Like everyone, I would love to live in a pollution-free world. I would love to see human civilization strike a balance with nature and at the risk of sounding like a naïve idealist, I sincerely do believe that this is ultimately our destiny as a species.Continue reading The Davos’ “Great Reset” Fraud & the Great War that We Must Fight
Hanne Herland of the European Herland Report has just had her book published in which she argues that the ruling elite has resurrected feudalism by financializing the economy and offshoring middle class jobs. The title is New Left Tyranny, but it is about gangster state capitalism.Continue reading Behold: Gangster State Capitalism
While the world condemns China for its response to the Hong Kong protests, the numbers and the images make clear that the US has responded to its popular uprising with more force and less tolerance than Beijing.Continue reading US Arrests Now Higher Than Hong Kong Protest Total Figures
With all the protests and anger and violence across the country, a justified discussion about policing has begun on our corporate media airwaves. (I would say the discussion is overdue, but in fact, we’ve had it roughly every three years for the past 40 years.) However, despite all the coverage, a deeper debate sits ignored – A debate about why our American police system exists at all, how it works (or doesn’t), and where it came from.Continue reading 19 Facts About American Policing That Will Blow Your Mind
Police all over the world commonly use plants and undercover cops to undermine protests.Continue reading Police at Protests All Over the Country Caught Destroying Property
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), happily amplified by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the United States which carries its World News, continues to pump out its regular dreck about the alleged economic chaos in Russia and the imagined miserable state of the Russian people.Continue reading How the British Empire Created and Killed George Orwell
The inept reactions of European governments to Covid-19 were dictated by former advisers to Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush. Contrary to public rhetoric, they make no medical claims. Far from responding to the reality of the epidemic, they aim to transform European societies in order to integrate them into their political and financial project.Continue reading Global Political Project Imposed on the Occasion of Covid-19
In recent years, the press reports of racist young whites attracted to far-right persuasions including flirting with fascism. But are they the cause or the consequence?Continue reading America’s Fascism Problem Runs Much Deeper Than Trump
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” — Johann Wolfgang Von GoetheContinue reading Sheep Always Seem to Lose Their Wool
Here, in this reposted column from Jan. 7, 2019, are his thoughts about the then-nascent presidential election campaign.
It is January 2019. This signals the start of the 2020 election circus. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the first big-name Democrat on stage. But we will soon be deluged with candidates, bizarre antics and endless commentary by fatuous TV and radio pundits.
The hyperventilating, the constant polling, the updates on who has the largest campaign war chest, the hypothetical matches between this hopeful and that hopeful, the mocking tweets by Donald Trump, will, as we saw in the 2016 election campaign, have as much relevance to our lives and political future as the speculation on cable sports channels about next year’s football season. This farce takes the place of genuine political life.
It costs a lot of money to mount this spectacle. Our corporate masters, like the oligarchic rulers of ancient Rome who poured money into the arena as they stripped the empire and its citizens of their assets, are happy to oblige.
The campaign sustains the fiction of a democracy and gives legitimacy to the corporate state. Maybe Hillary Clinton, who raised $1 billion in her 2016 run for president, will return for another season, although the Bill and Hillary tour is now a debacle with empty seats and slashed ticket prices.
Maybe Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will make comebacks. And what about the new faces in the scramble for the presidency—Beto O’Rourke, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg?
It is a political version of the reality television show “Survivor.” Who will be the first knocked out? Who will make it into the semifinals and the finals? Who is the most devious and cunning? Who will come out on top?
We get to vote for the contestants that appeal to us most, or at least vote against those we hate the most. The cable news shows, in a prelude to the nonstop idiocy to come, have spent the last few days speculating about whom Mitt Romney will endorse in the 2020 race. Now there’s a burning question of national importance.
To take power in 2021 in lieu of any real policy changes, the Democratic Party is banking on the deep animus toward President Trump. It has no intention of instituting genuine populist programs, rebuilding unions, funding universal health care, providing free college tuition or curbing the criminal activities of the corporations and the big banks.
The war machine will continue to wage endless war and consume half of all discretionary spending. The vaunted new populist members of Congress will be no more than window dressing, trotted out, like Sanders, to trick voters into thinking the Democratic Party is capable of reform. Most voters, for this reason, are “voting out of loathing, against enemies and against the system in general, not really for anybody,” as journalist Matt Taibbi points out.
