travel brochure: California, Mexico, Southeast Asia, Colombia, Brazil and more. “I had a case where a member of the Chicago mafia brought a kilo of cocaine here,” McCarthy says. “The Hell’s Angels used to come to Hawai‘i to hide a lot when they were wanted up on the Mainland,” often to Maui or the Big Island. “You go down to Puna, nobody’d find you,” he adds.

 

At the same time, officials were also tracking increasing activities by the yakuza, Japanese organized crime. McCarthy remembers: “There were a couple places in Waikīkī, adult video bookstores, where you couldn’t even get in without a Japanese passport. Why? Because there was a secret room in the back where they performed live sex shows.”

 

SEE ALSO: Sour Poi Awards: Looking Back on the Best of the Worst News in Hawai‘i from 2019

 

Yakuza involvement in Hawai‘i has ebbed, but gambling, a moneymaker for Pulawa and other crime bosses, seems to be surging again.

 

“Traditionally, gambling is the bread and butter of organized crime in Hawai‘i and on the Mainland,” says former U.S. Attorney Flo Nakakuni, who served in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Hawai‘i for 32 years and headed the office under President Barack Obama. In the 1990s, many Hawai‘i folks started flying to Las Vegas for legal gambling trips, going to places that cater to Isle residents rather than frequenting local gambling houses at home. “Why should I go to some dumpy place in downtown Honolulu when I can go jump on a plane, stay in a nice hotel, gamble in a casino and actually get something out of it?” McCarthy asks. Now, recent robberies, shootings, COVID-19 quarantine violations and even virus outbreaks suggest that the illegal gaming rooms have regained some of their popularity since pandemic restrictions have made traveling more difficult. In the past few months, Honolulu police have busted gaming rooms across town, from Kalihi and Ke‘eaumoku area to a Waikīkī apartment and an ‘Aiea home. Some robberies turn deadly and police raids often lead to the confiscation of drugs and guns as well as gambling devices. As recently as mid-August, a 31-year-old man was killed in an attempted robbery of an Ala Moana area game room. The case gained even more attention when it turned out the victim had COVID-19 and officers who responded to the scene had to quarantine.

 

In September, Washington, D.C.-based animal rights group Animal Wellness Action asked the Honolulu U.S. Attorney’s office to investigate what it describes as an extensive hidden cockfighting network in the Islands, worth millions. McCarthy confirmed that cockfights still attract lucrative gambling operations with “six figures commonly bet in one day or one weekend and at a bigger weekend derby, the winner can go home with six figures.”

 

Big busts still happen, but less often. Gambling cases often take time and resources to go beyond the game-room attendant present for a bust and reach those who control and finance the operations. When Alm was U.S. Attorney, a case focused on breaking up control of O‘ahu gambling activities—including cockfighting and card and dice games—resulted in federal indictments of 32 adults and seizures of half a million dollars, two buildings on Maunakea Street, a home in Hawai‘i Kai and a 1-acre parcel on the Big Island valued at more than $2.6 million. Pivotal to the case was a Honolulu police officer who worked undercover from 1997 to 2000.

 

 

Gambling House2

Illegal game room across from the Kalihi-Pālama post office

 

Gambling House1

Outside an ‘Aiea home, used as a game room, that was raided by police in late August.

 

 

Other big-money property crimes received little public fanfare because the defendants were only loosely tied to the Islands. An international credit card scam involving hundreds of thousands of dollars surfaced in 2013. Several defendants pleaded guilty here after preying on local merchants and posting their loot on social media. McCarthy, who worked the case, says: “We could prove that the credit cards were skimmed at a restaurant in Miami, sold to the Russians, bought by this group. The cards were counterfeited and they traveled all over the United States, primarily tourism areas.” Just a year later, federal prosecution of a more than $670 million internet sports betting operation led to Kaka‘ako businessman Felix Tom. The illegal operation worked through websites registered in Costa Rica from 2005 to 2012. Tom forfeited more than $4 million in assets, including properties in Honolulu and Las Vegas as well as $118,601 in taxes owed. And, after he got caught, he helped the government prosecute others and received a six-month prison sentence.

