HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Jefferson23 » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 40 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Connecticut
Home country: USA
Current location: nice place
Member since: Thu May 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Number of posts: 30,099

Journal Archives

Global Tax Haven Network Means Americans Can Hide Wealth At Home

Economist James Henry describes the network of international banks, law firms, accountants, and trust companies that allow wealth to be hidden in tax havens like Delaware

Running time, 7 minutes approx. No transcript available.


James S. Henry is a leading economist, attorney and investigative journalist who has written extensively about global issues. James served as Chief Economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. As an investigative journalist his work has appeared in numerous publications like Forbes, The Nation and The New York Times. He was the lead researcher of the recently released report titled 'The Price of Offshore Revisited.'

Krugman on the Corruption of our Nation via Perverse Incentives

By William K. Black
April 4, 2016 Bloomington, MN

Paul Krugman April Fools’ Day column launched another attack on Bernie Sanders. In it he announces that he, a strong Hilary Clinton supporter, is “Dad” and gets to set the rules for candidates – “it’s time to lay out some guidelines for good and bad behavior.” This is a lot like John McEnroe giving lectures on tennis etiquette. Two sentences later, Krugman mocks voters for Sanders in “very white states,” which is a pretty clear example of “bad behavior.” Tellingly, Krugman is oblivious to his bad behavior. Krugman ends with this patronizing and insulting sentence: “Sanders doesn’t need to drop out, but he needs to start acting responsibly.” Krugman is obviously itching to instruct Bernie to “drop out” and hand the contest to his candidate.

First, the Sanders campaign needs to stop feeding the right-wing disinformation machine. Engaging in innuendo suggesting, without evidence, that Clinton is corrupt is, at this point, basically campaigning on behalf of the RNC.

There is something quite wonderful to using false “innuendo” to falsely declare a rival candidate guilty of using “innuendo.” But it gets better – for Krugman’s “second” basis for attacking Bernie and his staff is that they have a “conflict of interest.”

It’s important to realize that there are some real conflicts of interest here. For Sanders campaign staff, and also for anyone who has been backing his insurgency, it’s been one heck of a ride, and they would understandably like it to go on as long as possible. But we’ve now reached the point where what’s fun for the campaign isn’t at all the same as what’s good for America.

That too is a paragraph that exemplifies the true meaning of April Fools’ Day. I’ll start with the “conflict of interest.” Under Krugman’s idiosyncratic definition of “conflict of interest” any candidate behind in an electoral contest should drop out, or at least praise his or her opponent. Krugman’s claim is self-refuting – and Hilary or Bill Clinton were both “guilty” of a “conflict of interest” under Krugman’s preposterous definition of that term.

in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/04/krugman-corruption-nation-via-perverse-incentives.html

White-Collar Criminologists Answer the call of Conventional Macroeconomists--Bill K Black

Full title: White-Collar Criminologists Answer the call of Conventional Macroeconomists: An Open Letter to Dr. Kartik Athreya, Research Director of the Richmond Fed

By William K. Black
April 3, 2016 Minneapolis, Minnesota

I want to thank two prominent “freshwater” macroeconomists, Dr. Narayana Kocherlakota (until recently the President of the Minneapolis Fed and previously the Chair of the University of Minnesota’s economics department) and Dr. Kartik Athreya (Research Director of the Richmond Fed) for their article (2010) and book (2013) , respectively, designed to convey the current status of macroeconomics. Reading their descriptions, and reviewing the work of Oliver Williamson, Roger Myerson, and Leonid Hurwicz in light of the discussion of macroeconomics has made it clear to me that the central difficulties in micro and macroeconomics are with concepts that are the core of what we study as white-collar criminologists and what I dealt with as a financial regulator. There is, therefore, an opportunity for substantial advances should economics draw on the findings of the discipline (white-collar criminology) and the insights of the professionals (successful financial regulators) with the preeminent expertise in these problem areas. Athreya also stresses the key role of law and how the effort to contain fraud explains significant portions of the legal rules for commerce. I also have expertise in law.

Since I combine those three forms of expertise and teach various microeconomics courses, I thought I would write this open letter to orthodox macroeconomists and macroeconomists. For reasons that I will discuss, the perfect person to address is Athreya, with a “cc” to Kocherlakota.

