Published on Dec 23, 2012
Global investigations, protests and strikes highlight need for change at world’s biggest private employer
- Wal-Mart’s lastest FCPA disclosure (December 2012) (fcpablog.com)
- Wal-Mart CEO Says Low Prices, Plant Safety Are Compatible (bloomberg.com)
- Wal-Mart will test FCPA enforcement in new ways (fcpablog.com)
- Wal-Mart protesters call for workers’ rights (proseandthorn.wordpress.com)
- Wal-Mart plays role of ‘aggressive and creative corrupter’ in Mexico (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Wal-Mart: Probe continues in Mexico bribery case (metronews.ca)
- Persistence, Bribes Got Wal-Mart Into Mexican Town (npr.org)
When Mathew Martoma was confronted by an FBI agent on the front lawn of his Boca Raton (Fla.) mansion last year with allegations of insider trading, he was so distressed that he fainted. But apparently it wasn’t enough to compel the former SAC Capital portfolio manager to cooperate with federal investigators. That was only the first of several opportunities Martoma has been given to “flip” and turn on his former boss, SAC founder Steven Cohen, according to a person familiar with the investigation. So far, Martoma has declined to cooperate at every opportunity, and time is running out for him to do so. Martoma was charged on Nov. 20 with making $276 million in illegal profits and avoided losses trading stocks of the pharmaceutical companies Elan (ELN) and Wyeth (PFE) while working at SAC. Martoma says he is innocent. No charges have been filed against Cohen.
“We have been remarkably successful in convincing persons to cooperate with the government, and provide evidence to us, and in a court of law,” said Robert Khuzami, the director of the enforcement division at the Securities and Exchange Commission, during a press conference to announce the charges against Martoma. “You cannot trust your partners in crime to keep your secrets.”
- Gasparino Thinks He Knows Why Mathew Martoma Won’t Turn Against Steve Cohen (businessinsider.com)
- Martoma Refusing To Provide Information About Steve Cohen: Report (valuewalk.com)
- Mathew Martoma Is Sharing Documents With The Government: Report (valuewalk.com)
- Why Hasn’t Ex-SAC Capital Manager Mathew Martoma Turned on Steve Cohen? (businessweek.com)
- SAC Said to Tell Clients SEC Has Put It on Notice Over Trading (bloomberg.com)
- Citigroup Unit Said to Advise Clients Against SAC Funds – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- SAC Gets Added Scrutiny in InterMune Trading Probe (bloomberg.com)
- REPORT: SEC Could Extend Claims To Steve Cohen Himself (businessinsider.com)
- The Government’s Challenge In Going After Steve Cohen (forbes.com)
- The Feds Are Closing In on Steve Cohen (nymag.com)
1. Only THREE PERCENT of the very rich are entrepreneurs.
According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us.
In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.
3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world’s Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that’s $8 to $12 trillion in U.S. money stashed in far-off hiding places.
Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.
4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.
After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes.
U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They’ve passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers’ payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it’s 22 cents.
5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.
That’s enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders.
That’s enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN’s World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food.
For the free-market advocates who say “they’ve earned it”: Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.
6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit.
Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion.
Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.
7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.
The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That’s much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500).
Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.
8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.
- BuzzFlash on How Bad It’s Gotten (seniorsforademocraticsociety.wordpress.com)
- Ten Numbers The Rich Would Like Fudged (nationofchange.org)
- Ten Numbers the 1% Don’t Want You to Know (caelumetterra.wordpress.com)
- Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged (otpglobal.wordpress.com)
- To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income (nytimes.com)
- To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income (taxprof.typepad.com)
- Why Income Inequality Went Missing in the 2012 Campaign – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Five ways corporate greed is bankrupting America (salon.com)
- Is wealth inequality a real menace for our long-term prosperity? [Lucas Wyrsch] (ecademy.com)
Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It
Global Community – Activism : Internet Neutrality – Censorship – Hacking – Collection of Personal Data -Anti-Corrption – Freedom of Information
Published on Sep 30, 2012 by MonkeyOneHundred
A documentary on the workings and beliefs of the self-described “hacktivist” collective, Anonymous.
