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Posts Tagged ‘Collusion

10 of the Biggest Corporate Tax Cheats In America

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April 5, 2011   By Joshua Holland AlterNet

If you or I were running a small business and we kept one set of books showing how much money we were making and a second set for the IRS that painted a picture of an enterprise on the brink of bankruptcy, we’d end up behind bars.

But that’s standard operating procedure for corporate America. In fact, public corporations have to do it — the law requires that they keep one set of books for their shareholders, and another for the IRS. As tax journalist David Cay Johnston explained, “Many corporations routinely tell investors they incur millions in corporate income taxes, while the financial records they give the IRS show they owe nothing or are due refunds.”

In the records kept by the IRS, corporations cook the books “by using tax shelters, offsetting income with losses from years ago, and employing countless other devices that make them look like paupers to the IRS but money machines to investors.”We got a peek into this process last week, when the New York Times revealed that multinational giant GE is not only avoiding corporate income taxes this year, but is taking a “tax benefit” of $3 billion. According to the Times, the company’s “extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

But of course, GE is not alone. Here are 10 other big corporate tax evaders (with an assist from an MSNBC analysis of leading corporate tax-dodgers). Keep in mind that neither political party ever actually cuts spending significantly, so every dollar these companies avoid paying is one that will come out of the paychecks of working America.

1. Google

CEO: Eric Schmidt (117 on Forbes list of the wealthiest with a net worth of $6.3 billion in 2010.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $10.8 billion

How Google avoids paying US taxes: According to MSNBC, Google reports income in overseas tax havens and then reports its costs here at home. Google also patents its products abroad, licenses its technologies from its overseas subsidiaries and then writes off the costs of the licenses.

Google fun-fact: Google rents 200 goats, complete with goatherd and a border collie, to keep the grass nicely trimmed at Google HQ. Oh, and this week Bloomberg reported that the Federal Trade Commission is considering launching a major investigation into Google’s anti-competitive practices.

2. News Corp

CEO: Rupert Murdoch (Murdoch ranked 53rd on Forbes’ list of highest-paid CEOs and was the 117th richest person in the world last year.)

2010 Pre-tax Profit: $3.3 billion

Taxation strategy: In 2008, the Government Accountability Office issued an analysis concluding that one of the companies with the greatest number of subsidiaries in offshore tax-havens was none other than News Corp., which then had more than 150 of them scattered across the world.

News Corp. fun-fact: Fox “News” devoted significant airtime to hyping the financial ties between Alwaleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family, and the developers of the Park 51 Muslim community center planned for downtown Manhattan. Fox implied there was something sinister about the financier, but didn’t mention that he is also News Corp.’s second largest shareholder, with 7 percent of the company’s stock.

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Government sues bankers over offenses government regulators ignored

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Left Hand, Meet Right Hand

The government sues bankers over offenses government regulators once ignored.

By Bethany McLean Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Slate

Kerry Killinger. Click image to expand.

A couple of weeks ago, the government started signaling, at long last, that it was ready to get tough on the bankers who caused the 2008 financial crisis. On March 16 the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, sued three former top executives of Washington Mutual, or WaMu, for taking “extreme and historically unprecedented risks,” thereby causing the bank to lose “billions of dollars.” That same day, the New York Times reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission had sent so-called Wells notices—often a sign that civil charges are imminent—to a handful of former executives at mortgage-securitization giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The targets seem well-chosen. The collapse of WaMu, acquired by JPMorgan Chase at a fire-sale price in the fall of 2008 was, according to the FDIC, the biggest bank failure in U.S. history. The FDIC is seeking to recover $900 million from the three bankers. Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government in the fall of 2008. So far, they have cost taxpayers about $130 billion.

Perhaps you’re thinking: If only the government had known at the time what these scoundrels were up to, we could all have been spared a great deal of pain. The trouble with that line of reasoning is that, um, the government did know what was going on. The Office of Thrift Supervision, which regulated WaMu, and the Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight, which regulated Fannie and Freddie, were supervising the very behavior that their sister agencies are now suing over. The government’s lawsuits call to mind a cynical boast by Burt Lancaster, playing tabloid power broker J.J. Hunsecker, in the 1957 noir classic Sweet Smell of Success: “My right hand hasn’t seen my left hand in 30 years.”

