Showing posts from April 4, 2016

Man Faces Life In Prison For Stealing $31 Worth Of Candy

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[Still no bank CEOs in jail. The corporatocracy and the police state: pumping a steady stream of the poor into the for-profit jail system. See also: STUDY: Nation's Largest Public Schools Have More Police Than Counselors. *RON*]

By Judd Legum, ThinkProgress, 3 April 2016

A New Orleans man could spend the rest of his life in jail after allegedly shoving “$31 worth of candy bars into his pockets at a Dollar General store.”

The man, 34-year-old Jacobia Grimes, is being charged by prosecutors under the state’s “habitual-offender law.”

Grimes has five prior convictions for theft. All of Grimes convictions “involved thefts of less than $500.” His last conviction was for stealing “some socks and trousers.”

Grimes appeared in court last week and pled not guilty. He faces a potential sentence of 20 years to life. He has already spent 9 years in jail for his previous convictions.

The decision to come down hard on Grimes met a skeptical audience from J…

Holy Hypocrites: The Prosperity Gospel and Why So Many Americans Think They're Blessed

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[The church meets the corporatocracy. The "Prosperity Gospel" sucks money out of the poor, making them feel that only their lack of faith stands in their way of success - and this can be solved if their donation is big enough. "Nigeria is now home to some of the wealthiest pastors on the planet—which, from the perspective of the prosperity gospel, is an accomplishment to be proud of." The video below is worth a look. *RON*]
By Joseph P. LaycockThe Conversation / AlterNet, 2 April 2016

The following first appeared on The Conversation:

Last month, my colleagues and I were moved by a beautiful and tragic New York Times editorial by Kate Bowler, a religion professor from Duke Divinity School who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Bowler recently wrote a book—Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel—that has been hailed as the first monograph tracing the history of the prosperity gospel in America. The prosperi…

Why Elites Want More Competition for Everyone Except Themselves

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[Interesting piece; the capital vs labor share part is weak. But is anti-competition driving income inequality? Hint: Yes. *RON*]

By Jonathan Rothwell, Evonomics, 2 April 2016
The spectacular economic rise of the top 1 percent is now common knowledge, thanks in large part to the work of Thomas Piketty and his collaborators. The top 1 percent of U.S. residents now earn 21 percent of total national income, up from 10 percent in 1979.

Curbing this inequality requires a clear understanding of its causes. Three of the standard explanations—capital shares, skills, and technology—are myths. The real cause of elite inequality is the lack of open access and market competition in elite investment and labor markets. To bring the elite down to size, we need to make them compete.

Myth 1: Capital vs. labor share

In his recent and otherwise valuable book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, not the Few, Robert Reich claims that the share of income going to workers ha…

The Lies of Neoliberal Economics (or How America Became a Nation of Sharecroppers)

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[This is an edited transcript of part two of Chris Hedge’s Days of Revolt interview with Michael Hudson. On Hudson's book, Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. Click here to read part one: The Great Ponzi Scheme of the Global Economy. *RON*]

by Michael Hudson – Chris Hedges, Counterpunch, 1 April 2016

CHRIS HEDGES: So, we spoke previously about the parasitic quality of the banks, hedge funds and the speculative class that has in essence cannibalized the country – including, interestingly, industry itself, and forced down the throats of the American public an unsustainable debt peonage, whether that’s through student loans, predatory credit card interest rates where it’s that bait and switch – where you get zero percent interest and next thing you know, you’re paying as high as 26 percent, 23 percent …

MICHAEL HUDSON: If you miss a payment.

HEDGES: If you miss a payment. Mortgages, with many house…

Fund run by David Cameron’s father avoided paying UK tax

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[Utterly incredible (not to mention two-faced) that David Cameron and family were also involved with Putin in this. Panama Papers reveal Ian Cameron hired Bahamas residents, including a part-time bishop, to keep offshore company exempt. Asked if there was still any family money invested in the fund, the prime minister’s spokeswoman said: "That is a private matter." See also: Panama Papers: Why should we care?, and Iceland’s prime minister walks out of interview over tax haven question – video.*RON*]

Juliette Garside, The Guardian, 4 April 2016

Global reaction to Panama Papers leak - live
The $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin
The hidden millions from Brink’s-Mat gold robbery
Explained: what are the Panama Papers?

David Cameron’s father ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork.

Ian Cameron wa…

Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin

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[Quite the eye-popper. A massive leak of documents shines new light on the fabulous fortunes of the Russian president’s inner circle. See also: Panama Papers: Huge leak alleges elites hiding money. *RON*]

Luke Harding, The Guardian, 4 April 2016

How to hide a billion dollars - video explainer
Putin’s best friend: the cellist who holds the key to his fortune
Iceland’s PM faces snap election over revelations
What are the Panama Papers?
Panama Papers: global reaction – live

A network of secret offshore deals and vast loans worth $2bn has laid a trail to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

An unprecedented leak of documents shows how this money has made members of Putin’s close circle fabulously wealthy.

Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage.

The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefite…