ONGOING: The Greatest Heist in History

From Bloomberg Businessweek

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States

Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.

Last September, at a law firm overlooking San Francisco Bay, Andrew Penney, a managing director at Rothschild & Co., gave a talk on how the world’s wealthy elite can avoid paying taxes.

Read the report here. 


Don Quixote

 

–’tis I, Don Quixote, fighting corporate windmills–Image from Pinterest

 

And From Spiegel Online

Oligarchs and dictators’ daughters apparently have a penchant for bunkering their assets on the British Virgin Islands. Barons and composers, on the other hand, seem to prefer the Cook Islands. To cheat on taxes, they create bogus firms with imaginative names like Tantris, Moon Crystal or Sequoia.

. . . and conservatives in the U.S. blame the poor and the working poor for being poor.

Can there be a better argument for voting for Bernie Sanders for president and progressive candidates for Congress?

 The greatest sin of humankind is indifference to poverty and suffering. Think about it! GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS! VOTE FOR PROGRESSIVES!

 


Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel featuring a trial of God. A bold story that takes a logical look at the god of the Abrahamic Religions.

Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?–from Plato’s dialogue, Euthyphro–a Socratic dialogue.

Is an act of God just and right because god does it, or does God do only that which is just and right?–Author’s paraphrase 

 

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. inspiredbythedivine1
    Apr 06, 2016 @ 12:18:53

    Go Bernie!

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  2. BroadBlogs
    Dec 21, 2016 @ 20:32:05

    So what do you think about the election outcome?

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    • Max T. Furr
      Dec 23, 2016 @ 11:36:47

      Hi Georgia. Thank you for asking my opinion–you really pushed my button.

      It is surreal. I feel like a prophet. In my novel, I wrote of neoconservatives taking all power in Washington after Obama’s presidency (Trump is, by all calculations, a neoconservative and probably even more nefarious than Dick Cheney).

      If you are interested and have the time, here is a rather lengthy excerpt, from which you can glean my full opinion, describing the rise of the neocons and how they gained power before and after the Obama years via what I call the “Ignoble Lie.” (Brackets I just now added for clarification):
      —————————————————–
      Having passed the building, Jeff glanced back at the structure and considered the root cause that brought about the final culture war, the subsequent primacy of the Corporation and the de facto fall of the republic.

      It began in the late 1960s with the emergence of a small group of graduate students from the University of Chicago, schooled [by Leo Strauss] in a Machiavellian political philosophy of having their desired ends justify their means of obtaining them, and that a Nietzschean will-to-power should be their primary motivating force.

      These were the neoconservatives. It was they who breathed life back into the ancient concept of the Big Lie as a useful, political tool, and they were quickly joined by disaffected Southern conservative Democrats who lamented their party’s push for civil rights.

      In addition to adopting a politic of subterfuge and power lust, the neocons embraced Ayn Rand’s Objectivism—a philosophy advocating that one’s actions were rational only when one’s self interest benefited over the interest of others. It was a glorification of selfishness and the neocons took it to heart.

      Their political philosophy, coupled with Rand’s Objectivism, paved the road to wealth and power for those resolute enough to take it. It was an open road to oligarchy—rule by the few and the wealthy—and the neocons proved themselves worthy of the task.

      Their concept of the Big Lie, however, was not the Noble Lie—the religious myth Plato suggested purely as a means of achieving and maintaining social justice within society. Their concept was altogether the reverse. Its purpose was not for the benefit of society, as they professed, but for the benefit of themselves. It was what Jeff thought of as the Ignoble Lie—a falsehood, or falsehoods, propagated as a means of manipulating politics and people in order to gain political power, personal fortune, and ultimately to replace the republic with an oligarchy. For Jeff, all who adopted the neoconservative worldview were by definition, oligarchs.

      They reminded him of classical Athens. The similarities between the Athenian oligarchs and today’s neocons were striking. Then, too, the oligarchs fought continual political battles for the right of the privileged and the wealthy few to rule the city-state. Their enemies were the liberal democrats who insisted that all men should have the same rights. It was Athens’ culture war, and oft-times quite bloody.

