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Showing posts from April 29, 2016

Former Tax Lobbyists Are Writing the Rules on Tax Dodging

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[The foxes run the chicken coop. Former tax lobbyists sit as staffers on both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, and will help define any US effort to 'crack down on tax dodgers.' Why should this be a surprise in a government run by Goldman Sachs? See also: Inequality Will Increase Until There’s a Revolution. *RON*]
By Lee Fang, The Intercept, 27 April 16

The secret tax-dodging strategies of the global elite in China, Russia, Brazil, the U.K., and beyond were exposed in speculator fashion by the recent Panama Papers investigation, fueling a worldwide demand for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

But there is little appetite in Congress for taking on powerful tax dodgers in the U.S., where the practice has become commonplace.

A request for comment about the Panama Papers to the two congressional committees charged with tax policy — House Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee — was ignored.

The reluct…

The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover

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[More than anything this shows how high feelings are running around a Brexit (=a British Exit from the European Union). It's understandable that the US whole-heartedly supported a united Europe in the face of active USSR expansion of its sphere of influence after World War II. How does this mean the EU "always was a CIA project?" This sounds a lot like old de Gaulle-style jingoistic blather. And to keep pressing on Obama and the Mau-Mau rebellion - puh-lease! *RON*]

Ambrose Evans-Pritchart, The Telegraph, 27 April 2016

Brexiteers should have been prepared for the shattering intervention of the US. The European Union always was an American project.

It was Washington that drove European integration in the late 1940s, and funded it covertly under the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.

The Writing Is On The Wall For Alberta's Obsolete Oil Industry

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["Would Premier Notley kindly explain to me how building pipelines to increase the production and the consumption of petroleum can possibly reduce the production of GHG?" *RON*]
Gerard Montpetit, Huffington Post, 28 April 2016


On the French network of the CBC, Premier Rachel Notley is reportedly adamant that a post-carbon Canada can only be achieved through the building of pipelines. She claims that the revenues from petroleum are necessary to finance the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG). Furthermore she scolds people who disagree with her because they are like "une bande de village" -- in other words, country bumpkins.

Would Premier Notley kindly explain to me how building pipelines to increase the production and the consumption of petroleum can possibly reduce the production of GHG? To my mind, this intrinsic contradiction simply does not add up.

I can understand that Alberta faces economic hardships; Prime Minister Justin T…

Socialize the Banks

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[Banking and the public good. Germany and France already have a mix of public and private banks. Postal banks used to be a common thing. And, of course, there are also credit unions. As usual, things we believe to be impossible have already been done elsewhere without difficulty. *RON*]

By Nuno Teles, Jacobin, reposted in Reader Supported News, 27 April 16

Breaking up the banks won’t do. They should be publicly owned and democratically controlled.

Nine years after the onset of the international financial crisis, its effects are still with us.

These days observers worry about banks — European institutions like Germany’s Deutsche Bank, France’s Societé Generale, and Italy’s Monte di Pascoale, not to mention the zombie banks that populate the austerity-ridden eurozone periphery in Greece, Portugal, and Spain. These big banks are widely seen as global capitalism’s next weak link, capable of causing massive financial instability if they go bust.

Such…

A majority of millennials now reject capitalism, poll shows

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[Between this poll and millennials' rush of support for Bernie Sanders, some kind of generational change is afoot. *RON*]

By Max Ehrenfreund, Washington Post Blog, 26 April 2016 
In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism.

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn't clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

The results of the survey are difficult to interpret, pollsters noted. Capitalism can mean different things to different people, and the newest generation of voters is frustrated with the status quo, broadly speaking.

All the same, that a majority of respo…

What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?

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[The idea of the basic minimum income is catching on, with several experiments being launched or contemplated around the world. This provides an excellent detailed overview. *RON*]

By Andrew Flowers, FiveThirtyEight, not dated.

Daniel Straub remembers the night he got hooked on basic income. He had invited Götz Werner, a billionaire owner of a German drugstore chain, to give an independent talk in Zurich, where Straub was working as a project manager for a think tank. He had read an article about the radical proposal to unconditionally guarantee citizens an income and spent a few years casually researching the idea. Straub had heard Werner was a good speaker on the topic, and that night in 2009 he was indeed excellent at connecting with the audience, a sold-out house of 200. “It was a very intense evening; people were paying attention,” Straub recalled.