…from the fall of the berlin wall to the rise of predatocracy?…

…not if some intrepid defenders of their belief in western democracy have their say?…

The late Leonard Bernstein in his performance on that New Year’s Day would include the pomp and circumstance of an overly optimistic ‘Ode to Freedom’ in that Beethoven 8th Symphony. Since that time ‘Freedom’ has fared not so well. The ‘working class’ of the West has seen its fortunes and hopes dashed, as the ruling class continued to soar upward with unstinting support from corporate governments of the day. We have two intriguing situations. One deals with legislation enacted to facilitate tax avoidance by multinational corporations (MNCs); and the other, the legal system’s studious avoidance of implementing existing law against even the most egregious of corporate malefactors.

The small state of Luxembourg has shown its commitment to the continued health and wealth of corporations by the generous dispensations accorded.  Thanks to a leak to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), we see it pays to have contacts. As John Queally of common dreams reports,US Corporations Top List of Those Living in ‘Magical Fairyland’ of Tax-Dodging. A quick introduction,

More than 300 global corporations and financial institutions—including well-known names like Pepsi Co., FedEx, JP Morgan Chase, and Amazon—have created complex tax avoidance schemes using the small European nation of Luxembourg to funnel billions of dollars of profits away from the countries where they actually do business, according to leaked documents obtained and analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The Guardian would provide a more in-depth analysis of the post-Berlin-Wall world,  Luxembourg tax files: how tiny state rubber-stamped tax avoidance on an industrial scale. Couple teasers,

An unprecedented international investigation into tax deals struck with Luxembourg has uncovered the multi-billion dollar tax secrets of some of the world’s largest multinational corporations.

A cache of almost 28,000 pages of leaked tax agreements, returns and other sensitive papers relating to over 1,000 businesses paints a damning picture of an EU state which is quietly rubber-stamping tax avoidance on an industrial scale.

And over at Yves Smith’s naked capitalism, she offers her own lead-in to Prof William K Black’s analysis of the economic disaster to citizens and democracy. Bill Black: The “Magical Fairyland” of Corporate Tax Scams. Black gives his insights into the scams as have occurred in Ireland as well as Luxembourg. More analysis that invites the question, ‘Is the Corporate Coup a Fait Accompli?’

And for those bothered at the lack of prosecutions related to causes of the collapse of the US economy, a collapse that would have costly global repercussions, especially as pertains to Europe, Matt Taibbi and Whistleblower Alayne Fleishmann would be interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now, Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy, Avoid Prosecution. In that TV interview, Taibbi and Fleishmann proffer solid evidence that has been adeptly avoided by the legislative branch of the US government.

Recent elections in the US, the most expensive ‘mid-term’  elections in history, would confirm that the word democracy is devoid of meaning, as the two corporate parties no longer deem it necessary to pay even lip service to the notion, as they sing their triumphant ‘Ode to Joy’ at their prosperity. ‘Hot button’ issues, ‘culture wars’, ‘newer and even more dangerous enemies’, the stuff sufficient to distract a majority of US voters, again and again.

…recent elections in some countries of latin america provide stark contrast in what democracy and elections are all about, an awkward problem for up ‘north’ and its perpetual proseltysing…

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…us msm, tpping the lie? fantastic!…

…or, tripped up with its tpp lie?…

Where do we start? Why not with the US ‘newspaper of record’, of fame that includes from its pantheon the likes of Judith Miller, Michael R Gordon, John F Burns, and WMD.

There is that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal being negotiated in secret. Not so bad, if one were not aware of the pervasive influence of US corporations in the process. Yet with this secrecy, back in November 2013 the NYT would give its still many readers, A Pacific Trade Deal. Red flags would go up on this,

A good agreement would lower duties and trade barriers on most products and services, strengthen labor and environmental protections, limit the ability of governments to tilt the playing field in favor of state-owned firms and balance the interests of consumers and creators of intellectual property. Such a deal will not only help individual countries but set an example for global trade talks.

Utter rubbish. Aside the fact that this proposed deal has very little to do with trade, and for its well-established obviousness, there was that awkward detail observed by the far less read EFF, How Can the New York Times Endorse an Agreement the Public Can’t Read? Read the rest of this entry »


…argentina, a us nyc judge, and ‘treachery’ funds…

…and the lesson: never fall for this myth of separation of powers in the us or some independent judiciary – illusion and not reality…

But before we get there. Indeed an embarrassing sight to behold, its landing. Ugly. Yet in flight ever graceful as it soars, ever higher, then glides on the wind currents. And what is best and most unappreciated is its role: elimination of carrion and the likely spread of deadly disease. So then, why associate this noble, though not so nice looking creature with hedge funds, ‘vulture’ funds? Clearly, calumny. Just a thought.

