TLP: Swiss Vote Down Lawyers for Animals, Mostly OK With Funny Money
Ah, Switzerland! Mountains, chocolate, banks, Needle Park ...
The Lazy Paperboy has done some traveling around Switzerland and, except for Basel, finds it to be pretty cold and sterile. Maybe that's the way they like it.
Swiss voters and banking officials seem to be not in the mood to be fucked with these days. Over the weekend, the Swiss rejected a proposal that would required the appointment of lawyers to represent animals in abuse cases. And the legendary banking secrecy laws are still firmly in place; just as long as nobody deposits untaxed money. Ahem.
The Telegraph watched the voting:
The Alpine country already has among the most stringent animal rights laws in the world.
It recently changed its constitution to protect the "dignity" of plant life and made a law last year establishing rights for creatures such as goldfish and canaries. Pigs, budgies and other social creatures cannot be kept alone; horses and cows must be regularly exercised outside their stalls and dog owners are required to take a training course to learn how to properly care for their pets.
If citizens had voted for the initiative, each canton would have appointed a lawyer to act on behalf of animals at taxpayers' expense.
The government, parliament and the country's biggest party, the Right-wing Swiss People's Party, were against the proposal. ... Opponents also included farmers, already struggling with reduced subsidies and falling milk prices. Many feared the introduction of animal lawyers would lead to costly and unnecessary bureaucracy.
Voted down 70-30 ... so much for that. More important things to worry about, as the Swiss Federal Council pointed out, announcing a week ago that "undeclared, untaxed funds from overseas" are no longer welcome.
From The Sovereign Society:
The council said it will act to “regularize untaxed assets” in Swiss banks and keep out new, untaxed cash known as “Schwarzgeld” or black money…
Saying that the “integrity and stability” of one of the world’s leading offshore financial centers were crucial factors, Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz added, “We are not interested in untaxed money”. (My, my, how times have changed!)
Poking at the secret banks like a sturdy Swiss Army knife has been the IRS, which probed UBS in an effort to find tax evaders.
The federal investigation into UBS, which led to a $780 million fine and an agreement to turn over the names of more than 4,450 suspected tax cheats, is now in tatters after Swiss courts ruled against the executive-branch deal. To get around it, a special law has been proposed to accomplish the handoff, but that may not get anywhere in the legislature either. One outcome is already known: tax evasion had become a key service of the Swiss economy, not some isolated event.
Maybe they should just put it to a vote.