In the December 2016 Tax Justice Network monthly podcast, the Taxcast: In trusts we trust? We look at the new game in town: beneficial ownership avoidance, the booming industry in alternative escape vehicles from public registers and why we must shine the spotlight on all of them. Plus: we discuss two big stories we think will define 2017: the race to the bottom between nations on tax aka a transfer of wealth to the corporate community, and how the world’s biggest havens are increasingly having to account for the devastating effect their tax and/or financial secrecy policies are having on human rights around the world… (more…)
The theme this week is collapse. It’s a big, complex topic because there are as many types of collapse as there are systems. Some systems appear stable on the surface but collapse suddenly; others visibly decay for decades before finally slipping beneath the waves of history, and some go through stages of collapse.
The taxonomy of collapse is broad, and each unsustainable system (i.e. a system that will fail despite claims to the contrary) has its unique characteristics.
Which brings us to Greece.
Tagged with: bankruptcy
, financial Aristocracy
, Neocolonial-Financialization Model
This is probably one of the most important posts I’ll write all year. The reason is because in order to displace the current paradigm, the public needs to deeply and intellectually understand exactly where the real cancer resides.
I never liked the saying: “We are the 99%.” While admittedly catchy and effective as a slogan, I think it is ultimately divisive and counterproductive. The reason I say this is because the statement itself alienates much needed allies for no good reason.
In a country with a population of 320 million, the 1% represents 3.2 million people, which is a pretty big number. While the 1% certainly have far superior material lives compared to the 99%, that doesn’t mean a particularly large percentage of them are thieves, cronies or oligarchs. In fact, it behooves people interested in transitioning to another paradigm to court as many of them as possible to the cause.
Read the rest here.
Within the anti-establishment world in which I proudly reside, many people look for simplistic narratives. Ironically, these narratives are often as silly and narrow-minded as those who pledge allegiance to the fraudulent Republican or Democratic parties. For some, it’s the Jews. If you don’t think the Jews run the world and are the root of all evil, you must be a CIA shill or “working for them.” For others, it’s the Arabs or Muslims, and so on and so forth. Another bizarre obsession is this notion that a small group of families hiding in the shadows hold all the real money and power on earth, and that these are the ones actually ordering the billionaires around. The family most often named as the kingpins of this pyramid are the Rothschilds…
Read more here.
Once one oligarchy falls, it will threaten to topple a long line of oligarch dominoes.
A great many narratives invoking Greece are being tossed around, but only one really encapsulates the unvarnished truth: the Oligarchs blew it. The oligarchs in both Greece and the European Union/ECB had the opportunity a few years ago to trade some of their outsized wealth and political power for stability and sustainable expansion.
Instead, they chose to not just cling to every shred of their outsized wealth and power but to actively increase it. Their greed and hubris has now put their entire system of parasitic wealth extraction at risk of collapse. Their political stranglehold on power has been weakened, and there’s no going back: they blew it, and now it’s too late. The debt-serfs have finally had enough.
Tagged with: greece
Here’s my proposed change to the words on the base of the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your corrupt, your crony, your oligarch masses yearning to launder money free,
The criminal masterminds of your destroyed environment and police state.
Send these, the pampered, the private jet setter to me, I open my hands to your golden yuan.
Read why and see the video here.
One attribute I like most about Glenn Greenwald is that he never pulls punches. One of his most prescient and cutting political lines came earlier this year when he made some observations on the upcoming 2016 Presidential election, in which two status quo, corrupt, bloodthirsty con-artists will compete for the Oval Office. While we don’t yet know which crony the GOP will put up, Hilary is pretty much a foregone conclusion for the Democrats. Greenwald observed…
Read the rest here.
In some California communities, 90% of real estate buyers are from China. Yes, 90%. Naturally, many of them are buying multi-million dollar homes in “all cash” transactions.
Well it appears that one of those communities is the 57,000 person Los Angeles suburb known as Arcadia. The suburb had a relatively insignificant Asian population of 4% in 1980, but it is now 59%. Of course, I could care less what the ethnic mix of any particular suburb is, but what does concern me is that a lot of the recent money coming in seems to be from questionable characters. The buyers are getting access to U.S. real estate via the EB-5 visa program, and of the 10,000 of these given away this year, 85% went to the Chinese. Oh, and it’s estimated some 20% of these home sit vacant. A great use of resources…
Read the rest here.
Bill Curry’s article published this past Sunday by Salon is simply extraordinary. One of the things I’ve felt has been lacking in America for some time is the ability for well-meaning people within the “power structure” to look inward and be honest with themselves about the immoral decay fellow members of their socio-economic class have wrought upon the nation via a singleminded pursuit of wealth and power. A perfect example of an ignorant, destructive oligarch completely devoid of self-awareness was put on full display earlier this year when Sam Zell appeared on Bloomberg TV and essentially said the poor just need to act more like the rich.
Read more here.
If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.
From Nick Hanaeur’s excellent Politico Op-Ed: The Pitchforks are Coming…For Us Plutocrats
Over the past several years, I have been extremely critical of the 0.01% as a socio-economic class, often referring to them as criminal oligarchs. This has nothing to do with the incredible sums of money they have amassed. I’m simply not interested in chasing that kind of wealth, nor am I an envious person. I don’t care how much money anyone has. What I do care about is the kind of power that such money can buy, and how that power can is then abused to purchase politicians and run roughshod over entire societies. I have also been disgusted with the fact that the 0.01% as a class seem self-absorbed, apathetic and delusional when it comes to the catastrophe the current economic and financial system is reaping upon the planet. So busy are they patting themselves on the back and scrambling to acquire that next billion to see what is rapidly unfolding beyond their moats.
Read more here.