We Are Legion – The Story of the Hacktivists (2012)
- List of PH websites defaced by hacktivists (technology.inquirer.net)
- Cyber Attacks from Hacktivist Groups Becoming More Potent (prweb.com)
Politics and Legislation
Egypt: As Muslim Brotherhood Claims Election Victory, Military Strips President of Power
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by democracynow
DemocracyNow.org – Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Egypt on the country’s growing political crisis. Former president Hosni Mubarak is on life support, both candidates claim to have won last weekend’s election and the ruling military council has seized greater power. Official presidential election results are not expected to be announced until Thursday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested Tuesday night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in a rally called by the Muslim Brotherhood, expressing outrage over the army’s decree late Sunday that it would seize all legislative powers. “Right now, the country has no constitution, no parliament, and an incoming president that will have scant power,” Kouddous says. “The military council is really controlling the key branches of state … [It's] perhaps a fitting end to this nonsensical transition that we have seen over the last 16 months.”
See our recent reports by Sharif Abdel Kouddous from Egypt: http://www.democracynow.org/topics/egypt
Live: Tim Friend on latest Greece developments
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish
Greece’s new prime minister has vowed to pull the country back from the brink of bankruptcy. New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras was sworn-in after striking a deal to form a new coalition government. It draws a line under a protracted political crisis that cast doubt over Greece’s future in the Eurozone. Al Jazeera’s Tim Friend joins us from the Greek capital.
Why 35,000 high-income Americans pay no federal income taxes — Decoder
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by ReutersTV
It’s not only the ultra-wealthy who are able to avoid taxes. A recent IRS report indicated that more than 35,000 Americans making over $200 000 a year paid no federal income taxes in 2009. Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston explains how. (June 19, 2012)
Catholic nuns protest US budget cuts
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish
A group of Roman Catholic nuns are taking an unusual bus ride across America.
They are protesting against government budget cuts, which they say are harming low income families.
A recent Vatican report criticised some nuns for focusing too much on economic injustice
Even though the nuns were stung by the criticism from Rome, they decided to stay the course and say the firestorm has given them a platform.
In their latest trip, the nuns are in Janesville, Wisconsin, to deliver an alternative budget to Republican House member Paul Ryan, in which they propose a plan that favours a safety net for the worst off instead of tax cuts for the rich.
There is every sign they’ll continue to take their gospel on the road, with or without the Vatican’s blessing.
Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey reports from Janesville, Wisconsin.
GLOBAL ELITES THROWN OUT OF ICELAND: Iceland Dismantles Corrupt Gov’t Then Arrests All Rothschild Bankers
Since the 1900′s the vast majority of the American population has dreamed about saying “NO” to the Unconstitutional, corrupt, Rothschild/Rockefeller banking criminals, but no one has dared to do so. Why? If just half of our Nation, and the “1%”, who pay the majority of the taxes, just said NO MORE! Our Gov’t would literally change over night. Why is it so hard, for some people to understand, that by simply NOT giving your money, to large Corporations, who then send jobs, Intellectual Property, etc. offshore and promote anti-Constitutional rights… You will accomplish more, than if you used violence. In other words… RESEARCH WHERE YOU ARE SENDING EVERY SINGLE PENNY!!! Is that so hard? The truth of the matter is… No one, except the Icelanders, have to been the only culture on the planet to carry out this successfully. Not only have they been successful, at overthrowing the corrupt Gov’t, they’ve drafted a Constitution, that will stop this from happening ever again. That’s not the best part… The best part, is that they have arrested ALL Rothschild/Rockefeller banking puppets, responsible for the Country’s economic Chaos and meltdown.
Last week 9 people were arrested in London and Reykjavik for their possible responsibility for Iceland’s financial collapse in 2008, a deep crisis which developed into an unprecedented public reaction that is changing the country’s direction.
