Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6: What's going to happen in passionless New Brunswick

For those who have wondered why so few Americans were listed in the Panama Papers as tax evaders, here's why.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/06/panama-papers-us-tax-havens-delaware
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And here's the Trudeau government record on tax havens.   Zip.

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/01/22/a-clampdown-on-tax-havens-still-proves-elusive/
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And aother example of Trudeau's casual approach.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/05/16/corporate-tax-havens-canada_n_7293410.html
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And another example of Canada's casual approach.

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/04/06/homegrown-loopholes-cost-canada-more-than-panama-tax-havens-walkom.html

According to this, there are 350 names of Canadian tax-evaders just in the  Panama Papers. My, it would be nice to see the Irving press publish those names.

Getting your own tax returns done? Better get them in on time or there'll be hell to pay.
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The CBC had several stories and comments on this. Here's a sample.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/inversions-panama-revenue-quandary-1.3521358
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Over much of the world, (but not New Brunswick) most of the news media have many stories and commentaries about the Panama Papers. Some say less than they should about the sums involved and what they mean. And few name the big killers, the corporate bosses who have put away an estimated 30 trillions dollars or more, possibly, much more.

But news most news media still give it a lot of coverage because this is a historic change in society - at least as big as the the fall of Rome - probably much bigger, and certainly bigger in extent. The very rich have always abused others, and have always built their wealth on that abuse.  One needs only to look at the industrial revolution in Britain, the industrialization of  the U.S. from 1850 on, the effective destruction of native peoples in the Americas,  the miserable lives and early deaths of the poor in  U.S. and Canadian slums, the murders of hundreds of thousands of innocent people (as in Guatemala) to keep them as cheap labour.

We and our news media should have known this story for decades at least. It was never a secret. When Castro got control of Cuba, none of our news media asked why he had done that and why the Cuban people cheered it. When he was able to provide free education all the way through university, nobody asked how he could do that when even the wealthy U.S. and Canada couldn't. And he could afford  a medicare system when the U.S. couldn't. And this was sustained through decades of trade sanctions that were a great  hardship on Cuba. How was that possible?

Because he because he nationalized all those blood-sucking corporations who had made themselves rich by making Cuba poor.

Our news media have known about tax havens for a very long time. Our politicians have known about them. Why are we suddenly hearing about it only now? We have been systematically robbed for many years by the greediest and most immoral people on this earth.  Because of them, millions have died of hunger, exposure, and poor health. And millions have died in wars to make the wealthy wealthier. No dictator has ever matched that rate of murder.

And it won't stop until they have all the money, and the rest of us have nothing. That's not an exaggeration. Rapists don't stop after the first time. We have to recognize that this is a turning point in  history. This is world conquest of a type and of a horror we have never before seen.

There are things we prefer not to see, things we just ignore or downplay. We  would be very foolish, indeed, to let this one pass with a shrug.

Of course, most people - being people - will dismiss all this as unimportant. So we'll forget about the the mass suffering and killing this will lead to. After all, we see (some of)  it now in Latin America and Africa and the Middile East. And we don't care.

So think of another reality. If we don't deal with this, we are going to see severe social breakdown in North America - and it's anybody's guess what  people will will lead the breakdown.

This is the biggest robbery in history. It's a severe robberty of almost all of us with much, much more of the same to come.
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But for the  editorial writer of the Irving press, the big story is that Westjet will 'create'  400 new jobs for New Brunwick.And we'll be partners because we're giving the 'job creators' a forgiveable loan.  For Norbert, the great issue of the day is the effect of legalizing marijuana. Brian Cormier does have a column on taxes. But it doesn't mention tax havens or any nasty stuff. Roughly, it says taxes are good for us because they get our streets cleared of snow. The guest commentary is one about a chemical used in cans to preserve foods. It says it might be bad for us. But we shouldn't do anything.  For Alec Bruce, the great issue of the day is whether it should be legal to smoke marijuana in a cafe. Very gripping and thought-provoking.

In section A news, there is nothing that anybody could possibly give a damn about.

Section B has one story on tax havens. It's from The Associated Press. And it says nothing whatever. I guess the paper couldn't spare a reporter to question Mr. Irving on the issue. Of course, he wouldn't have anything to do with tax havens. He's a phil-an-thro-pist. And he operates a church in summer. I'll bet Presbyterians are poppin' their buttons over that.
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(I inserted the Irving press in the middle of today's blog because my breakfast paper didn't arrive until noon.)

_Now, away from the mould and intellectual flab of the irving press to an opinion that really caught my eye.

When the Panama Papers story broke, I mentioned some reservations about it in my blog. I was suspicious of  some of the donors listed for the agency that released the story. The Rockefeller and Ford Foundations do not normally fund studies that are critical of big business. As well, no prominent Americans were in the story. The focus has been on Putin though, in fact, Putin is not mentioned in the Papers. It is acquaintances of his who are mentioned. This is like condemning Gallant and Trudeau for knowing Canadians who have tax havens. (It's like condemning me because I knew a man who had murdered and dissected one of his hookers. I also knew a mobster who went missing one day, and was found in a lake. He was wrapped in chains. So sue me.)

Of course, Putin would almost certainly have a good  deal of information on who has tax havens and where. After all, he has a huge spy nework. By the same token,   Obama must have known all about it. And  prime minister Cameron of Britain. And Justin Trudeau. And Stephen Harper.

It's very odd that this story happened to be about a tax haven with no prominent Americans involved, and with a high proportion of Russians and Chinese. It's odd that the reporting should focus on Putin when he isn't mentioned in the papers.

In sum, I think the Panama Papers story is true. I also think it's selectively true, and its release is really propaganda And I don't expect we're going to see any significant action from any government.

And, a safe bet, the Irving press will let this story die.

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Dance-to-the-Panama-Papers-Limited-Hangout-Leak-20160405-0036.html
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Over 200 years ago, the industrial revolution took people off the land to put them into the new factories. It began in Britain where corporate bosses paid starvation wages for workers who had to live and to work in the middle of filth, hunger and the absence of sanitation. The Britain of the industrial revolution created the wealthiest men in the world of their time. For the rest, there were only some of the worst and most dangerous slums in history. And both Canada and the U.S. copied Britain in the nineteenth century.

We are now moving beyond that industrial age. We're in the age of bleeding all the world's money into the tax havens of a very few, the age of robotization of the work place which will be allowed to cut costs while impoverishing the general population or the world
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My grandmother grew up in one of the flats in The Gorbals of Glasgow, in a building with one toilet for 50 tenants, and with water available only from a pump on the street. Some buildings had just shack outhouses in the street. Such places could be found in British cities as late as the 1950s. Some people just used empty lots or dark corners. This was Britain at the height of its economic dominance in the world.

Google The Gorbals Glasgow. Most of the pictures are of a Gorbals that has been largely demolished and rebuilt. But the older pictures give a sense of the filth and poverty that existed a century and more ago. Notice the garbage on the streets. Notice the faces of the people.

The story of the the Panama Papers is not just another story. It's a warning of where we are going if we don't wake up.

Hint: voting Conservative in the next provincial election won't change anything. Nor will the NDP as it's presently structured.

Oh, and the New Brunswick habit of ignoring the problem won't make it go away.
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