      It reminded Jeff of Plato. Disillusioned with Athenian politics, Plato opined that neither oligarchy nor democracy were suitable political systems to bring about social harmony.

      As Plato saw it, oligarchy brought about the social injustice of a ruling, wealthy elite whose primary concern was their own appetites. But democracy brought about social injustice as well because ordinary people had no understanding of how to manage the complexities of government, and as a consequence of their intellectual deficiency, they were easily deceived by the emotional rhetoric of self-serving politicians.

      Judging from the actions of the neocons, Jeff was in full agreement with Plato. Still, he was not sure if any political system could bring about social justice, given the dark side of human nature so manifest in oligarchs and tyrants of all generations.

      The first opportunity for the neocons to test the concept of the Ignoble Lie in political gamesmanship came with two seminal appointments of neocons by President Ford; one as his Chief of Staff [Dick Cheney]—his trusted gatekeeper and primary advisor—and the second was appointed to the office of Secretary of Defense [Donald Rumsfeld].

      The stage for their test had been set a few years earlier. President Nixon had followed up on President Eisenhower’s peace initiative with the Soviet Union. Nixon returned from Moscow with an arms control treaty and announced the beginnings of détente—a general easing of tensions. Nixon declared the United States and the Soviet Union had agreed to reduce the level of fear by reducing its causes.

      Such a reduction in fear, however, was a liberal ideal abhorrent to the oligarchs. In such a world, it would be far more difficult to manipulate their political associates and the voting public. And what was perhaps worse there would follow a reduction in defense spending, the result of which would be reduced profits for their corporate friends and that was simply unacceptable.

      Thus, after Nixon left office in disgrace and President Ford appointed the two oligarchs to their offices of authority and advisement, they set about the task of undermining the arms control treaty by way of the Ignoble Lie.

      They claimed they were in possession of information suggesting the Soviet Union was deceiving the world. According to them, the arms control agreement was in reality a ruse perpetrated to persuade America to lower its guard. They claimed, too, that the Soviets had secretly developed stealth, nuclear submarine technology, about which no one else knew, not even the CIA.

      The CIA called the claim a “complete fabrication.” They said they had no such evidence, and neither did the Secretary of Defense. Furthermore, they said reliable evidence suggested the Soviet Union was on the verge of political and economic collapse.

      The oligarchs, by then joined by others they had recommended for appointment, stuck to their ignoble lie, and fear won the day. They were able to scare the Ford administration into increasing defense spending, funneling billions more to their favorite defense contractors with whom these same oligarchs would later have financial connections.

      Yet, that success was only the beachhead. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the oligarchs became truly entrenched. President Reagan [himself a neocon] fully embraced the neoconservative political, social, and economic philosophies.

      Yet, even with the government controlled by oligarchs and policies moving their way, in a republic—a constitutionally limited, representative democracy—the support of the population had to be secured before the republic could be replaced by the oligarchy.

      Thus, since the greatest deterrent to political domination is a well informed, educated middle class, its destruction became top priority. The citizenry had to be reeducated such that they would willingly accept the dismantling of their own economic and intellectual underpinnings. It was a long-term strategy but the neocons had the patience.

      As the most effective means of reeducation, historically tried and proved, is a strong propaganda network, the Fairness Doctrine, which had prevailed upon networks to broadcast all sides of an argument, was ended. The traditional wall between news and advertising departments came down allowing corporate control over news content. Deregulation abolished limitations on how many, and what type of news outlets a single corporation could own.

      These measures allowed the building of the oligarchs’ propaganda network for one-way slanting of the news and the propagation of unchallenged falsehoods.

      The oligarchs, largely financed by Wall Street and the oil barons, then seeded radio and television airwaves with self-serving, corporate propagandists, and consolidated their “news” network from which they told the public that the other networks—the “liberal media”—mislead them, and that they, themselves, where unbiased and evenhanded.

      For control and consistency in messaging, propagandists across the nation received their talking points directly from the oligarchs in charge of the conservatives’ supreme council—the Republican National Committee.