It has been a revolution without weapons in Iceland, the country that hosts the world’s oldest democracy (since 930), and whose citizens have managed to effect change by going on demonstrations and banging pots and pans. Why have the rest of the Western countries not even heard about it?
Pressure from Icelandic citizens’ has managed not only to bring down a government, but also begin the drafting of a new constitution (in process) and is seeking to put in jail those bankers responsible for the financial crisis in the country. As the saying goes, if you ask for things politely it is much easier to get them.
This quiet revolutionary process has its origins in 2008 when the Icelandic government decided to nationalize the three largest banks, Landsbanki, Kaupthing and Glitnir, whose clients were mainly British, and North and South American.
After the State took over, the official currency (krona) plummeted and the stock market suspended its activity after a 76% collapse. Iceland was becoming bankrupt and to save the situation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) injected U.S. $ 2,100 million and the Nordic countries helped with another 2,500 million.
Great little victories of ordinary people
While banks and local and foreign authorities were desperately seeking economic solutions, the Icelandic people took to the streets and their persistent daily demonstrations outside parliament in Reykjavik prompted the resignation of the conservative Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and his entire government.
Citizens demanded, in addition, to convene early elections, and they succeeded. In April a coalition government was elected, formed by the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement, headed by a new Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
Throughout 2009 the Icelandic economy continued to be in a precarious situation (at the end of the year the GDP had dropped by 7%) but, despite this, the Parliament proposed to repay the debt to Britain and the Netherlands with a payment of 3,500 million Euros, a sum to be paid every month by Icelandic families for 15 years at 5.5% interest.
The move sparked anger again in the Icelanders, who returned to the streets demanding that, at least, that decision was put to a referendum. Another big small victory for the street protests: in March 2010 that vote was held and an overwhelming 93% of the population refused to repay the debt, at least with those conditions.
This forced the creditors to rethink the deal and improve it, offering 3% interest and payment over 37 years. Not even that was enough. The current president, on seeing that Parliament approved the agreement by a narrow margin, decided last month not to approve it and to call on the Icelandic people to vote in a referendum so that they would have the last word.
The bankers are fleeing in fear
Returning to the tense situation in 2010, while the Icelanders were refusing to pay a debt incurred by financial sharks without consultation, the coalition government had launched an investigation to determine legal responsibilities for the fatal economic crisis and had already arrested several bankers and top executives closely linked to high risk operations.
Interpol, meanwhile, had issued an international arrest warrant against Sigurdur Einarsson, former president of one of the banks. This situation led scared bankers and executives to leave the country en masse.
In this context of crisis, an assembly was elected to draft a new constitution that would reflect the lessons learned and replace the current one, inspired by the Danish constitution.
To do this, instead of calling experts and politicians, Iceland decided to appeal directly to the people, after all they have sovereign power over the law. More than 500 Icelanders presented themselves as candidates to participate in this exercise in direct democracy and write a new constitution. 25 of them, without party affiliations, including lawyers, students, journalists, farmers and trade union representatives were elected.
Among other developments, this constitution will call for the protection, like no other, of freedom of information and expression in the so-called Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, in a bill that aims to make the country a safe haven for investigative journalism and freedom of information, where sources, journalists and Internet providers that host news reporting are protected.
The people, for once, will decide the future of the country while bankers and politicians witness the transformation of a nation from the sidelines.
Fed extends stimulus to boost economy
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by Euronews
http://www.euronews.com/ The weak US recovery and growing financial problems in Europe mean the Federal Reserve has extended its monetary stimulus.
At their monthly meeting the US central bank policymakers said they will renew effort to bring down borrowing costs by selling short-term government bonds to buy those maturing at a later date.
Central banks worldwide are seeking ways to stimulate their weak economies.
With its benchmark interest rate already cut to between zero and a quarter of a percent, the Fed has little room for manoeuvre in the face of yet another slowdown.