Where economists have drawn on our insights, the results have proven successful. Indeed, I will show that one of the greatest opportunities for the advancement of “modern” macro (and micro) economics would be to cease ignoring George Akerlof and Paul Romer’s 1993 article “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.” I can think of no other field in which a Nobel Laureate, writing in his area of greatest expertise (fraud is the most damaging form of “asymmetrical information”), who proved correct and explicitly warned his field about the need to focus on “looting” (via “accounting control fraud”) would be religiously ignored by scholars in his or her discipline.

Athreya’s Twin, Interactive “Central Impediment[s]”

remainder in full: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2016/04/white-collar-criminologists-answer-call-conventional-macroeconomists-open-letter-dr-kartik-athreya-research-director-richmond-fed.html#more-10196

Democracy Awakening: April 16-18


In April 2016, more than 200 organizations representing a diverse array of movements and hundreds of thousands of people are coming together to demand a democracy that works for all of us – a nation where our votes are not denied and money doesn’t buy access and power. Join us as we converge upon Washington, D.C. for an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and pressing for a Congress of Conscience through non-violent direct action and advocacy. Together we will build a nation that is truly of, by and for the people.


American democracy is premised on the fundamental tenet, “one person, one vote,” but since the very beginning, we’ve had to fight for every voice to be heard and every vote to be counted.

Today, we’re fighting for change on many fronts – for action on climate change, racial justice, workers’ rights and fair pay, safe food and water, health care, peace, immigration reform and improvements in education. But an array of barriers are keeping regular Americans shut out of the political process, from restrictive voting laws suppressing the voting rights of people of color, seniors, students, and low-income Americans, to a campaign finance landscape that allows big money to increasingly shape elections and the policy-making process.

For both money in politics and voting rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has eviscerated laws that once protected the voices and votes of everyday Americans. And for both issues, Congress has solutions in front of them, but has so far failed to act. And now the Senate is blocking fair consideration of the nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, including timely hearings and a vote by the full Senate.

It’s time for us to come together and claim a democracy where every voice is heard and every vote counts equally — in other words, a democracy that works for all of us.

It’s time for a Democracy Awakening.

That’s why we are mobilizing. And that’s why we need you to join us.
Our Demands

We need a Congress that stands up for democracy rather than stands in its way. Here’s the agenda we’re calling for Congress to pass:

Fair consideration of the nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, including timely hearings and a vote by the full Senate.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 2867, S. 1659), legislation that would restore the protections against voting discrimination that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in its Shelby County v. Holder decision, and make additional, critical updates to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Voter Empowerment Act (H.R. 12), legislation to modernize voter registration, prevent deceptive practices that keep people from the ballot box and ensure equal access to voting for all.

The Democracy For All Amendment (H.J.Res. 22, S.J.Res. 5), a constitutional amendment that would overturn U.S. Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and allow elected representatives to set commonsense limits on money in elections.

The Government By the People Act/Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 20 and S. 1538), a small donor empowerment measure that would encourage and amplify small contributions from everyday Americans.

Our reform agenda is aimed at creating a democracy where every voice is heard and every vote counts equally — in other words, a democracy that works for all of us.



Growth is Useless Without Equal Economic Distribution

Robert Pollin of PERI challenges Paul Krugman's assertion that Sanders' economic proposals are unrealistic and questions conventional wisdom on economic growth - April 2, 2016


Robert Pollin is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is also the founder and President of PEAR (Pollin Energy and Retrofits), an Amherst, MA-based green energy company operating throughout the United States. His books include The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (co-authored 1998); Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity (2003); An Employment-Targeted Economic Program for South Africa (co-authored 2007); A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States (co-authored 2008), Back to Full Employment (2012), Green Growth (2014), Global Green Growth (2015) and Greening the Global Economy (forthcoming 2015). He has worked recently as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and numerous non-governmental organizations in several countries on various aspects of building high-employment green economies. He has also directed projects on employment creation and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa for the United Nations Development Program, and has worked with many U.S. non-governmental organizations on creating living wage statutes at both the statewide and municipal levels. He is presently a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the European Commission project on Financialization, Economy, Society, and Sustainable Development (FESSUD). He was selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the "100 Leading Global Thinkers for 2013."

Video only, 9 minutes approx.

Bernie Sanders’ Bronx Rally Proves the Power of Live Campaigning

Bernie Sanders speaks at a rally in St. Mary's Park in the Bronx, March 31, 2016.Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images

Tracy Peguero was shoeless and searching for her other boot.

