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How The Guardian bullies morality so they can bully YOU

May 16, 2016 – 3:48 pm | 3 Comments

Do you have sympathy towards or even support Jeremy Corbyn? Perhaps you recognise and feel angry about the relentless campaign in the corporate media to discredit his leadership of the Labour Party?
Do you recognise and feel angry about terrorism …

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Neoliberalism

The dominant ideology of modern times is hard to pin down but its influence is global and catastrophic. A mixture of bogus economic theory, direct assaults on behalf of class power and a Trojan horse to subvert democracy – everyone needs to understand the nature and influence of neoliberalism.

Corruption

Our taxes pay the wages of politicians, the police and the civil service. These people take our money and our trust to look after OUR interests. When they decide to play the game for themselves and their friends its called corruption and it should always be exposed and challenged.

Corporate Capture

Politics, the Civil Service, the media, the police, the EU Commission – the list of organisations that should bat for us but instead bat for corporate power is depressing – we chart the slide and the fightback. We follow the money, the cushy appointments, the backroom deals all the way to the top

Squashing Dissent

If there is one characteristic of the modern neoliberal era its that the establishment has become hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism and organised protest. We keep track of all the latest legal and illegal ways that legitimate peaceful protest is undermined, bullied and squashed.

Spying

The role played by the ‘security services’ of the UK and the USA in the mass Orwellian surveillance of innocent people was exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden – we will trace developments of this terrifying new front in the battle to defend democracy and basic freedoms.

Corporate Capture, Corruption, Featured, Guest Articles, Neoliberalism »

Confessions of a Panama Papers hit man

May 24, 2016 – 10:39 am |

As an Economic Hit Man (EHM) in the 1970s I spent a great deal of time in Panama. I hate to admit it, but I helped forge the system that has now been exposed in the Panama Papers. It is a system of legalized crimes. How else can we describe it?

This EHM system has created a global economy where 62 individuals have as much wealth as half the world’s population, big corporations enjoy the airports and highways, fire and police departments, school systems, and other infrastructure of countries like the United States without paying for them and where governments are controlled by a handful of extremely wealthy individuals. The hard-earned tax dollars of the average US citizen finances the infrastructure and social services that benefit the very rich and their corporations while they shelter their incomes in tax havens.

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Although the tax sheltering schemes disclosed in the Panama Papers were developed in the 1970s – during my time as an EHM in that country – the foundations of the system go back more than a century. In 1903 President Teddy Roosevelt fomented a rebellion to wrest Panama from Colombia so that the US could build the Panama Canal. JP Morgan and Company was appointed as the new country’s official fiscal agent. Soon after that, Panama passed laws that enabled John D Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to avoid US taxes and regulations by registering its ships in Panama. It was just the beginning. . .

I was sent to Panama in the early 1970s to convince its head of state, Omar Torrijos, to drop his insistence on turning U.S. canal ownership over to Panama and to soften his encouragement of nationalistic movements throughout Latin America. Although Torrijos would not yield on the canal issue, he was willing to allow his country to be a tax haven for international corporations. In one meeting 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!”

In 1981 Torrijos died when his private plane crashed in what many believe was a CIA orchestrated assassination. Since then, one Panamanian administration after another has been a puppet of US business interests, and the country has continually increased its activities as a tax shelter for the super rich.

In the New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, I discuss how the EHM system has spread from developing countries, like Panama, to the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world during the past 12 years and how it has created a failed global economic system. Today two and a half billion people live below the poverty level, on less than $2 a day, seven out of 10 people live in countries where inequality is greater than it was 30 years ago, less than 5% of the world’s population lives in the United States but consumes about 25% of the world’s resources, and less than 1% of those 5% dictate U.S. policies, as well as those of most other countries. There is no way to describe this system other than as a total failure. Some economists refer to it as a Death Economy because it is based on debt, fear, militarization, and the extraction of the resources that support it – on consuming itself into extinction.