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The Oily Billionaire Koch Bros’ Obscene Game of Monopoly

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AlterNet

Here’s an infographic from  friends at The Other 98%:

Questions Raised About U.S. Firm’s Role in Egypt Internet Crackdown

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FreePress.net

Date: January 28, 2011
Contact: Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

WASHINGTON — A U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the country. Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.

The company is also known for creating “NarusInsight,” a supercomputer system allegedly used by the National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time.

Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired in 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”

Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr made the following statement:

“What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.

“Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers’ online activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.

“The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be set very high. That’s why, before DPI becomes more widely used around the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as means to violate human rights.”

For more information, read Karr’s story at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/one-us-corporations-role-_b_815281.html

UK Scientist Resigns: ‘GM Dialogue’ Naked PR for Industry

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UK regulator Food Standards Agency must be held to account for ignoring incontrovertible evidence of harm and persisting in promoting GM food to the nation at taxpayers’ expense

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho June 1, 2010   The Institute of Science in Society

Dr. Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK resigned from UK Food Standards Agency’s Steering Group for GM Dialogue in a strongly worded open letter to the chair [1], exposing and condemning it as a naked “PR exercise on behalf of the GM industry”  at taxpayers’ expense, £500 000 to be precise.

Through freedom of Information, she learned that the FSA met with the industry group the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC) in September 2009 to discuss a “GM public engagement programme”, and in October, the ABC wrote to the FSA stating that “abc welcomes the opportunity to provide suggestions on the individuals and groups that would add value to the FSA GM engagement Steering Group.” And while it supports the activity and understand the importance of the initiative,  it believes  “GM must be presented as an option within the wider context of food security as part of a solution to feeding a growing population.” The industry also suggested edits to a draft FSA report to the Food Strategy Task Force, which claims that lack of demand and rising costs will drive out non-GM feed supplies, and GM and non-GM feed should no longer be segregated. In a subsequent report, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the FSA supported the industry’s line that ‘zero tolerance’ of unapproved GM crops in the EU threatens food supplies.

Not surprisingly, the background materials provided to the Steering Group by the FSA claim that “current problems with the supply of non-GM soya mean that over the next 12 months retailers and food manufacturers will need to consider whether they can sustain their current GM-Free stance” and: “The Government has recommended that discussions take place in the wider context of global food supply to take account of the long term security of global food production and changing food prices.” FSA has persistently refused to allow debate on the role of GM in feeding the world.

In her letter, Wallace pointed out that FSA’s policy note – which took six months to produce – does not suggest the public should be in any way consulted about plans to allow the contamination of feed shipments with unauthorised GM, or about the lack of labelling for meat or dairy products derived from animals fed on GM feed.

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Barack Obama: Liar, Warlord, and Corporate Shill – Stephen Lendman

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May 31, 2010

(ThePeoplesVoice) – It shouldn’t surprise because no one gets the top job or any government position of power unless they’re safe-  yet, naively, most people thought Obama was different. Many still do.

As a candidate, he promised change, a new course, sweeping government reforms, addressing people needs, and “ensur(ing) that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists” – the same ones who bought and now own him. He promised peace and delivered war; real health and financial reform, not same old, same old; help for millions losing jobs, homes, hope and futures, not handouts to Wall Street and other industry favorites; regulatory oversight, not the usual incestuous government-industry ties, making disasters like in the Gulf possible, and when they happen conspiring with offenders in coverup, distortion, lies, and a total disregard for the environment, wildlife, and way of life for thousands – let alone permanent damage to a vital ecosystem.

At the same time, Big Oil gets billions in subsidies, special tax breaks and other financial benefits, besides operating in a regulatory-free environment.

The 1995 Outer Continental Shelf Deep Water Royalty Relief Act (DWRRA – courtesy of Bill Clinton) exempted royalties on defined amounts of deep water production. After its 2000 expiration, the law was redefined and extended to promote further deep water drilling.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) defines it as having a water depth of 200 meters (656 feet). To be eligible, leases must be in the Gulf of Mexico, west of 87 degrees and 30 minutes west longitude (the Florida-Alabama boundary), and MMS must determine that the site isn’t economically viable without relief.

Given longstanding MMS-industry coziness, it’s practically rubber-stamp. DWRRA also reduced royalties on pre-November 28, 1995 leases, decided by the Interior Department Secretary on a case-by-case basis – again, practically assured by officials with close industry ties.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act was one of the friendliest ever with over $10 billion in handouts. It lets oil giants pay federal royalties in barrels of oil and grants exemptions on some wells, subsidizes a new R & D program for ultra deep water drilling and unconventional oil and gas development, creates hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax breaks, increases what oil and gas companies can deduct on pipeline expenses, provides more liability protection besides the $75 million cap (established by the 1990 Oil Pollution Act after the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, an amount too small to matter).

