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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Confessions of a Panama Papers hit man

By John Perkins

The Panama Papers should be no surprise. I was there in the 1970s, when the system they’ve exposed was set in motion. As an Economic Hit Man (an EHM), I helped forge this global economy that is based on legalized crimes. It’s a system in which 62 individuals have as much wealth as half the world’s population, and a handful of the super-rich control governments around the globe. Big corporations benefit from infrastructure and social services without having to foot the bill. Instead, average US citizens pay for it with their hard-earned tax dollars, while the very rich and their corporations shelter their incomes in tax havens like Panama.

The foundations for Panama as a tax shelter go back to 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt fomented a rebellion to wrest Panama from Colombia so the US could build the Panama Canal. J.P. Morgan and Company became the new country’s official fiscal agent. Soon Panama passed laws allowing John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to register its ships there, avoiding U.S. taxes and regulations — and Panamanian tax shelters were born.

I was sent to Panama to convince then-head of state Omar Torrijos to stop insisting the US turn canal ownership over to Panama, and to soften his support for Latin America’s nationalistic movements. Torrijos would not yield on the canal. But he did let his country become a tax haven for international corporations. He told me, “If your country is determined to exploit mine, the least I can do is help your corporations avoid paying taxes that support the CIA and Pentagon!”

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/confessions-of-a-panama-papers-hit-man/

Government of Canada wants to revive diplomatic ties with Iran

The Canadians want to turn the page with Iran. And they’re taking a very different approach than their friends in the United States.

Months after it went into effect, the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration is attracting no small amount of flak, with some of the criticism even coming from the two signatories themselves.

President Barack Obama recently faulted Tehran for failing to live up to the spirit of the nuclear deal by continuing with actions like its most recent round of missile tests. Meanwhile, Iranian leaders have dismissed the notion that the nuclear agreement would mark the start of a new closer relationship between the Islamic Republic and its longtime US enemies.

A closer relationship is precisely what Canada's Justin Trudeau wants.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/canada-wants-revive-diplomatic-ties-iran2/

Offshore drilling: Why it makes economic sense to wait

From chants of “Drill, Baby, Drill” to outrage over the BP oil spill, offshore drilling has been highly controversial in recent years. Some view it as a vastly underused revenue source, while others see it as a grave environmental threat. In parts of the Gulf of Mexico, drilling continues on a regular basis. In most other regions it is the subject of fierce political debate.

The Obama administration recently reversed its plan to allow drilling off of the mid-Atlantic coast, which it proposed in 2010, suspended after the Deepwater Horizon spill, then floated again in 2015. Critics have attacked the Atlantic decision, arguing that the government is turning its back on much-needed revenue and resources.

But this line of thinking rests on a flawed economic rationale that ignores our ability to revisit decisions in the future. This “now-or-never” fallacy has driven U.S. offshore leasing policy for years. Convincing the Department of the Interior to finally adopt an economically rational approach that values delaying risky decisions required a lengthy advocacy campaign and a federal lawsuit. Offshore leasing decisions can be incredibly complex, and should be informed by balanced economic analysis.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/offshore-drilling-makes-economic-sense-wait/

I understand Hillary's appeal. But...

I understand Hillary's appeal, I really do. And in the fall, if she's the Democratic candidate I'll vote for her.

The years of Bill Clinton's administration were the best years of my life, professionally and personally. Hillary was an integral part of that administration and deserves a big chunk of the credit for its successes. Part of me wants all of that back. Full employment was very, very good to me. So, for nostalgia reasons if nothing else, I understand the pull of the Clinton mystique.

During the Bill Clinton years, I, too, was a "third way" Democrat. I thought the idea of slow-walking our way to progress was brilliant because I felt economic growth was a prerequisite for any real change. I attributed the economic good times of the 90s to Bill Clinton and his third-way policies. And I was not entirely wrong.

Since then, I have evolved. Being on the business end of the Great Recession -- being laid off twice, losing my home equity when the housing bubble burst, experiencing some health problems -- had an effect. I looked at things in a new way. I came to realize that capitalism, as we have practiced it for the past 40 years, is broken. I came to believe that we need more rapid, more radical change than I had realized.

I don't think Hillary Clinton is a bad person. I don't think she will be a bad president. But I worry that she simply lacks the vision to really transform the American economy in the way it needs to be transformed. Bernie isn't perfect, either. But he "gets it" in a way Hillary doesn't. So, that's why I voted for him in the Michigan primary.