The fact that a handful of robber barons are financing gluttonous life-styles off our tax dollars – and enjoying the infrastructure and social systems the rest of us pay for while they go tax-free – is symbolic of this failed economy. Walmart and the Walton family provide a case study:

Walmart has siphoned billions of dollars from US taxpayers. Among their various tools is a vast network of overseas tax havens, with assets valued at more than $76 billion. . . [It is] estimated that Walmart workers are subsidized by US taxpayers to the tune of more than $6 billion a year, in public nutrition, health care, and housing assistance programs. The owners of this mega cash cow, the members of the Walton family, are listed among the wealthiest billionaires on the planet. They, like so many of their cohorts, may criticize social programs for everyone else, but they are beneficiaries of the biggest socialized programs in history. (1)

The revelations of the Panama Papers are one more indictment of the system. It is very possible that they are the proverbial straw that will break the camel’s back. These papers connect the dots.

In this election year, we must understand that although the next U.S. president will be symbolic, he or she will have very limited powers. The powers rest in the big corporations and the people who control them. When billionaires are able to pass laws such as the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement of 2012, NAFTA, CAFTA, and potentially TPP and TTIP that give corporations more power than sovereign nations, we know that we the people must demand change. We must create a Life Economy that is based on cleaning up pollution, regenerating devastated economies, developing new technologies that recycle and do not ravage the earth, and creating systems that alleviate desperation, poverty, hunger, and the causes of violence and terrorism. This system must include fair taxation. Those who benefit from the infrastructure must help pay for it.

Above all, the Panama Papers should encourage each and every one of us to understand that we have a responsibility to ourselves and future generations to reverse this terribly destructive course we’ve permitted our leaders to take. The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man provides strategies and lists that every individual can employ to transform the Death Economy into a Life Economy. The short version is that we can all use social media to force corporations to transform the Death Economy into a Life Economy.

Recently one of the least populated states in the U.S. passed a law forcing corporations to label GMOs. As a result, some of the biggest food producers in the country – Kellogg, General Mills, Campbell Soup, Mars, and ConAgri – committed to the national labeling of GMOs. A small group of activists and bloggers in Vermont, a state with less than 0.2% of U.S. population, convinced these food giants to change their policies.

There are those who will want to focus the Panama Papers findings on “arch enemies” like Putin and Islamic Extremists – and on the excesses of celebrities and overpaid, under taxed athletes. Let us not be distracted. Let us instead understand that the real villains are the super rich who finance political campaigns and promise lucrative consulting jobs to politicians if they lose or decide not to run for office in the next election – and who take the money they make off the rest of us to tax havens like Panama.

Let the Panama Papers serve as a warning to all of us not to turn a blind eye on legalized crimes. Let the people of Vermont encourage all of us to take action.

John Perkins

NHS managers are being forced to lie to the public

May 20, 2016 – 8:42 am |

Local managers are being forced to slash NHS budgets and replace existing hospital and community services with unproven ‘new models of care’ (inspired by, and attractive to, the corporates.).
And local managers are effectively being forced …

How The Guardian bullies morality so they can bully YOU

May 16, 2016 – 3:48 pm | 3 Comments

Do you have sympathy towards or even support Jeremy Corbyn? Perhaps you recognise and feel angry about the relentless campaign in the corporate media to discredit his leadership of the Labour Party?
Do you recognise and feel angry about terrorism …

The demoralized mind – how can we treat our sick culture and make ourselves well?

May 11, 2016 – 12:40 pm |

Western consumer culture is creating a psycho-spiritual crisis that leaves us disoriented and bereft of purpose. How can we treat our sick culture and make ourselves well?
Our descent into the Age of Depression seems unstoppable. …

Trapped in ‘Vicious Circle,’ Greece Passes Crushing New Austerity Package

May 11, 2016 – 11:19 am |

‘Every day they destroy our country a little more,’ says protester in Athens
Amid protests and strikes, Greek lawmakers passed a crushing new austerity package early on Monday.
The reform package, which passed by a razor-thin margin, …

BBC Spread the Hatred

May 7, 2016 – 10:02 am | One Comment

No matter how terrible the BBC is, it constantly manages to get worse. The BBC News this evening appears like an especially rabid Tory Party broadcast. Sarah Smith was just breathtaking, while I thought Laura …

Another goodbye to democracy if TTIP is passed

May 5, 2016 – 9:04 am |

Corporate control on both sides of the Atlantic will be solidified should the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership be passed. Any doubt about that was removed when Greenpeace Netherlands released 13 chapters of the TTIP …

Disaster Capitalism: Ecuador Forced to Pay US Oil Giant $180M

May 2, 2016 – 1:16 pm |

The Ecuadorean government is being forced to use money that could go toward relief efforts to instead pay off a multinational oil company.