Analyst Jim Bianco listed the problems facing the US: “There is a protracted slowdown in the economy and it’s unmistakable right now, especially with the downward revisions that we saw in the previous numbers, and that they are all going to have to go back and rework their assumptions about a potential slowdown in the economy coming, for the third summer in a row now, as we’ve seen before.”
In its statement after the meeting the Fed said the US economy is “expanding moderately,” but conceded employment growth has slowed and would come down “only slowly.”
In May only 69,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent
The bank expressed worries about weaker consumer spending saying it “appears to be rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year,” but said inflation “has declined” mainly because of lower oil prices and its longer-term inflation expectations remain stable.
Wars and Rumors of War
War-Frames: Mainstream wages Syria dis-info campaign
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by RussiaToday
UN observers say they’re committed to completing their mission in Syria, seen as key to ending violence, despite the earlier decision to halt it because of security risks. Observers claim they’ve been given safety guarantees by the Syrian government, but not from the opposition. There’s been a spate of fighting in the country, with a major media war also gathering pace. RT’s Marina Portnaya has the latest.
Jane Ferguson reports from Gaza
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish
Two more Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes
on the Gaza Strip.
That takes the death toll to nine since the fighting along the Israeli-Gaza border began on Monday.
Children are believed to be among the dead.
Hamas has fired dozens of rockets into Israel.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reports.
Malians flee to Burkina Faso amid drought
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish
The UN refugee agency says that a record 800,000 people were forced to flee across borders last year.
Many of them were displaced by conflicts in their home countries.
Mali is one example. More than 320,000 people have been forced from their homes since January because of fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels.
Many are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries – which are struggling to cope with the influx.
The situation is particularly precarious as the Sahel region is going through a major drought.
Al Jazeera’s Laura Kyle reports from Burkina Faso’s Mintao camp and May Welsh reports from Mali’s Timbuktu.
Articles of Interest
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Seeks Asylum in Ecuador In Attempt To Avoid Extradition to U.S.
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by democracynow
DemocracyNow.org – WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London and asked for asylum. Assange made the move Tuesday in a last-ditch bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime accusations. Earlier today, police in London announced Assange is now subject to arrest because his decision to spend the night at the Ecuadorean embassy violated the conditions of his bail. Assange is seeking asylum because he fears extradition to Sweden may lead to his transfer to the United States where he could potentially face charges relating to Wikileaks. “In my view, it is a situation of political persecution of Julian Assange for his political activities,” says Michael Ratner, a member of Assange’s legal team. “It fits in the asylum application procedure under the Declaration of Human Rights.” In an apparent reference to the United States, an Ecuadorean official said Assange fears being extradited “to a country where espionage and treason are punished with the death penalty.”
See Democracy Now!’s interviews with Julian Assange: http://www.democracynow.org/appearances/julian_assange
Bail Break: Loz Kaye on Assange Ecuador asylum request
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by RussiaToday
Julian Assange is facing arrest – British police say the Wikileaks editor has violated his bail terms by seeking sanctuary at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.
Assange has asked for political asylum in the Latin American country to avoid extradition to Sweden. For more, RT talks to Loz Kaye, the leader of the Pirate Party in the UK.
- [In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material.]
Published on Jun 20, 2012 by TheRealNews
Activists criticize economic protest movement for ignoring the Occupation and condition of Palestinians living in Israel
- #GazaUnderAttack | Israel kills two Palestinian minors in cold blood in Gaza (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Luminato! Stop helping to whitewash Israeli oppression of Palestinians (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- Israel plants fake Jewish graves around Al-Aqsa (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Soldier Holds Hunger Strike in Solidarity With Palestinians in Detention (commondreams.org)
- The Boycott Will Work, an Israeli Perspective (salem-news.com)
- Gallup Poll Finds 85% of Israelis Believe Economic System is Corrupt, Ranking It 18th in World (richardsilverstein.com)
- Author of The Color Purple refuses to authorize Hebrew version because ‘Israel is guilty of apartheid’ (jhaines6.wordpress.com)