Tax Haven USA: The Vortex-Shaped Hole in Global Financial Transparency

Naked Capitalism – Posted by Yves Smith

By Nicholas Shaxson. Adapted from a post by the Tax Justice Network.

If people stash their wealth or earn income overseas, that is just fine — as long as their tax authorities get the information they need to tax that wealth or income according to the law, and as long as money laundering and financial crimes can be effectively tracked, and so on. Where there are cross-border barriers to legitimate tax collection, law enforcement and other instruments of democratic societies, then there is an offshore problem.

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Alexis Tsipras appoints radical economist to new government

Jon Henley in Athens – The Guardian

Greece set to clash with EU as economics post goes to radical who described austerity measures as ‘fiscal waterboarding’

Greece’s new leftist prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, is set to announce his anti-bailout government, with the post of economics minister – chief negotiator with the country’s international creditors – going to a radical economist who has described austerity programmes as “fiscal waterboarding”.

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Ending Greece’s Nightmare

Paul Krugman* – The New York Times

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing Syriza coalition, is about to become prime minister of Greece. He will be the first European leader elected on an explicit promise to challenge the austerity policies that have prevailed since 2010. And there will, of course, be many people warning him to abandon that promise, to behave “responsibly.”

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Islamic Reformation, the Antidote to Terrorism

By Emile Nakhleh*

WASHINGTON, Jan 2015 (IPS) – The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion?

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Paris attacks show hypocrisy of West’s outrage

By Noam Chomsky*

After the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people including the editor and four other cartoonists, and the murder of four Jews at a kosher supermarket shortly after, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared “a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam, against everything that is aimed at breaking fraternity, freedom, solidarity.”

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A debt to history?

GillianTett – Financial Times

To some, Germany faces a moral duty to help Greece, given the aid that it has previously enjoyed

As the crucial election looms in Greece later this month, newspapers have been full of pictures of demonstrations (or riots) in Athens. But there is another image hovering in my mind: an elegant dining hall on the shores of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.

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The Oxfam challenge for the Davos brigade

James Moore – The Independent

According to Oxfam, on current trends the richest 1 per cent of the world’s population will have a greater share of its wealth than the remaining 99 per cent within two years.

The figures were released to coincide with the opening of the annual bunfight for the rich and powerful, otherwise known as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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Reflections on the recent Paris Massacre and Zionism

By Uri Avnery* – ZNet (Source: Tikkun)

The three Islamic terrorists could have been very proud of themselves, if they had lived to see it.

By committing two attacks (quite ordinary ones by Israeli standards) they spread panic throughout France, brought millions of people onto the streets, gathered more than 40 heads of states in Paris. They changed the landscape of the French capital and other French cities by mobilizing thousands of soldiers and police officers to guard Jewish and other potential targets. For several days they dominated the news throughout the world.

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Suspicious Nonsense on Trade Agreements

Paul Krugman – The New York Times

I am in general a free trader; there is, I’d argue, a tendency on the part of some people with whom I agree on many issues to demonize trade agreements, to make them responsible for evils that have other causes. And my take on both of the trade agreements currently under negotiation — Pacific and Atlantic — is that there’s much less there than meets the eye.

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The Iraq War Strategy 3.0: If You Can’t Win, At Least Make Money

Peter Van Buren – The Nation

Iraqis have a saying: “The rug is never sold”—meaning that there’s always more money to be made from any transaction. American defense contractors would agree.

The current American war in Iraq is a struggle in search of a goal. It began in August as a humanitarian intervention, morphed into a campaign to protect Americans in-country, became a plan to defend the Kurds, followed by a full-on crusade to defeat the new Islamic State (IS, a?k?a ISIS, a?k?a ISIL), and then… well, something in Syria to be determined at a later date.

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China Leads Race to the Moon

By Jan Mortier and Benjamin Finnis* – The Diplomat**

States are quietly preparing to secure fuel for the fourth generation of nuclear weapons, and China is winning.

In October 2014, China’s Chang’e 5-T1 lunar probe, known as Xiaofei or Little Flyer, successfully completed an orbit around the Moon. This was the first time that a trip around the Moon and back of this sort had been made since the USA and Russian trips in the 1970s. The Little flyer is a precursor to Chang’e 5 which will bring back lunar soil (regolith) containing the nuclear fuel helium-3 that can be used for baseload energy production and the next generation of nuclear weapons.

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Charlie Hebdo: Some tough quandaries

Boaventura de Sousa Santos*

The heinous nature of the crime against the journalists and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo makes it extremely difficult to offer a cool-headed analysis of what is entailed in this barbaric act, its context and precedents, as well as its impact and future repercussions. Still an analysis is urgently needed, lest we fan the flames of a fire that one of these days may well hit our children’s schools, our homes, our institutions and our consciences. Here are some thoughts towards that analysis.

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Greek voters look left for Syriza to end economic catastrophe

by Helena Smith – Al Jazeera America?

Despite German warnings, supporters of leftist party want stimulus, not austerity, to lift Greece’s economy

Vangelis Evangelides sells nuts. At this time of year, wearing a fur-lined coat and floppy cap, he pushes his heavy nut-laden cart from one alley to another through Plaka, the picturesque neighborhood beneath the ancient Acropolis.

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