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Showing posts from October 14, 2016

Panama: The Hidden Trillions

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[The information is still far from transparent. And, the US wants tax havens to be exposed everywhere except within the US. See also: Switzerland Seen Backing Down on Supporting Tax Haven USA. *RON*]

Alan Rusbridger, New York Review of Books, OCTOBER 27, 2016 ISSUE
The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money by Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier. Oneworld, 366 pp., $17.99 (paper)
Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens, by Nicholas Shaxson. St. Martin’s Griffin, 264 pp., $18.99 (paper)
The Offshore World: Sovereign Markets, Virtual Places, and Nomad Millionaires, by Ronen Palan. Cornell University Press, 225 pp., $73.95; $23.95 (paper)
The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, by Gabriel Zucman, translated from the French by Teresa Lavender Fagan, with a foreword by Thomas Piketty. University of Chicago Press, 129 pp., $20.00
The Great Tax Robbery: How Brit…

How U.S. Torture Left a Legacy of Damaged Minds

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[The permanent psychological damage of totalitarian brutalization, including victims of mistaken identity or people arrested on flimsy evidence that the US later disavowed. *RON*]
Matt Apuzzo & Sheri Fink, New York Times / Asharq Al-Awsat, 10 October 2016
Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one crucial outcome. They knew that the methods inflicted on terrorism suspects would be painful, shocking and far beyond what the country had ever accepted. But none of it, they concluded, would cause long lasting psychological harm.

Fifteen years later, it is clear they were wrong.

Today in Slovakia, Hussein al-Marfadi describes permanent headaches and disturbed sleep, plagued by memories of dogs inside a blackened jail. In Kazakhstan, Lutfi bin Ali is haunted by nightmares of suffocating at the bottom of a well. In Libya, the radio from a passin…

In 33 US states it costs more to send your kid to childcare than college

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["Overall, across the country, childcare now costs $9,589 a year on average, compared with $9,410 for in-state college tuition." Working at $7.50/hr you make $13,500 per year. *RON*]
Tanza Loudenback, Business Insider, 12 October 2016

In America today, 65% of children under age 6 have two working parents — more than double the number since 1970.

For families across the country, childcare is a necessity — and financial burden — like never before.

The Care Index, a new report from think tank New America,Care.com, and others, details the three "pillars" of childcare — cost, quality, and availability— and the variances across state lines.

Among its findings, the report revealed that in 33 US states, the average cost of full-time, in-center care for one child under age 4 has eclipsed that of in-state public college tuition. Overall, across the country, childcare now costs $9,589 a year on average, compared with $9,410 for in-state col…

Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip Makes Counterfactual Arguments to Defend Bloated Banking Industry

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[An excellent, scathing piece on banksters. "Banks enjoy such extensive subsidies that they should not be regarded as private institutions... The cost of periodic financial crises is so great that the banking industry is value-destoying to society."*RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 13 October 2016

Greg Ip clearly spends too much time with bankers.

In his new article, Future of Banking Looks Dark—Why That’s a Problem, he’s issued a big lament in the Wall Street Journal about why it’s so terrible that banking isn’t all that profitable these days and the result is the industry will need to shrink.

As we have been saying for years, we need a smaller banking industry. It would have been vastly better, in the wake of the crisis, to have done that much faster by writing down bad debts, in particular, giving viable mortgage borrowers who were in trouble principal modifications, and offset the impact of the losses with fiscal stimulus. The proxi…

Almost Nobody Is Satisfied With Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s Overdue Departure

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["As I said: @WellsFargo CEO Stumpf should resign, return every nickel he made during the scam, & face DOJ/SEC investigation. He’s 1 for 3. — Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 12, 2016" Also: The Wells Fargo scandal is far from over. *RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 13 October 2016

As was widely anticipated, Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf resigned yesterday. The bank presented the departure as voluntary, and if so, that speaks volumes about the complacency of the board in the face of an ongoing scandal that has already taken 20% off the market capitalization of the San Francisco bank. The forcing event appears to have been that Wells’ quarterly investor conference call is scheduled for Friday. Having a new CEO sell the story that Wells was putting the scandal behind it would clearly be more credible than having Stumpf peddle that pitch. Mr. Market seemed to agree, since Wells’ shares traded up 2% when the S&P 5…

West is playing with nuclear war

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[WWIII talk continues to escalate. "Speaking to BBC radio’s Today programme ahead of the debate, [Conservative MP Andrew] Mitchell said, 'What we are saying is very clear. No one wants to see a firefight with Russia, no one wants to shoot down a Russian plane.' The shooting down of the warplanes of the world’s second nuclear power is precisely what Mitchell is advocating." See also: Oops!—A World War!Russia, Syria and the UK SITREP October 12, 2016 by AuslanderGerman Foreign Minister and Former MI6 Boss: US-Russia Tensions Now More Dangerous than During the Cold War. And, a good piece from Der Spiegel: How Syria Became the New Global War. *RON*]

By Robert Stevens, Defend Democracy Press, 12 October 2016

Britain’s ruling elite are making advanced preparations towards a major escalation of military operations in Syria.

Parliament met in an emergency three-hour session yesterday to accuse Russia of war crimes in Syria and lay …

Cause and Volume of Pipeline Spill in Alberta Wetland Still Unknown Six Days In

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[Did you happen to see this on the front page of any national newspaper? No? Oh really. Oil companies consistently underestimate the size of oil spills in remote areas. "An incident report on the Alberta Energy Regulator's website claims 'there have been no reported impacts to wildlife' from the Trilogy pipeline release, although a spokesperson told the Edmonton Journal that response crews found two dead birds at the spill site as well as impacted beaver lodges." *RON*]

By Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Blog, 12 October 2016


A crude oil pipeline operated by Trilogy Energy Corp has released an unknown volume of oil emulsion, a mixture of oil and produced water, into surrounding marshland, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Trilogy employees conducting a right-of-way inspection on the pipeline, located at the company’s Kaybob Montney oil project near Fox Creek, Alberta, discovered the spill on October 6.

Both the cause and volume …