The Ecuadorean government is being ordered to pay US$180 million payment on Friday to …

Leaked TTIP Documents Confirm Corporate Power Grab at Heart of EU/US Trade Deal

May 2, 2016 – 11:05 am | One Comment

Greenpeace have leaked 248 pages of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiating texts, confirming worst fears of environmentalists and social justice activists.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a massive trade deal …

New Study Shows Mass Surveillance Breeds Meekness, Fear and Self-Censorship | Glenn Greenwald

April 29, 2016 – 4:14 pm | One Comment

A newly published study from Oxford’s Jon Penney provides empirical evidence for a key argument long made by privacy advocates: that the mere existence of a surveillance state breeds fear and conformity and stifles free expression. Reporting …

What Zionism has meant for Palestinians | Ben White

April 29, 2016 – 3:53 pm | One Comment

“If there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some other place. We must take over the land. We have a greater and nobler ideal than preserving several hundred thousands of Arab fellahin.”
Menahem …

Has the future already been drowned in the babbling of Facebook?

April 24, 2016 – 1:40 pm | Comments Off on Has the future already been drowned in the babbling of Facebook?

Years ago, I worked in a cramped office as a civil servant. My male and married boss was having an affair with a woman in my office, his wife worked at an office just up the …

Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya | Craig Murray

April 19, 2016 – 9:50 am | Comments Off on Media Pretend Not To Know About British Boots on the Ground in Libya | Craig Murray

Yesterday Philip Hammond, UK foreign secretary, visited a naval base in Tripoli to be shown docking facilities for British military vessels. The authoritative Jane’s Defence Weekly published that the 150 strong amphibious Special Purpose Task …

Britain’s part in the ‘drone war’ in Yemen urgently needs explaining | Anna H. Jackman

April 16, 2016 – 10:39 am | One Comment

Recent allegations of the UK’s “systemic collaboration” in CIA-led drone operations in Yemen have raised questions about the UK’s unfolding drone programme
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, more commonly known as drones, have become the most talked-about weapon of …

A World War has begun. Break the silence | John Pilger

March 24, 2016 – 12:43 am | 2 Comments

The world is in the grip of a massive wave of militarism of which most of us are blissfully ignorant, writes John Pilger. When did mainstream media last tell you about the US’s $1 trillion …

The Brussels Attacks: Our pain and rage are immense, but we need reason and understanding more than ever | Frank Barat

March 23, 2016 – 9:38 am | Comments Off on The Brussels Attacks: Our pain and rage are immense, but we need reason and understanding more than ever | Frank Barat

The second day of Spring in my hometown, Brussels, started like any other day. I took the kids to school and nursery this morning, then went to work. Or, rather, came back home, where most …

Iain Duncan Smith: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

March 19, 2016 – 11:02 am | Comments Off on Iain Duncan Smith: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

So with a wearying predictability Iain Duncan Smith has had another epiphany and resigned.
We are now invited to believe that he has developed a conscience about what the Tories are doing to the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. …

‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent | Nafeez Ahmed

March 17, 2016 – 7:25 pm | Comments Off on ‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent | Nafeez Ahmed

Thanks largely to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, most Americans now realize that the intelligence community monitors and archives all sorts of online behaviors of both foreign nationals and US citizens.
But did you know …

Beware the march of the authoritarians! | Jonathon Porritt

March 17, 2016 – 10:27 am | Comments Off on Beware the march of the authoritarians! | Jonathon Porritt