      To lend an air of legitimacy and credibility to the propaganda, wealthy corporatists bankrolled policy foundations known as “think tanks” to churn out misleading studies and reports on the economy, on foreign policy, and on illegal immigration, thus obscuring reality and ramping up the level of fear. Even networks with a past record of objective reporting were taken in by the “studies” emanating from the think tanks and echoed by corporate propagandists.

      Thusly the neoconservatives poisoned America’s collective pool of ideas, infecting the media with disinformation about their own goals and about their opponents’ desire to convert capitalism to socialism, and to confiscate their guns and Bibles.
      In states where the oligarchs held power, they manipulated the voting system by gerrymandering and passing voter suppression laws that singled out the poor, the sick, and the elderly, thereby insuring their control of the states and bolstering their power in Washington.

      Yet, all the while, most congressional liberals remained silent, never publically giving voice to their suspicions—if indeed they had any—of what was happening. Perhaps they simply didn’t believe such things could happen in America. Perhaps, to them, the neocons were conducting the same old down and dirty politics in which they, themselves, had occasionally engaged. Consequently, those few who did voice concerns about the neocons’ true intent were labeled conspiracy theorists and pushed to the periphery of Congress.

      For Americans who had not been seduced by the corporate propaganda network, the G.W. Bush administration’s policies clearly exposed the dark underbelly of neoconservative politics.

      These Americans learned of their government’s ignoble lies that led America into its first preemptive war for oil and revenge, and the domestic spy network that focused on liberals. They learned also, of the politization of the Department of Justice and its focus on the prosecution and elimination of political opponents.

      They learned of the global network of torture camps that brought shame to the nation and created more enemies, and they learned, too, of the unpunished, corporate war profiteering.

      They understood that the reason behind the rampant deregulation of Wall Street was the eradication of worker and consumer protections for the sole purpose of higher corporate profits, all the while evading taxes—giving nothing back. They could see the redistribution of the wealth from the middle class to the already wealthy, and correctly deduced the endgame was nothing less than the destruction of the American republic and its replacement by an oligarchy.

      Jeff recalled a chilling comment he’d read in the New York Times back in 2004. According to an article by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Suskind, an unnamed top advisor to President Bush told him, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      There could not be a greater tribute to neoconservative political philosophy than that statement.

      Yet, even in the face of all this, a large swath of the public was led to believe that it was those godless liberals who caused it all by supporting unions and helping the poor—those lazy people; the sick, the disabled, and the elderly, who were just scamming the system and taking the workers’ money.

      They believed it and continued to defend deregulation even as Wall Street sucked the financial blood out of them, leaving many jobless, and foreclosing on their homes. After all, their leaders were godly people, often speaking of Jesus, and saying, “God bless America.” Leaders like that wouldn’t lie, unless they were liberal.

      The tipping point came during the Obama years with the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision, which opened the door to legalized, corporate electioneering. Consequently, an avalanche of deceitful political advertising added significant velocity to the nation’s march to oligarchy and, after President Obama left office, effectively brought to an unheralded end the great American experiment in a government of, for, and by the people.
      ———————————————–

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  3. BroadBlogs
    Jan 10, 2017 @ 17:47:53

    Amazing parallel. And scary, scary stuff.

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  4. BroadBlogs
    Jan 13, 2017 @ 18:42:32

    I’m worried too: Plutocracy moving us toward favoring the rich (which libertarianism does too — since it favors the powerful). Fake news. People manipulated by right-wing media. Trump’s crazy. Intelligence vs Trump (CIA and intelligent people). And as automation takes over jobs — redistribution of income from middle-class to rich: we better hope we don’t go too libertarian. The rich will lose all their sales too. maybe that’ll move us away from libertarianism.

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    • Max T. Furr
      Jan 14, 2017 @ 10:15:37

      Yes. Unfortunately, when the next economic crash comes, the wealthy will lose some money but still have all the connections to recover (or get eaten by those who did survive and remained wealthy).

      I’m trying to post a video of Rachel Maddow’s first segment on 1/11. If anyone has any question at all about why Trump is very friendly with Putin and has nominated Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, this will leave no doubt.

      For some reason, I’ve not been able to post even though I have video capability. I’ll try again but may have to contact WP.

      Like

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JoAnn Chateau

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