If my fellow Democrats determine that Hillary is to the be nominee, I'll be alright with that. I'll vote for her. I also expect to be a left-leaning critic of her administration when, as I suspect will happen, she becomes our next president.

Columnist: Sanders performed ‘very well’ at NY Daily News meeting

Did Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders really bungle his interview with the New York Daily News editorial board on April 1?

Chris Cillizza, a political columnist at The Washington Post sure thought so. So did Mark Halperin, managing editor of Bloomberg Politics.

But New York Daily News columnist Juan González, who had the benefit of being in the room at the time, disagrees. González appeared on Democracy Now, and independent news broadcast he frequently co-hosts with journalist Amy Goodman, to talk about his impressions.

“I, overall, thought that Bernie Sanders handled the exchange very well. And I think that there were a few places where he stumbled, and—but I was amazed at his ability to parry the questions that were thrown at him,” González said.

MORE HERE (including video): http://yonside.com/columnist-sanders-performed-very-well-at-ny-daily-news-meeting/

Manhattan screening of anti-vaxxer film is deeply irresponsible

Star-Ledger Editorial Board

It's disappointing that the Angelika Film Center in Manhattan has decided to show an anti-vaccine film by a disgraced conspiracy theorist, after a leading medical ethicist dubbed it "nonsense on stilts" and Robert De Niro wisely yanked it from the Tribeca Film Festival.

Bad call. The crazies behind this film, called "Vaxxed," are predictably portraying themselves as standing up to "the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art and truth."

But claims of "censorship" do not a noble cause make. Deniers of the Holocaust or the Newtown shooting would surely say the same things, had they made propaganda peddling their dangerous and false theories and called it a "documentary" -- but would any self-respecting outlet screen it?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/manhattan-screening-of-anti-vaxxer-film-deeply-irresponsible/

Trump is opening the floodgates of hate

By Peter Montgomery

The staying power of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has surprised and unsettled people across the political spectrum. Many voters who are angry about the loss of middle-class jobs and frustrated with our broken politics have rallied to Trump’s outsider campaign.

There’s a darker side to Trump’s campaign that should disturb anyone thinking about supporting him: It’s electrifying and energizing the white supremacist movement.

“You can’t help who admires you,” says Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “But when white supremacists start endorsing you for president, you ought to start asking why.”

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/trump-opening-floodgates-hate/

The Panama Papers: Why we should care

Panama has always been one of the best tax havens in the world - both during and after the reign of General Manuel Noriega - and Mossack Fonseca (run by a Swiss tax expert named Jurgen Mossack and his Panamanian partner, Ramon Fonseca) is one of the dominant players in the parallel world of tax havens.

In this sense, the unprecedented leak of nearly 40 years' worth of documents (more than 11 million documents on more than 210,000 companies, trusts, foundations, and world leaders), revealing that Mossack Fonseca offered its services to facilitate money laundering, tax avoidance, and criminal activity should surprise no one.

Offshore entities of this kind have been created precisely for fulfilling such roles for the rich and powerful that rule the world.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/panama-papers-care/

N. Carolina residents, civil liberties groups challenge new state law

Two transgender people and a lesbian law professor at North Carolina Central University filed a lawsuit in federal court early Monday challenging North Carolina's new law that bans local governments from passing local anti-discrimination ordinances and dictates that transgender residents use the public restrooms of their biological sex.

Representatives from the ACLU of North Carolina, Lambda Legal, Equality NC and the plaintiffs announced the legal challenge on Monday.

The organizations say HB2 permits discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people across the state.

"We're challenging this extreme and discriminatory measure in order to ensure that everyone who lives in and visits North Carolina is protected under the law," said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. "This cruel, insulting, and unconstitutional law is an attack on fairness in employment, education, and local governance that encourages discrimination against thousands of LGBT people who call North Carolina home, and particularly targets transgender men and women. HB 2 aims to override local school board policies, local public accommodations laws, and more."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/transgender-nc-residents-civil-liberties-groups-challenge-state-law/

GOP senators start to budge on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee

It's not clear if Republicans are more worried about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump naming the next Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins responded simply when asked about Mitch McConnel's stance on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

"I believe that we should follow the regular order in considering this nominee," she said.

But the Maine senator's point marks what could be a shift away from McConnel's - and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's - hardline opposition to holding hearings for Garland.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/gop-senators-start-budge-obamas-supreme-court-nominee/

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