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Member since: 2001
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"Panama Papers" Offer More Evidence That Free Trade Isn’t Really Free

Panama Papers Offer More Evidence That Free Trade Isn’t Really Free
Posted on Apr 14, 2016

By Michael Winship

The Presidents Obama and Clinton were out on the links in honor of Jordan’s 80th birthday. They could just as easily have been celebrating the ways in which the three of them—and Dubya—have helped give America a trade policy that has devastated the working class but made the rich much more wealthy.

When the Panama Papers were released last week, President Obama said, “There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally, is a huge problem… There are folks here in America who are taking advantage of the same stuff. A lot of it is legal, but that’s exactly the problem. It’s not that they’re breaking the laws, it’s that the laws are so poorly designed that they allow people, if they’ve got enough lawyers and enough accountants, to wiggle out of responsibilities that ordinary citizens are having to abide by.”

And who’s responsible for that?
Maybe the Panama Papers won’t reveal further offshore skullduggery by American business. But the fact is, we’re already in it up to our necks. Go back to our long history with Panama, pulling it away from Colombia to dig the canal and advance the interests of corporate America.

Bring that history right up to 2011. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had pushed for, and Obama as president and Hillary Clinton as secretary of state consummated—as one of their first priorities when they came to power—the Panama free trade agreement, an early investment in further corporate support and further evidence that both parties are too often in league as agents of corporate interests.

And guess who was at the pivot? The other fellow in that Martha’s Vineyard foursome, Ron Kirk. As US Trade Representative, he was key to those Panama negotiations when Obama became president.

Barack Obama insists the White House did the right thing when the administration pushed the deal and maintains that in fact he brought greater transparency to Panama’s financial transactions by insisting on a tax information exchange agreement on the side.

But, as David Nakamura wrote in The Washington Post last week, “Consumer advocates who have fought U.S. trade policies said the administration and its allies are trying to claim credit for reforms in Panama without accepting responsibility for the revelations in the unfolding Panama Papers scandal about potentially widespread tax avoidance.”

Nakamura quoted Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch: “The Panama Papers just show once again how entirely cynical and meaningless are American presidents’ and corporate boosters’ lavish promises of economic benefits and policy reforms from trade agreements… nvestor protections and official U.S. stamp of approval made it safer to send dirty money to Panama.”

Continued at.........


After the Financial Meltdown of 2008....What Has Happened to the Working Class Globally?

After the Financial Meltdown of 2008....What Has Happened to the Working Class Globally? Why Can't They Get Ahead? Want your Money Safe in a Savings Account? How about Zero Interest Rate Policy?
Paul Krugman and Bernie Sanders mentioned in the latest "Max/Stacy."


[KR901] Keiser Report: Most Destructive Force in the Universe
Posted on April 14, 2016 by Stacy Herbert — 16 Comments ↓

We take a physicist’s view on global financial and economic news as central bankers play dice with the financial universe and Schroedinger’s bank has assets, both there and not there, living and dead at the same time, depending on who (if any) is observing said ‘asset’. In the second half Max, interviews Michael Krieger of LibertyBlitzkrieg.com about the significance of Bill Black joining the Bernie Sanders campaign. They also discuss insane central bank policies driving a rush into derivatives.

Military Historian Agrees with Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is an Unreconstructed Hawk

Military Historian Agrees with Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is an Unreconstructed Hawk

Published on Apr 8, 2016
http://democracynow.org - In the Democratic presidential race, Senator Bernie Sanders has often clashed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about U.S. policy in the Middle East. At one debate, he accused Clinton of being "too much into regime change." We ask military historian Andrew Bacevich for his assessment.

Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on nearly 1,400 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9AM ET: http://democracynow.org

Hillary's State Department and the Insider Who Used His Ties to Build a Consulting Giant

How a Clinton Insider Used His Ties to Build a Consulting Giant

Hillary gave a special State Department post to an ex-fundraiser — even as he was laying the groundwork for a global firm with ties to her husband called Teneo.

By Rachael Bade

04/13/16 05:56 AM EDT

When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state she personally sought out a man named Declan Kelly to be her economic envoy to Northern Ireland, giving her 41-year-old former fundraiser a special status outside normal diplomatic channels.

“Yeah! Is he now official? Can I call him? Can I ask him to start?” she wrote in an Aug. 28, 2009 email to her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.

By some measures, Kelly was a bargain for the government. The Ireland-born businessman refused a salary, hired five staffers on his own dime and pushed for U.S. companies to invest in the once-troubled region, a diplomatic priority for Clinton.

But while serving as Clinton’s special envoy, reaching out to global corporations for those investments, he was also working for two of them as a private consultant — earning about $2.4 million from Dow Chemical, a longtime client of his and one of the firms that participated in Clinton’s Ireland initiative.

It was also during this time period that Kelly and Doug Band, a close aide to former President Bill Clinton, were preparing to launch a global consulting business that would soon become a well-known and controversial success story. Their new venture, Teneo Holdings, would go on to employ numerous Hillary Clinton associates, including her closest confidante, Huma Abedin, and, for a time, Bill Clinton as “honorary chairman,” giving clients rare access to the couple and their network of world leaders.