It was an odd place to lose a boot, of course, standing there in the middle of a public park in the Bronx, surrounded by thousands of strangers. But the boots had about a two-inch heel on them, and Peguero, a 17-year-old student at Mott Haven Village Prep, didn’t want them to get in the way of all the jumping up and down and dancing she and her classmates planned to do that night.

For Peguero, this night was a rare opportunity to see a presidential candidate—in this case, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders—up close, just blocks away from their high school, and some silly heels weren’t going to stop her from joining in what was, for many Bronx natives, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As Peguero’s history teacher Melissa Cohen put it, “No one ever comes to the South Bronx.”

It wasn’t the first time I heard that sentiment on Thursday night as 18,500 Sanders supporters gathered in St. Mary’s Park, waiting for him to take the stage. “Things like this don’t happen in the Bronx, and I was born and raised here,” said Pablo Muriel, another teacher from nearby Alfred E. Smith High School, who brought several dozen students out to the event.

“He’s making us visible again,” said Dhalimu Robinson, a South Bronx small business owner with an “I Heart Bernie” pin affixed to his lapel. “He’s here during the primary season. He’s not just saying I’ll get to them later, and then forgetting about us like every other candidate usually does.”

It’s true. While primary season may seem long to the rest of us, it’s still not long enough for candidates to touch every corner of the United States. So, they tend to visit the places where they believe they’ll have the most impact—that is, areas with high voter turnout rates or big communities of wealthy donors.

In places that have neither, like the South Bronx, they’ve been relying on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other digital channels to communicate with voters. In many ways, these platforms have been revelatory, giving candidates the ability to campaign everywhere by delivering targeted messages to hard-to-reach voters.

But while social media may give candidates the ability to campaign everywhere in the country from anywhere in the country, Sanders’ event in the Bronx this week proves that in an often overlooked neighborhood like the South Bronx, there’s no digital substitute to just showing up.

“No other candidate has come to the Bronx to express himself,” said Kenny Flores, 17, one of Muriel’s students. “That’s what it’s about, coming to the Bronx and showing you want to change the world.”

According to Muriel, Sanders’ visit was the talk of the neighborhood in the days leading up to the event, and outside the park, it’s obvious the area is energized. That afternoon, as a line of people snaked around the park, a group of enterprising grade schoolers stood outside PS 277 soliciting donations for Flint, Michigan on the sidewalk. Later, the corner pizza joint was filled to capacity with Sanders supporters grabbing a last minute slice, and an employee from one local gym handed out flyers, saying, “You feel the Bern? Then feel the burn.”

As he leaned against a signpost, taking in the neighborhood’s sudden transformation, I heard one onlooker shout, “Yo! Bernie’s bringing em in! Bernie’s doing his thing!”

The South Bronx is, in many ways, the encapsulation of Sanders’ stump speech. Just 10 miles away from Wall Street, the Vermont senator’s favorite target, more than 40 percent of people live in poverty in the neighborhood of Mott Haven, where the event was held. Just weeks ago, a 20-year old man was murdered in a gang fight in this very park.

By kicking off his New York City campaign here, Sanders made Clinton’s 1,500 person event at Harlem’s Apollo theater, where everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson has performed, look predictable by comparison.

“This is one of the areas of the Bronx where you can see the disparities of income inequality,” said Erika Andiola, Sanders’ national Latino press secretary, who delivered a riveting opening address about her experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States. “You can really see the reality of our country here.”

And yet, Sanders’ central obstacle to winning the New York primary on April 19 will be cutting through the name recognition that former New York Senator Clinton has in this and other predominantly minority neighborhoods in New York. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 66 percent of black Democrats in New York back Clinton, versus 31 percent for Sanders.

In his opening speech Thursday night, Sanders supporter and director Spike Lee admitted as much, saying, “We have to talk to our parents, because the older generation, they on this Clinton thing.”

Sure, the Sanders campaign can (and does) spread the word about the senator on social media, but the people of the Bronx could just as easily tune it out. A nearly 19,000 person block party smack in the middle of the Bronx was pretty hard to miss. What’s more, it only fueled the already impressive social media operation the Sanders campaign has built, as thousands of Facebook posts and Tweets shared from the event made the hashtag #BernieIntheBronx start trending.