Working men and women especially despise the slick-talking politicians—including the Clintons and Barack Obama—and the “experts” and well-groomed pundits on their screens who sold them the con that deindustrialization, deregulation, austerity, bailing out the banks, nearly two decades of constant war, the exporting of jobs overseas, tax cuts for the rich and the impoverishment of the working class were forms of progress.
Trump hangs on to the support of white working Americans because he expresses through his adolescent insults and dynamiting of political norms the legitimate hatred they feel toward the well-heeled, college-educated ruling elites who sold them out. The Democrats, at the same time, understand that it takes someone as revolting as Trump to fire up their lethargic base, a group in which millions do not vote. They cling to a tactic of “anybody but Trump” even though it did not work in 2016.
The corporate media ignores issues and policies, since there is little genuine disagreement among the candidates, and presents the race as a beauty contest. The fundamental question the press asks is not what do the candidates stand for but whom do the voters like. As for now, Warren—the only nationally known Democrat except Julian Castro to form an exploratory committee for a presidential bid—is not winning this popularity contest.
A CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll—yes, polling in Iowa already has begun—puts her fourth, with only 8 percent of support among the Democrats surveyed, behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke.
Our corporate rulers do not need to denounce democracy. Democratic laws, such as who can fund campaigns, have been subverted from within, their original purposes redefined by the courts and legislative bodies to serve corporate power. This managed democracy has transformed elections from the simple, straightforward process of voting for a party platform or party positions to vast, choreographed theatrical productions.
Politicians run on “moral” issues and use public relations experts to create manufactured personalities. Trump, his image constructed by a reality television show, proved more adept than his rivals at playing this game the last time around.
Politicians must stick to the script. They have well-defined roles. They express a suffocating, reality-defying positivism about the future of America. They are steadfast in their obsequious praise of the nation’s “heroes” in the military and law enforcement. They are silent about the crimes of empire.
They ignore the plight of the poor; indeed the word “poor” is banished from their vocabulary. They pretend we do not live in a corporate oligarchy, although they acknowledge amorphous attacks on the middle class and promise to stem the assault.
They exude a cloying feel-your-pain compassion that revolves around personal stories of the hardships they overcame in their own lives to become “successes”—the most ludicrous being Trump’s claim that he turned a “very small” loan from his father into a multibillion-dollar real estate empire.
They telegraph to us that they are one of us. We can be like them. They trot out their wives, husbands and children, even when a spouse like Melania Trump looks as if she has been taken hostage, to portray themselves as family men and women.
They claim they are outsiders, ignoring their long political careers and their status as members of the wealthy ruling elite. They are no different from the array of self-help gurus who ignore systemic injustice and social decay to peddle schemes for personal success. The formula is universal. It is the triumph of artifice, what Benjamin DeMott called “junk politics.”
Those who do not play this game, like Ralph Nader, or who like Sanders play it begrudgingly—Sanders refused corporate money, has called for reforming “the bloated and wasteful $716 billion annual Pentagon budget” and addresses issues of class—are ridiculed and marginalized by a monochromatic corporate media that banishes qualification, ambiguity, nuance and genuine dialogue.
Trump’s success as a candidate came, in large part, because of the constant media attention he received. Those like Sanders who attempt to defy the rules of the game are punished. The goal is entertainment. Politicians who are good entertainers do well. The poor entertainers do badly.
The networks seek to attract viewers and increase profits, not disseminate information about political issues. Voters have little or no say in who decides to run, who gets funded, how campaigns are managed, what television ads say, which candidates get covered by the press or who gets invited to presidential debates. They are spectators, pawns used to legitimize political farce.
“At issue is more than crude bribery,” the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes in “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Spector of Inverted Totalitarianism.” “Campaign contributions are a vital tool of political management. They create a pecking order that calibrates, in strictly quantitative and objective terms, whose interests have priority.
The amount of corruption that regularly takes place before elections means that corruption is not an anomaly but an essential element in the functioning of managed democracy. The entrenched system of bribery and corruption involves no physical violence, no brown-shirted storm troopers, no coercion of the political opposition.
While the tactics are not those of the Nazis, the end result is the inverted equivalent. Opposition has not been liquidated but rendered feckless.”