The fact that Kelly and Band were laying the groundwork for their enterprise while Kelly was working for the State Department, reported here for the first time, represents a fresh illustration of the blurring of the lines between Hillary Clinton’s political network and her State Department that critics have long noted. And it shows how one enterprising fundraiser was able to insinuate himself into Clinton's inner circle and then built a 500-person, multinational consulting firm whose value, at least at first, was greatly enhanced by its founders’ closeness to the Clintons.

Manhattan-based Teneo has been a center of palace intrigue for years because of its proximity to the former first family. And in its early days, Teneo directly benefited the couple themselves, though the company emphasizes that it no longer has those ties.

With Bill Clinton serving in the paid position of honorary chairman, and Hillary as secretary of state, Teneo initially billed itself as a one-stop shop for “C-suite consulting,” a blend of public relations advice for CEOs and more technical investor relations work. Corporate executives paid $250,000 a month — sometimes more — for consulting and assistance. They also, in some cases, got to hobnob with a former president.
The firm forged a mutually beneficial relationship with the Clinton Global Initiative, the fancy annual Clinton Foundation event starring the former president and other world leaders. The New York Times and The New Republic first reported three years ago how the philanthropic gathering provided an ideal nexus for Teneo to both recruit new clients and enhance the visibility of existing clients by getting them speaking roles.

Eight former employees and other sources with knowledge of the start-up or close to the Clintons told POLITICO that many Teneo clients received exposure to Bill Clinton, invitations to salon dinners filled with D.C. power players, or meetings at CGI with foreign leaders in the years immediately after the company's founding. They also said a key element of Kelly and Band’s pitch to new clients was donating to the foundation or joining CGI to “raise your leadership profile.”

This Investigative Report is a very long read with twists and turns...:


Confessions of a "Panama Papers" Hit Man--John Perkins (Full Read, Creative Commons)

Confessions of a Panama Papers Hit Man
John Perkins
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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 U.S. 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 revelations of the Panama Papers are one more indictment of a failed system."

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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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!"

Torrijos died in 1981 in a plane crash many believe was orchestrated by the CIA. Since then, Panamanian administrations have remained a puppet of U.S. business interests, and the country is a tax shelter for the super rich. Over the past 12 years, the system that helped create it has spread from developing countries to the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. The result: a failed global economy: 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 with worse inequality than 30 years ago. Less than 5% of the world’s population lives in the United States, yet consumes 25% of the world’s resources. Less than 1% of that 5% dictate not only U.S. policies, but those of most other countries. It is an economic system based on debt, fear, militarization, and the extraction of the resources that support it, consuming itself into extinction.

There’s a lesson here. In this election year, we must understand that the next U.S. president has very limited powers. The powers rest in the big corporations and the people who run them. When billionaires are able to get laws passed such as the US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement of 2012 and NAFTA, giving their corporations more power than sovereign nations, it’s time for change. We must create an economy dedicated to cleaning up pollution, developing new technologies that recycle and spare 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.

The revelations of the Panama Papers are one more indictment of a failed system that I know only too well. It’s very possible these latest revelations are the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back and encourages us to understand that we have a responsibility to ourselves and future generations to reverse this terribly destructive course.

Can it be reversed? Look at Vermont. In a state with under 0.2% of U.S. population, a small group of activists and bloggers successfully pressured some of the biggest food producers in the country — Kellogg, General Mills, Campbell Soup, Mars, and ConAgri — to change their policies and commit to national GMO labeling. David can defeat Goliath.

Many will want to focus on the "arch enemies" exposed by the Panama Papers, like Putin, and on overpaid celebrities and athletes. Let us not be distracted. Let us instead focus on the super rich — those who finance the political campaigns that support their interests, promise lucrative consulting jobs when politicians lose or leave office, and hide their fortunes in tax havens like Panama.

The Panama Papers are a warning: we can’t turn a blind eye on legalized crimes. Let the people of Vermont encourage all of us to take action.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

CrossTalk on Panama Papers: Corruption PSYOPS--Fascinating Discussion

Worth watching until the very end...for us inquisitive types! Not Conspiratorial but Questioning.
BTW: Bernie is mentioned at the end of the discussion.


CrossTalk on Panama Papers: Corruption PSYOPS

Published on Apr 8, 2016
The so-called Panama Papers are sold to us as a vast leak chronicling the financial misdeeds of the rich and powerful. But is this really the case? Certainly we are given insight into the secretive world of offshore banking, but is it a complete and balanced story? One interpretation of the Panama Papers is the West targeting its enemies.

CrossTalking with Mitch Feierstein, Alexander Mercouris, and Pepe Escobar.

Listen to CrossTalk+ here: https://soundcloud.com/rttv/sets/cros...