Estefania Marmolejos, 16, is one of the 1.1 million people who follow Sanders on Instagram. And while she said it’s been cool to follow the campaign online, in the park she was literally wiggling with excitement, her smile so wide it looked like it probably hurt. “It’s crazy. I come here every single day, and it’s just like, a political figure? Here?” she said. “It’s amazing!”

Excitement like that is ubiquitous at Sanders events. In fact, one reason why live rallies are so critical to Sanders, in particular, is because of the nature of the campaign he is running. Sanders is fond of saying his campaign is “Not about me. It’s about you,” and anyone who’s ever been to one of his events knows that much is true. Whether it’s at a rally in Iowa City or in the South Bronx, Sanders’ crowds tend to be as excited by each other as they are by the candidate himself.

By now, they know what Sanders will say. He rarely strays from message. But it’s the energy of the audience that feels raw and new each time—the kind of energy that makes you want to toss off your shoes in the middle of a public park and jump around.

Try getting that reaction from Twitter.


Ezra Klein and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Tax Calculator

March 30, 2016

By Jim Naureckas

The website Vox (3/25/16) has what editor-in-chief Ezra Klein describes as an “excellent tax calculator” that, in its headline’s promise, “Tells You How Each Presidential Candidate’s Tax Plan Affects You.”

Actually, it does no such thing; it’s a gimmick that is entirely useless except as a deceptive advertisement for Hillary Clinton

As a gimmick, it’s pretty simple. You put in your annual income (actually, your “expanded cash income,” which you probably don’t know even if you know what it is), whether you’re single or married and whether you have no kids, one kid, or two or more kids. And then it tells you what Donald Trump’s, Ted Cruz’s, Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ “plans mean for your federal tax liability.”

Let’s try it out with the US median household income ($43,585), married, two kids. You get a graphic that looks like this:

“Pay $5,110 more”—holy smokes! Stop the revolution, I want to get off! Why didn’t someone (besides Vox’s Alvin Chang) tell me that “Sanders wants to implement massive increases across the board, including on the poor”?

Maybe because he doesn’t—and you wouldn’t pay $5,110 more, or anything like it.

Mostly, that big number you get for the Sanders tax hike when you plug in your income is the payroll tax that employers will pay to cover the cost of a single-payer healthcare system. As the Tax Policy Center, which worked with Vox to create the calculator, explains:

We’re including payroll taxes, excise taxes and corporate income taxes as well as individual income taxes…. Most economists think employers pass their share of the tax on to workers in the form of lower wages.

With all due respect to most economists, this is dubious. Unless you work at the rare enterprise that does not have profit as its primary goal, your bosses are already paying you as little as they think they can get away with. If they get a new cost associated with your employment, they may try to raise their prices. They may look for other areas where they can cut costs. They may even decide that they can no longer afford to employ you. But what they won’t do is suddenly realize that they could have been paying you thousands of dollars less all along without you quitting. (They may even be forced to accept a lower profit rate, though that’s something “most economists” seem to exclude a priori.)

But that’s not even the real problem with Vox’s calculator. Sanders’ plan is based on using a new payroll tax to pay for a single-payer healthcare system, which will relieve businesses of the considerable burden of paying for employee healthcare. Since just about everyone agrees that single-payer is cheaper than what we have now (including Ezra Klein, before Sanders started running against Clinton on a single-payer platform), in theory business as a whole should come out ahead. But certainly you need to take into account that business would be getting a big break on expenses at the same time that it’s getting a new tax, right?

No, Vox thinks you don’t need to take that into account. From the calculator’s FAQ: “The Tax Policy Center’s model does not include spending programs and thus can only show the effects of tax changes.”

Imagine a website—maybe one that seems to have a pronounced pro-Sanders tilt—creating a “Benefits Calculator” that promises to tell you how each candidate’s benefits plan affects you. The calculator guesstimates how much your employer will save with a single-payer plan and, using the same dubious economics, implies that that savings is money in your bank account. What about your employer’s big tax hike? It’s a benefits calculator—it can’t show the effect of tax changes!

Ezra Klein would be the first to say that a website that constructed a machine for telling people that Bernie Sanders would give them thousands of dollars was engaging in partisan hackery. Yet when Vox does the same thing in reverse, it’s data-driven journalism. Or something.