 

Decades ago, organized crime also controlled other vice operations. But the global economy, mail, internet and other delivery services have made it easier for more factions to sell drugs and broker sex, Alm says, “which meant that organized crime lost control of drugs and prostitution.”

 

Part of why crime may seem less pervasive also reflects shrinking news operations. Over the past decade, Honolulu became a one-newspaper town and news media largely abandoned daily beat coverage of the courts in favor of case-by-case reporting. In addition, many of the people involved in the lower levels of gambling, drugs and more plead out of charges instead of going to trial. And those plea deals often reveal little publicly.

 

Also, state money dedicated to organized crime investigations has disappeared. The state Attorney General’s Office historically includes an organized crime section but it hasn’t been staffed with attorneys in recent years, prompting a bill introduced this year to allocate money for salaries.

 

While the FBI does focus on terrorism, which took center stage on Sept. 11, other priorities include espionage, cyber operations, public corruption, civil rights protection as well as white-collar and violent crime, says the bureau’s Jason White, all of which have cropped up here.

 

White, a special agent with the FBI in Honolulu for more than 20 years, says the agency aims to make a big impact with any organized crime investigation. “We just slowly chip away, build our case,” White says. “Our goal is to completely dismantle, not leave any part of the organization intact.”

 

McCarthy points to the huge amounts of money generated by illegal enterprises as usually leading to their downfall. “The weakness with all these guys, even with Miske, is always the money. You generate too much money, it’s either a tax problem or a money-laundering problem.”

 

For those skeptical of how vigorously organized crime is investigated, McCarthy sums up the scene from a veteran’s perspective: “When it comes to crime, the odds are on the crooks’ side. There’s more of them, they have more access to funds, they don’t have rules. The burden is on us, law enforcement, not them.”

 

SEE ALSO: The Crime That Changed the Islands

MISKE HISTORY

Before the federal indictment, Miske had six felony convictions for kidnapping, first-degree assault, fraudulent use of a credit card, and three counts of second-degree theft and three misdemeanor convictions.

 

In 2013, he was arrested for allegedly hitting pro football tackle Trent Williams over the head with a bottle of Champagne in the M Nightclub, where Miske was a part owner. Williams, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 320 pounds, was unable to play in the Pro Bowl because of his injuries. The case was later dismissed after Williams indicated he would not return for the trial. Mike Mutenbah, aka Mike Malone, an indicted associate, was also arrested in that incident. He’s better known in Honolulu retail as one of the founders of Defend Hawai‘i, the popular street brand that featured an image of an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Another man indicted in “the Miske enterprise” is Dae Han Moon, serving time in Arizona for the 2016 Christmas night murder of Steven Feliciano at Ala Moana Center.

 

Another memorable Miske story connects to a stunning and unusual display that appeared in a city park in East Honolulu. Thousands of lights illuminated a tree at the water’s edge at Joe Lukela Beach Park in Hawai‘i Kai the year that Miske’s son died. The tree drew attention from community members and officials who questioned how the private memorial was permitted at a public park. Civil Beat reports revealed emails in which city staffers questioned how the after-the-fact approval happened through a process the staffers hadn’t known existed. Initially, Miske described the tree lights as a memorial to his son, then later said the lights were meant as a memorial for all those whose ashes have been scattered in Maunalua Bay. When the city questioned the lights and inquired about when they would be removed, a battle ensued and park officials said that Miske threatened both to keep putting up the lights and to cut down the tree.

 

While the federal records focus on allegations of crime, Miske also built business connections where his companies worked on prominent jobs. The termite company treated the city-owned Waikīkī Shell, Saint Louis School, as well as the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe. Public records showed his companies made several campaign contributions since 2018. And, when Miske was a part-owner of the M Nightclub, the venue attracted several campaign fundraisers to the Restaurant Row venue. The indictment also alleges the enterprise used chemical weapons attacks, throwing pesticide onto the dance floor of rival nightclubs.