If we were to rely on the MSM for factual reporting – well, we know where that is going…

Last Tango in NYC

…Why ever NYC…

Mike La Susa over at counterpunch provides some background on Argentina and its battle with a bunch of predatory financial architects with political clout. Fact-Checking “Fact Check Argentina” One observation of an article that puts the issue into context,

In 2001, Argentina defaulted on its national debt. More than 90% of lenders subsequently agreed to restructuring deals that allowed the country to exchange new bonds for the defaulted ones at a significant loss for the creditors. However, some investment firms labelled “vulture funds” by their critics – most of which are based in the Cayman Islands – bought up Argentine bonds at discount prices, hoping to use the US legal system to force the country to repay their full value.

Read the rest of this entry »


…cristina, queen of somewhere in the ‘backyard’?…

…To sing ‘What does it take to win your love‘ to the the ‘north’ and its corporate MSM, and expect some contrition, some respite from torment, the region should by now know would be futile …

Even-handedness in reporting is just that balanced, factual. So when The Guardian gives us a report, Peso panic and rocketing prices shake the throne of Argentina’s Queen Cristina, we have no choice but to wonder. The Guardian, more like WaPo or NYT, but for controversy? President Fernández de Kirchner is, and has been, the duly elected President of Argentina, and democratically so. And, to make matters worse,  in the article the reporter abandons the courtesy of quotation marks for the word.

The tenor of the report brings to mind similar work from the paper’s Rory Carroll, who was truly terrible at best, utterly clueless on Latin America. We wonder if that is the expected treatment of public officials of the ‘backyard’? After all, those leaders of the ‘north’, US, UK, and elsewhere have not acquitted themselves that well – if we are to accept that the ‘unwashed of the backyard’ are blameless for either the Great Depression or this quite near Great Depression (which still seems worse for the UK).

Read the rest of this entry »


…’free’ trade, ‘full’ employment…only wapo…

…the perils of tardiness – the ever vigilant and acerbic Dean Baker has just done his bit…

Really, now. We would think that with all the analysis done on the thing and voluminous comments, with the leak from WikiLeaks on couple chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we would think prudence, that caution would prevail before even daring putting ink to the paper, digits to the keyboard. But no. That thing about ‘fools rush in’. And that, even after the NYT editorial on the TPP that even the casually attentive econ. 101 would have said, ‘Ehn?’. Yes, WaPo is at it again.

This time WaPo uses the very recent dismal US economic news on unemployment as its launchpad into lunacy or to bamboozle a totally disengaged readership – support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Most on the planet who are informed by other than US cable news and its other corporate MSM would have long known that things were already not so hot, since they would have read Dean Baker, Joe Stiglitz and Yves Smith among many other luminaries – not that lesser luminaries had not weighed in, but that thing about ‘commanding presence’, ‘authority’. So where do we begin? Read the rest of this entry »


…in november, the gusts of october…

…continue to blow strong, even at gale force…

And, yes, the past continues to pursue those who only ‘look forward’…

Citizens in many countries awake each day to find of little they have, they have less; of the opportunities that existed, there are far fewer, with the future seeming even bleaker. Cynical distractions serve to instill incuriosity and inaction, as one very small class of exceptionals thrives even more. But here come in dedicated analysts and citizens who dedicate themselves to counteracting the rampant misinformation and disinformation of the corporate media. The aim of such committed citizens is to provide in-depth, non-technical analysis and information to inspire an engaged populace, or at least inspire critical thinking.

The Bill Moyers & Company journal of this Friday past is covered over at common dreams. In that timely issue, Moyers covers two major topics, the first, the Obama Drone Strikes in Pakistan and his many innocent victims, one of whom, a teenager, was murdered, and thus unable to appear at Congressional Hearings in Washington, DC. Aimed at examining Obama’s drone programme, Congressional representation at the hearings would comprise only five courageous members who still cling to the belief of a US of the lofty declarations, so often spouted and piously so, by its discredited leaders. Read the rest of this entry »