This process, Wolin writes, has turned the electorate into “a hybrid creation, part cinematic and part consumer. Like a movie or TV audience, it would be credulous, nurtured on the unreality of images on the screen, the impossible feats and situations depicted, or the promise of personal transformation by a new product. In this the elites were abetted by the long-standing American tradition of dramatic evangelism and its fostering of collective fervor and popular fantasies of the miraculous.
It was no leap of faith from the camp meetings of the nineteenth century and the Billy Sundays of the twentieth century to the politically savvy televangelist of the twenty-first century.”
The corporations that own the media and the two major political parties have a vested interest in making sure there is never serious public discussion about issues ranging from our disastrous for-profit health care system and endless wars to the virtual tax boycott that large corporations have legalized. The corporate system is presented as sacrosanct and the ruling ideology of neoliberalism as natural law. The corporations are funding the show. They get what they pay for.
Sanders, it appears, will run again as a Democrat, despite the theft of the 2016 nomination by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party hierarchy. His next campaign, to quote Samuel Johnson, will be the triumph of hope over experience. The Democratic establishment and the media sharks will, if Sanders uses the old playbook, devour him. They have already severely diminished his stature by turning him into Clinton and Chuck Schumer’s barking seal.
The differences between the right-wing media and the liberal media are minuscule. As Taibbi writes in “Insane Clown President: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus,” they are “really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism.
The ideal CNN story is a baby down a well, while the ideal Fox story is probably a baby thrown down a well by a Muslim terrorist or an ACORN activist. Both companies offer the same service, it’s just that the Fox version is a little kinkier.”
“Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they’re about money,” Taibbi writes. “The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates’ charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching banks, those people have concrete needs. They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, anti-trust waivers and dozens of other things.”
“They mostly don’t care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It’s about the money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation. They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population.
The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything. They get everything from the Republicans because you don’t have to make a single concession to a Republican voter. All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants down or Mexican babies at an emergency room.”
The Republican strategy of playing to the lowest common denominator ensured that eventually the useful idiots would take over and elect one of their own, in Donald Trump. Trump is the epitome of the human mutation produced by an illiterate, dumbed-down age of electronic images. He, like tens of millions of other Americans, believes anything he sees on television. He does not read. He is consumed by vanity and the cult of the self. He is a conspiracy theorist.
He blames America’s complex social and economic ills on scapegoats such as Mexican immigrants and Muslims, and of course the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, in turn, blames Trump’s election on Russia and former FBI Director James Comey. It is the theater of the absurd.
The childish gibberish Trump speaks is the new language of political discourse. His taunting tweets against his enemies are countered by his enemies with taunting tweets against him. These grade-school-level insults dominate the daily news cycle. The political process, captured by commercial interests, devolved to Trump’s imbecilic level. The presidential election of 2020 has begun. The circus, with its freaks, con artists and clowns, is open for business.
Mr. Fish, also known as Dwayne Booth, is a cartoonist who primarily creates for Truthdig.com and Harpers.com. Mr. Fish’s work has also appeared nationally in The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, Vanity…
There is a component of the Western Deep State in every corner of the world, just like there’s a US military base in most of them. In Philippines’ case, it has them all, i.e. military bases in spite of the non-extension of the 1947 Military Bases Agreement in 1991, oligarchy controlling what were once government owned corporation or public utilities, and of course, the age-old Jesuit mind control infrastructures e.g. universities, and churches.Continue reading Duterte Plays Hard Ball vs Local Oligarchs and US Deep State
If Gates represents a net negative force in world politics, why does he receive such good press? For starters, he makes sizeable donations to a host of mainstream corporate media outlets.Continue reading The Faux Generosity of the Super-Wealthy: Why Bill Gates is a Menace to Society
Fascism is a political ideology fundamentally authoritarian in character, with a strong nationalism and an essentially belligerent militaristic outlook. Fascism carries primarily a corporate perspective as opposed to a socialist view, directed to satisfying the needs, values and objectives of finance and corporations, organising both the economy and the political system according to this agenda.Continue reading The Short Road: Democracy to Fascism
The last combined debt figure was $200+ trillion. Now, a new Wall Street report says it’s actually 2000% of US GDP. Yet, the US government still has maintained its $750 billion annual Pentagon budget. How can the Americans tolerate that?Continue reading Actual US Debt May Be $400 Trillion, or 20 Times GDP | Wall Street Report
America is controlled only by its wealthiest, and they are solidly in control of both political Parties. However, now that they are in control, they are fighting bitterly amongst one-another. They are on two sides. Continue reading The Civil War Now in America
Regime changes in Iraq and Libya, Syria’s war, Venezuela’s crisis, sanctions on Cuba, Iran, Russia, and North Korea are all reflections of a new global imperialism imposed by a core of capitalist nations in support of trillions of dollars of concentrated investment wealth. This new world order of mass capital has become a totalitarian empire of inequality and repression. Continue reading Concentration of Wealth is Driving a New Global Imperialism
“America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.