US Intel Vets Warn Against Torture

Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:14

By Ray McGovern. This article was first published on Consortium News.

Experienced intelligence professionals reaffirm that torture – while popular with “tough” politicians – doesn’t work in getting accurate and actionable information, says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

To those living “outside the Beltway” it may seem counterintuitive that those of us whose analysis has been correct on key issues that the U.S. government got criminally wrong – like the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – would be blacklisted from “mainstream” media and ostracized by the Smart People of the Establishment. But, alas, that’s the way it is.

Forget the continuing carnage in which hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions made refugees. Within the mainstream U.S. media and around Washington’s major policy circles, there is little serious dialogue, much less debate about what went so hideously wrong; and Americans still innocently wonder – regarding the people on the receiving end of the blunderbuss violence – “why they hate us.”

After more than 13 years of presenting thoughtful critiques to senior officials – and having little discernible impact – we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity are strongly tempted to take some solace in having made a good-faith effort to spread some truth around – and, now, go play golf. But the stakes are too high. We can’t in good conscience approach the first tee without having tried one more time.


How politicians duck the blame for terrorism

The French and British governments enabled Isis to grow, but the media lets them off the hook

Patrick Cockburn

Saturday 19 March 2016

The capture of Salah Abdeslam, thought to be the sole surviving planner of the Paris massacre, means that the media is focusing once again on the threat of terrorist attack by Islamic State. Questions are asked about why the most wanted man in Europe was able to elude the police for so long, even though he was living in his home district of Molenbeek in Brussels. Television and newspapers ask nervously about the chances of Isis carrying out another atrocity aimed at dominating the news agenda and showing that it is still in business.

The reporting of the events in Brussels is in keeping with that after the January (Charlie Hebdo) and November Paris attacks and the Tunisian beach killings by Isis last year. For several days there is blanket coverage by the media as it allocates time and space far beyond what is needed to relate developments. But then the focus shifts abruptly elsewhere and Isis becomes yesterday’s story, treated as if the movement has ceased to exist or at least lost its capacity to affect our lives.

It is not as if Isis has stopped killing people in large numbers since the slaughter in Paris on 13 November; it is, rather, that it is not doing so in Europe. I was in Baghdad on 28 February when two Isis suicide bombers on motorcycles blew themselves up in an outdoor mobile phone market in Sadr City, killing 73 people and injuring more than 100. On the same day, dozens of Isis fighters riding in pick-ups with heavy machine guns mounted in the back attacked army and police outposts in Abu Ghraib, site of the notorious prison on the western outskirts of Baghdad. There was an initial assault by at least four suicide bombers, one driving a vehicle packed with explosives into a barracks, and fighting went on for hours around a burning grain silo.

The outside world scarcely noticed these bloody events because they seem to be part of the natural order in Iraq and Syria. But the total number of Iraqis killed by these two attacks – and another double suicide bombing of a Shia mosque in the Shuala district of Baghdad four days earlier – was about the same as the 130 people who died in Paris at the hands of Isis last November.


Obama’s Break with the Establishment ( Foreign Policy ) Vote for Bernie Sanders

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 07:46

By Gareth Porter. This article was first published on Consortium News.

President Obama, with his characteristic diffidence, has announced his “liberation” from the Washington foreign-policy “playbook,” but the national security elite is already striking back, writes Gareth Porter.

The biggest story in Jeffrey Goldberg’s 20,000-word report on “The Obama Doctrine” is President Barack Obama’s open break with the foreign policy establishment.

The critique of orthodox national security policy thinking that Obama outlined in interviews with Goldberg goes farther than anything delivered on the record by a sitting president. It showed that Obama’s view on how to define and advance U.S. “national security” diverges sharply from those of the orthodox views of national security bureaucracy and Washington foreign policy think tanks on U.S. “credibility,” the real interests the United States in the Middle East and how the United States should respond to terrorism.

It was the controversy surrounding his decision in the 2013 Syrian crisis not to authorize airstrikes against government forces that provoked Obama to go public with his position in that broader struggle. The foreign policy elite in Washington has issued a steady drumbeat of opinion pieces portraying Obama’s failure to launch a cruise missile attack against the Syrian air force and its air defense system in 2013 as a major blow to the U.S. role in the world because it forfeited U.S. “credibility.”

Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 40 Next »