Forget the one percent, it's the 0.1% who run the show

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The wealthiest one out of 1,000 US families -- the 0.1 percent -- comprise about 115,000 households whose net worth starts at $20M, and goes up and up from there, accounting for at least as much wealth as the poorest 90 percent of US households. Read the rest

Podcast explains the corrosive effects of tax havens

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Nicholas Shaxon, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens (previously) appeared on The Foreign Desk podcast (MP3) this week to discuss the nature of tax havens, how they hollow out both their host countries and the countries whence their hidden riches comes. Read the rest

No, tax-havens aren't good for society (duh)

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As the Panama Papers story unfolds and we learn more about the systematic world-scale corruption of offshore tax-havens, the usual suspects have mounted a charm-offensive top defend anonymous offshore bank accounts as critical to democracy and a check against the rise of fascism (no, really). Read the rest

High profits mean capitalism is cooked

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From The Economist to the White House Council of Economic Advisers to Goldman Sachs itself, the staunchest supporters of capitalism are worried about the consistently high profit margins in key industries, especially finance. Read the rest

Heads of UK's tax havens to Her Majesty's Government: go fuck yourself

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When the premiers of the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territories that are notorious tax-havens) visited the UK last year, Tory government ministers sent formal letters asking for meetings with them to discuss tax evasion. The premiers never answered the letters. Read the rest

George Clooney's neighbor threw a $27/plate Sanders fundraiser to counter Clooney's $33K/head Hillary event

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99 Cents Only store magnate Howard Gold lives next to George Clooney. On Saturday night, both of them threw political fundraisers for would-be 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Read the rest

High tech/high debt: the feudal future of technology makes us all into lesser lessors

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Sarah Jeong continues her excellent series of critical perspectives on technology with a piece on the way that technology is being used to let computers control their users, on behalf of the corporations who make and sell these tools. Read the rest

The Divide: important new documentary about income inequality based on "The Spirit Level"

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Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson's 2011 book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger was an instant classic for the way it described the impact of wealth inequality on the lives of both poor and rich people, driving them both to completely unsustainable working lives that destroyed their families and made them deeply unhappy. Read the rest

How corporate America's lobbying budget surpassed the combined Senate and Congress budget

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For more than a decade, corporate America's lobbying budget has exceeded the entire budget for the operation of both houses of Congress, and this year's lobbying spend ($2.6B) is the largest in history, with no end in sight. Read the rest

Lady Liberty arrested at US Capitol with 400 others protesting money in politics

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Journalist Alejandro Alvarez took this striking photo of a campaign finance reform activist being arrested at a Democracy Spring demonstration at the US Capitol yesterday.

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Walmart heiress donated $378,400 to Hillary Clinton campaign and PACs

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Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart fortune, donated $353,400 to Hillary Clinton's "Victory Fund" and another $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary PAC. Read the rest

Mass arrests at DC protest over money in politics

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At least 400 people were arrested at a Democracy Spring demonstration at the US Capitol yesterday. The protesters were calling for controls on the influence of big money over politics. Read the rest

Congresscritters spend 4 hours/day on the phone, begging for money

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John Oliver is, as always, a flamethrower crisping the Shield of Boringness that protects a corrupt, terrible system: this time, it's Congressional fundraising, which sends our elected reps off-site for four hours a day to a cubicle-filled call-center where they strap on a headset and wheedle strangers for money, and, on every third day, sends them to DC restaurants to host rubber-chicken fundraiser dinners. Read the rest

Spike Lee interviews Bernie Sanders: Vermont, Trump, Clinton, guns and Brooklyn

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The Hollywood Reporter arranged for a sit-down between Bernie Sanders and Spike Lee (who recently spoke for Sanders at a rally in the South Bronx) and the two talked (MP3) about the lay of the electoral land. Read the rest

Tax investigators and bill collectors use Rich Kids of Instagram to uncover oligarchs' hidden millions

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One of the perks of being insanely wealthy is you can hide your money, so when you rip people off or hide your taxes or divorce your spouse, your victims can't figure out how to get their due. Read the rest

The international art market is a money laundry whose details are in the Panama Papers

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If you've got $50M you need to hide, and want to be able to move around invisibly, what better way than to buy a painting through a secret, numbered offshore account, stick it in a vault in Basel, whence you can liquidate it, retrieve it, and move it on a moment's notice. Read the rest

To understand the link between corporations and Hillary Clinton, look at philosophy, not history

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When Hillary Clinton supporters are confronted with the evidence of their candidate's financial ties to dirty coal and oil, dirty finance, dirty autocratic governments, and so on, they insist that there's nothing to see here, because no one can link any specific contribution to a specific policy outcome. Read the rest

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