Continue reading America is a Socialist Country… for the Rich
Every year some US soldiers decide they don’t want to shoot people they don’t know so that ExxonMobil can have more oil or Lockheed Martin can make more cash or MSNBC/Fox News can give their hosts topics for their poetry books. Continue reading The Silver Bullet to Stop the Corporate State Pillage
The perpetual politically correct Deep State stooge Emmanuel Macron has been recently exposed to its brutality. In a scathing video gathered around during the weeks of Yellow Vests protest, the corporate police force has been hitting hard on protestors notwithstanding those aged one who braved the winter cold for economic respite and the future of freedom in the country. Continue reading Macron's Brutal Fascist Regime Exposed!
It is common knowledge that Theresa May’s husband Philip essentially acts as the unofficial advisor to the Prime Minister – a fact proven by the former Conservative MP for Chichester, Andrew Tyrie, who said during a Newsnight profile of the PM’s husband that “Philip is clearly acting as, informally, an advisor to Theresa. Probably much like Denis did to Margaret Thatcher.” Continue reading Theresa May’s Husband’s Firm made a “Financial Killing” from Syria Bombing
The Russian crypto-currency is in its final stretch towards national implementation as the draft law is submitted to the Russian parliament. Continue reading CryptoRuble is Set to Prick on the CryptoBubble
The inaugural World Inequality Report published on Thursday by economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, Facundo Alvaredo and Lucas Chancel documents the rise in global income and wealth inequality since 1980. Continue reading Richest 1% Capture Twice as Much Income Growth as the Bottom Half
Who avoids the most tax and what does that mean for inequality?
These were the questions asked by two National Bureau of Economic Research working papers submitted this month (Tax Evasion and Inequality and Who Owns the Wealth in Tax Havens?). Both papers are available publicly here.
The research was based on a variety of data, including ICIJ’s Swiss Leaks and Panama Papers investigations, and prove for interesting reading. Here are seven highlights from the reports.
- The ultra-rich avoid the most tax
The ultra-rich, people whose net worth is more than $45 million, are ten times more likely to evade taxes than the average citizen, according to the research.
That means the ultra-rich have worked out how to avoid paying about 30 percent of their personal income and wealth taxes.
And it probably doesn’t stop there, with the authors suggesting that “evasion among the wealthy may be even higher” because their research was based on Scandinavian countries where social trust is high, corruption low and respect for the rule of law strong.
The research also found that offshore wealth increases the “top 0.1 percent wealth share from 8 percent to 10 percent” when looking at Norway specifically. And for top 0.01 percent “taking tax evasion into account increases their wealth by a third.”
- The ultra-rich are more likely to use offshore accounts
The likelihood of Scandinavians in the bottom 99 per cent of wealth share hiding their assets in HSBC accounts was “negligible,” according to research based on ICIJ’s Swiss Leaks.
But the probability rises to 1 percent among the richest 0.01 percent.
This chart shows the probability of owning an unreported HSBC account by wealth groups. (The first group [P90-P95] represents households worth less than $900,000 and the last the top 0.01 percent who are worth $44.5 million.)
“The gradient is notable too: top 0.01 percent households are 13 times more likely to hide assets at HSBC than households in the bottom half of the top 1 percent,” they wrote.
- Hardly anyone except the ultra-rich use offshore accounts
The use of offshore accounts “steeply rises with wealth,” according to research based on ICIJ’s Panama Papers.
This charts shows the probability of owning a Mossack Fonseca offshore shell company significantly increased for the top 0.01 percent of Norway and Sweden’s population.
“The use of tax havens appears more concentrated in the Panama Papers than in the HSBC leak,” the authors wrote.
The researchers also suggested one reason very few households outside the 0.01 percent in the Panama Papers used shell companies to conceal wealth is because it is a “more sophisticated” strategy than owning offshore bank accounts.