WaPo Gives Hillary "3 Pinocchios" On Claim NY's Crime Guns Come from Vermont

Hillary Clinton’s claim that the ‘highest per capita number’ of crime guns in New York come from Vermont

Hillary Quote:

‘We’re a small, rural state, we have no gun laws.’ Here’s what I want you to know. Most of the guns that are used in crimes and violence and killings in New York come from out of state. And the state that has the highest per capita number of those guns that end up committing crimes in New York come from Vermont. So this is not, ‘Oh I live in a rural state we don’t have any of these problems.’ This is, you know what, it’s easy to cross borders. Criminals, domestic abusers, traffickers, people who are dangerously ill, they cross borders too. And sometimes they do it to get the guns they use.”

— Hillary Clinton, panel on gun violence, April 11, 2016

This Clinton campaign attack on Bernie Sanders’s gun record has been a week in the making.

A version of it surfaced in reports of a meeting Clinton held with New York Democratic leaders, ahead of the April 19 primary. Politico reported that on April 4 she privately told the leaders that Vermont shared blame for the guns being used in crimes in New York. Her critics responded quickly, noting Vermont is the source of a small number of crime guns found in New York. (Her campaign said it could not confirm her statement.)

Then, on April 5, her campaign manager Robby Mook made a similar but generalized point in a CNN interview: “I don’t think Senator Sanders has been sincere here in New York which is facing serious problems with guns being trafficked from Vermont and other states.” Mook listed Vermont as one of the states where guns tied to crime in New York originated, but did not directly blame Vermont.

Finally, on April 11, Clinton used a more refined version publicly — eliciting gasps from the audience. But this time, the words “per capita” appeared, signaling the campaign believed it had found the right data to support her argument.

So This is The Anatomy of a Talking Point.

Clinton has been using gun control to cast a significant difference between herself and Bernie Sanders, repeatedly pointing out pro-gun votes that Sanders cast in Congress. (See The Fact Checker roundup of everything you need to know about Sanders’s record on guns.) Now, Clinton is drawing attention to the flow of guns into New York from Vermont. What are the underlying facts


Heads Up!.. MSNBC has Interview with Jane Sanders on "All Due Respect"

Please watch ...the whole show was very good. I just watched it on Bloomberg. Even has "Bernie Birds" flying!

Roku or other Non Cable Users who have "Bloomberg Business" access (free) can catch the repeat "All Due Respect" Show anytime there. The show (for this episode) has Mark Halperin and Campbell Brown interviewing. Brown is married to Repub Dan Senor and she used to be a Cable TV Reporter--but, she was surprisingly fair in this show which really featured Bernie for a good part of it and she and Mark interviewed Jane....nicely. Which means..better than Rachel Maddow or the lack of interviews with Jane by any other Media Sources that I've seen

Video is up at this Link:


"The Panama Papers"..Not Monty Python, but Good One from Max & Stacy Keiser!

I never knew that "Great Britain" had so Many!

Published on Apr 9, 2016

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy discuss mysterious, unexplained creatures - like offshore havens all around us, the very fabric of the British economy.

The Second Episode (halfway through) is about Gold...so you can skip it unless you are a "Gold Bug."

‘Who’s funding this?’ CIA & MI5 Whistleblowers Question Credibility of Panama Papers Coverage

‘Who’s funding this?’ CIA & MI5 whistleblowers question credibility of Panama Papers coverage
Published time: 7 Apr, 2016 00:43

While neither Vladimir Putin nor any members of his family were mentioned in the Panama Papers leak, most Western media chose to break the story with the Russian president’s photo. Former US and UK intelligence officers told RT this is no coincidence.

Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer, told RT that the fact that the Western media has been using Putin as the “face” of the Panama Papers leak can be easily explained by looking at the people and organizations behind these news outlets.

“Everyone in corporate press is controlled by corporations that profit on wars and have an interest in creating tensions – all these people in the Western press, like the Guardian, are blackening Putin [for being] a designated villain here. Curiously, his name is not in these documents,” Ray says.16.04/original/5705a984c36188e5798b459f.jpg

He also claims that the way the story was presented demonstrates “a complete lack of standards on the part of the Western media.” McGovern believes it was “a major mistake made by the leaker” to hand the documents over to the corporate media, instead of leaking them to trusted independent journalists.

“It seems the Western press has lost all sense of fairness. This would be humorous if it weren’t so serious. It seems even if Vladimir Putin was seen walking on water, the report in the Western media would come out as ‘Putin doesn’t know how to swim,’” McGovern said.

Annie Machon, a former MI5 agent, advised being cautious when reading news in the MSM, as there is always an agenda behind what is presented in those publications.

“It’s always worth taking a step back from whatever you read in the media – and seeing who’s funding this, what are the corporate interests behind what is being published in this particular outlet.”

“RT gets slated for that, and I think most western outlets could also be slated for the same reasons. The BBC is state funded, Fox News is corporate funded – there is always going to be some sort of agenda behind any editorial decisions on any medium there,” she stressed.

Machon also suggests that the journalists who broke the story concerning the Panama Papers leaks lost control of the story as they tried to maximize its impact to make it “breaking.”

More at.....

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