Is the UK sinking into authoritarian rule? That’s how it looks, writes Jonathon Porritt, as the government joins with right wing media and fossil fuel companies to attack local democracy and environmental campaigners. Is this …

Labour Must Once More Become The Party of Empty Buzzwords, Says Dan Jarvis

March 11, 2016 – 10:17 am | Comments Off on Labour Must Once More Become The Party of Empty Buzzwords, Says Dan Jarvis

Dan Jarvis – a man who is touted as being a future Labour leader by the sort of people who tipped Liz Kendall to be the same thing – has said that Labour must once …

The Evil Empire Has the World in a Death Grip | Paul Craig Roberts

March 7, 2016 – 11:33 am | One Comment

In my archives there is a column or two that introduces the reader to John Perkins’ important book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. An EHM is an operative who sells the leadership of a …

The Corbyn Effect: How Apathy Became Hope | Steve Turner

March 7, 2016 – 9:51 am | Comments Off on The Corbyn Effect: How Apathy Became Hope | Steve Turner

LAST WEEK Tony Blair professed bafflement at the rise — on both sides of the Atlantic — of popular movements by people who in Blair’s view choose to “rattle the cage”.
I think this is a …

Beware Israeli propaganda dressed up as news

March 6, 2016 – 12:07 pm | Comments Off on Beware Israeli propaganda dressed up as news

The Haze’s attention was drawn to this lengthy article in the staunchly pro-Israel Telegraph.
It is typical example of pro-Israeli propaganda that has been all over the corporate media recently. The piece is so flimsy that one almost feels sorry …

Capitalism dying of thirst | James Plested

March 5, 2016 – 10:37 am | Comments Off on Capitalism dying of thirst | James Plested

The world faces a growing water crisis, with billions of people experiencing severe water scarcity, according to a new report published in the journal Science Advances.
The report, authored by Arjen Hoekstra and Mesfin Mekonnen from …

To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this | Jonathon Ofir

February 9, 2016 – 12:43 am | One Comment

An open letter to my fellow Israelis:
This is probably a culmination of nearly a decade’s reviewed study of our history. At some point, beyond the singular stories, cases and arguments, I feel something unequivocal and …

Assange’s stitch-up is a lesson for us all | Daniel Margrain

February 6, 2016 – 2:22 pm | Comments Off on Assange’s stitch-up is a lesson for us all | Daniel Margrain

Yesterday’s UN ruling (February 5) that deemed the deprivation of liberty of Julian Assange to be unlawful is a legally binding vindication of all those activists who have supported the quest of the Wikileaks founder to bring into …

We need to talk about Trident | John Wright

February 5, 2016 – 3:22 pm | One Comment

There is a range of public opinion on Trident but, outside of the Labour Party, it is unlikely that those holding differing views get to discuss the issue with each other. John Wright argues that …

Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism | Edward S. Herman

February 1, 2016 – 12:12 pm | Comments Off on Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism | Edward S. Herman

Aggression is arguably the highest form of terrorism as it invariably includes the frightening of the target populations and their leaders as well as killing and destruction on a large scale.. The U.S. invaders of …

Media Silent As US-Backed Saudi Forces Starve Half Million Yemeni Children

February 1, 2016 – 11:27 am | Comments Off on Media Silent As US-Backed Saudi Forces Starve Half Million Yemeni Children

While the media was flooded with images of the starving children of Syria, the thousands of children suffering from Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed onslaught on Yemen made far fewer headlines.
The mainstream media was eager to report …

War Is Still Not the Answer | Justin Podur

January 31, 2016 – 12:06 pm | Comments Off on War Is Still Not the Answer | Justin Podur

“Antiwar sentiment may mostly have evaporated, but war is as horrible as ever.”
The unelected Saudi monarchy began the year by executing 47 people. It continues to bomb hospitals, homes, and civilians in Yemen as it …

Grotesque inequality and discrimination: Tories have disgraced Britain

January 27, 2016 – 3:56 pm | One Comment

News has reached Sodium Haze of two decisions in the court of appeal that have the effect of deeming the Bedroom Tax as unlawful and discriminatory.
The circumstances are worth noting.  
One of the two successful appeals was …

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