“Both techniques are often combined, but the wealthiest tax evaders might be more likely to combine offshore accounts with shell companies, when less wealthy tax evaders may be relatively more likely to own offshore accounts directly in their own names.”
- Tax havens hold 10 percent of global GDP
In the second study, the authors analyzed the global amount of wealth in tax havens.
“We find that while about 10 percent of world GDP is held in tax havens globally, this average masks a great deal of heterogeneity.”
For example, Russia (60 percent), Europe (15 percent) and other nations hold a significant chunk of their GDP offshore, whereas Scandinavian countries own just a few percent of GDP.
- Offshore wealth is shifting from Switzerland to Asia
The research found the size of this wealth was “not easily explained by tax or institutional factors” but instead correlated more closely with a country’s proximity to Switzerland, the presence of natural resources and political/economic instability.
However, the times might be changing, with the research also discovering wealth was growing in tax havens based in Asia – and mainly in Hong Kong – with offshore accounts held in Switzerland declining since the 2008 financial crisis.
The authors predicted offshore assets in Hong Kong have grown six-fold between 2007 and 2015 with the country now ranked second behind Switzerland for tax havens.
- Countries with more offshore wealth also use more tax havens
The next chart shows the number of unique owners of shell companies created by Mossack Fonseca in each country before 2006 and active in 2007, using Panama Papers data.
“There are strong similarities between the amount of offshore wealth we estimate and the use of tax havens as revealed by the Panama Papers,” the authors said.
Russia is one such country with a total of 2071 unique shells. The authors also highlighted that China is over-represented in the data given estimates of how much Chinese wealth is offshore. They suggest this could be because estimates of China’s offshore wealth are low, or that Chinese use shell companies for purposes other than concealing wealth.
- Offshore wealth can substantially increase inequality
So what does that all mean for equality?
Including offshore assets generally increased the 0.01 percent’s wealth share substantially (even in the law abiding Scandinavian countries).
The effect in some countries is much worse than others. In the United Kingdom, Spain and France offshores assets accounted for between 30 to 40 percent of the 0.01 percent’s wealth. In Scandinavia, however, their share of wealth only increases by about 1 percent.
Read more about the impact from ICIJ’s investigations, and find out how you can support ICIJ’s work
On a scale not seen since the ‘great’ world depression of the 1930’s, the US political system is experiencing sharp political attacks, divisions and power grabs. Executive firings, congressional investigations, demands for impeachment, witch hunts, threats of imprisonment for ‘contempt of Congress’ and naked power struggles have shredded the façade of political unity and consensus among competing powerful US oligarchs. Continue reading Intra-elite Warfare: Oligarchs Succeed, Only the People Suffer!
Capitalism is at the precipice of what it is capable of, and what is possible with it. Nevertheless, its proponents are perpetually swearing that it spurred tremendous development, yet we also know that it is the cause of so much industrial waste, and environmental destruction. Continue reading Moving Beyond Concentrated State Power
US ruling power is in deep trouble because there are growing signs that the mass of citizens are no longer beholden to the supposed authority residing in Washington. Continue reading US Deep State in Deep Trouble
Call it by any other fancy names, but Corporate Tyranny continue to be exposed for what it truly is, worldwide. Behind it all are big bankers and financial assassins, willing to send taxpayer-funded armed mercenaries into countries unwilling to participate in their self-immolation.
One of the most notable financial assassins is the dying George Soros.
Continue reading George Soros’ World is Falling Apart, Blames Everyone but Himself
At just about the same time that the mainstream media started crying foul about “fake news” websites responsible for the multiple defeats of their favorite politicians, and the US Congress passage of the House Bill 6393, otherwise known as anti-Russian propaganda,
… multiple web giants “YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft” are stepping up “efforts to remove extremist content from their websites by creating a common database.
Continue reading YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Microsoft Removing “extremist content” in 2017
The International Criminal Court has been used by real criminals to remove uncooperative leaders around the globe. Russia is leaving the fold. More African countries are leaving, too.
The Old World Order continues to crumble…
Continue reading Russia, 3rd Country to Pull Out From Int'l Criminal Court in 2 Months | Global Reset
The Zionists control the electoral system of the United States, on top of their complete assimilation of the big media networks.
With today’s recapitulation of the FBI under Comey, there’s no stopping to the Clinton Campaign from capturing the White House, sans punitive actions from the true patriots of the land.
Continue reading US in Chaos Worse than Libya, Somalia | Iranian Military