As an Illinois senator, six months into his term, Obama supported it, an early clue to where he stood, and how he hoped to gain – the usual “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” payoff.

It worked hugely with BP, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) reporting that its employees and political action committees gave more to him than to any other federal candidate in the past 20 years.

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Who caused the financial collapse? Why aren’t they in jail?

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Devona Walker May 26, 2010  AlterNet

We’re livid about the Wall Street bailout and skeptical about financial reform

If you write bad checks, if you steal a car, you are going to jail. That’s how the system works for regular folks. On Wall Street, if you rip someone off, defraud them, take their (our tax) money, you may get a bonus or you may lose your job. But not one of the players that contributed to the financial meltdown has seen the inside of a jail cell. That’s predatory capitalism at its finest. That’s the American double standard that has so many Americans livid about the Wall Street bailout and skeptical about financial reform.

Here are some of the biggest players, who have not been held accountable and won’t really be touched by Financial Reform.

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Obama’s phony banking “reform”

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The Elite at the hub of our financial crisis have established themselves in positions of preeminent wealth and power without actually contributing anything useful to America’s economy.  They make and do nothing,  just taking bites out of what others have produced. Since they have so little stake in our society, it is not surprising that their corrupt system built the bubble and arranged to profit when it collapsed.

The revolving door between Wall Street Banksters and the government meant to regulate them means no real change is likely without a sustained outcry of the American people.

Photo by Rich Tatum

Obama’s phony banking “reform”

Barry Grey 27 April 2010

Debate on the Senate version of the Obama administration’s bank regulatory overhaul is expected to begin shortly. The House of Representatives passed its banking bill last December.

Neither bill does anything to curb the power of the banks or limit their parasitic and socially destructive activities. What the media is calling the “most sweeping overhaul” of the banking system since the Great Depression in reality sanctions the ever greater monopolization of the financial system by a handful of Wall Street giants, imposes no limits on executive pay, and allows the banks and hedge funds to continue gambling on exotic and largely unregulated securities such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps.

The so-called bank “reform” is an exercise in mass deception—an attempt to placate popular hostility to the banks and provide the government with political cover while it continues to do the bidding of Wall Street.

The bills have been drawn up in the closest consultation with bankers and bank lobbyists. This collusion has been widely reported in the press and presented as a perfectly normal and acceptable fact of political life. The front-page lead article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal describes the intensive lobbying being carried out by billionaire investor Warren Buffet to alter the Senate bill’s provisions on derivatives.

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Pledge of Independence- no votes for Dems or GOP

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from the People’s Email Network:

Pledge of Independence Action Page:

Friends, our premise from the beginning has been that we must first speak out for policy change to our elected officials. For unless we are in fact speaking out, only then can we know if they will listen to us or not. AFTER we do that, it becomes clear who is listening and who is not, and THEN we have the base to hold them to account accordingly, and to remove from office those who will not listen.

We have now arrived at the latter point with regard to each and every sitting member of Congress of both major parties without exception, and the fake Independents can go too.

We are calling for all citizens of the United to declare that under no circumstance will they vote for any candidate associated with either the Democratic or Republican parties, and that we instead dedicate our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor, to electing worthy independents who can demonstrate a lifetime of public policy advocacy on behalf of the people, true citizen legislators.

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Report: Lehman Brothers used illegal accounting trick to hide debt

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see also: on the same topic BNN speaks to Yves Smith, editor, Naked Capitalism about 3+ minutes into this video.

They Cooked The Books

The Video That Will Put Geithner Behind Bars

One Of The Greatest Crimes Ever Perpetrated

By Mike Whitney

March 13, 2010 Information Clearing HouseYou gotta see this! If this doesn’t convince you that Timothy Geithner knew about the securities shenanigans that were going on at Lehman, then I don’t know what will.

Keep in mind, that Geithner ran Lehman through 3 “stress tests” prior to bankruptcy; all of which Lehman failed, and yet, nothing was done. Anton R. Valukas–the examiner who wrote the 2,200 page investigative-report which was released on Thursday– has provided plenty of information detailing Lehman’s “materially misleading” accounting and “actionable balance sheet manipulation.”

In other words, they cooked the books.

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