Archive for the ‘Cronyism’ Category
Well well Liberal America, who loves Apple and their products so much, how do you justify this?
Apple Inc. (AAPL) has set up corporate structures that have allowed it to pay little or no corporate tax — in any country — on much of its overseas income, according to the findings of a U.S. Senate examination released Monday evening.
The unusual result is possible because the iPhone maker’s key foreign subsidiaries argue they are residents of nowhere, according to the investigator’ report, which will be discussed at a hearing Tuesday where Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify.
This is amusing, really.
What’s happened here is that Apple has created subsidiaries that have no tax home at all.
Effectively what is going on is that Apple has created corporate entities that have no ”citizenship”; they are thus exempt from tax in any jurisdiction when it comes to those entities.
This is not technically illegal, but it is exactly the sort of scheming that our legal environment and tax environment has encouraged. Apple, incidentally, is nowhere near the only firm doing this but it happens to be one of, if not, the largest.
Tax avoidance is not illegal. Evasion is. But you, as a natural person, cannot declare yourself (or any part of yourself) a taxable citizen of nowhere.
But this is exactly what big corporations like Apple have done through legal machinations. It’s wrong, not because Apple is doing it but because you can’t.
It’s that simple folks.
This is what happens when you set up a tax code that is outageously complex and full of special privileges granted to certain organizations that lobby for those privileges that apply only to them. Corporations get their best return on investment by “lobbying” Congress, which really ought to be called bribery (or even blackmail), because effectively (although not “legally”) that’s exactly what it is.
You, as an ordinary citizen, get no such special treatment.
This isn’t limited to big multinational corporations and the Federal Government either. We have set up “enterprise zones” locally that are exempt or otherwise are privileged in tax status for certain “special” companies; this happens all the time when state and local governments lure manufacturers and other businesses to an area, always backed by the claim that they will “create jobs” and “help the economy.” What they actually do is shift the increased cost of government services that come with increased business and personal presence onto you while they pocket the difference.
This crap must stop.
When is a crime not a crime?
Enron Corp.’s 2001 collapse revealed the extent of its manipulation of spot gas prices. Twelve years later, European Union regulators may discover energy traders never learned the lessons of the scandal.
BP Plc (BP/), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Platts were visited by EU inspectors last week over allegations they “colluded in reporting distorted prices” to manipulate the published prices of oil and biofuel products, the European Commission in Brussels said after the raids.
While ENRON was a scandal due to manipulation it was the accounting — which was fictitious — that brought the company down.
Of course when you’ll lie and cheat about one thing you’ll do the same with something else; right? We’ve already established what you are; now we’re simply arguing over how big of a liar, cheat and fraud you might happen to be.
But look at what an “energy consultant” has to say:
“We’re making exactly the same mistakes we did with Enron, just with a different commodity,” Robert McCullough, an energy consultant, said by telephone from Portland, Oregon. “The same manipulation we saw in electricity and gas pricing is what we’re seeing in oil.”
They’re not crimes, they’re not felonies, they’re not things that should land you in prison for bilking people, they’re “mistakes.”
We will NEVER solve any of these problems — not in the energy markets, not in the land title business, not in the lending business generally, not in student loans, not in colleges, not in board rooms, not on Wall Street generally — until we call things what they are.
A shark is a shark. A rattlesnake is a rattlesnake. An alligator is an alligator.
And a violation of black-letter law, whether in land titles, front-running, intentional misrepresentation by a company or anything else is a crime, not a mistake.
You want to know what drives me to want to say “screw this!”, turn off the computer and decide to raise a few goats and chickens instead of innovating, building and employing, and which has destroyed my interest in the latter over the last decade and a half?
THAT is what has done so and will continue to do so — and until it stops my position, and that of many other entrepreneurs, on this point will not change.
What happens when you sit back silently and allow criminal behavior to go unpunished?
Tea Party leaders refused to accept an apology from the IRS Friday in which the agency acknowledged that it inappropriately flagged conservative groups for additional review during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said she wants to see resignations over what she called the “disturbing, illegal and outrageous abuse of government power.”
How about some fucking indictments?
“The House will investigate”, says Cantor. Sure it will. Like it has investigated Benghazi? Even after acknowledging that the narrative given the people was an utter fiction we’re still pussyfooting around that issue and the dead Americans it produced.
Further, the IRS originally lied in that it claimed there was no such targeting. Just like the FBI lied when they said they had no contact with the Boston Bombers, and it was only when their families disclosed to the media irrefutable evidence that the FBI was bullshitting did they come clean.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said “the fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable.”
No Darrell, it’s unconstitutional and thus unlawful.
Just like bilking people with hinky deals on mortgage bonds is illegal — that’s criminal fraud.
It is also unlawful to back-date deposits so as to make a bank look more sound than it is. People lost real money because of that scam and the agency involved, the OTS, had people who did it previously during the S&L crisis. Not only were they not prosecuted that time they weren’t prosecuted this time either.
Unlawful bill collection tactics are, as the name implies, illegal.
So is filing knowingly perjured documents in courtrooms to take people’s houses, which happened over 100,000 admitted times.
So is money laundering in the hundreds of millions of dollars for drug gangs by American banks.
So is knowingly allowing the delivery of thousands of guns to drug runners who intend to, and do, deliver them across the border into Mexico for the purpose of murdering people.
Instead of prosecuting any of this you Darrell, along with Boehner and the rest of you clowns allow The Fed and Treasury to reward the banksters who did this, screwing the American public blind, letting them get shot with guns provided by the government and paid for with laundered money run by the very same banksters — and exactly none of the people responsible for any of this crap have gone to jail.
WHERE ARE THE DAMNED INDICTMENTS ALONG WITH BILLS OF CONTEMPT AND IMPEACHMENT?
Why should I believe anything the government tells me?
Why should I obey the law, other than because I’m scared of the guns the government can point at me?
Why should I build or expand a business when anyone who has government favor can come steal anything — or everything — I build, and there isn’t jack and crap I can do about it as they won’t be prosecuted or punished in any way? In fact, they’ll be rewarded!
If you want to know how a nation dies without being conquered by war, pestilence or famine, this is how. The good, honest, industrious people simply say “screw you” and refuse to effort to move the economy and nation forward.
We are there folks, and these two stories explain why.
Government investigators have found that JPMorgan Chase devised “manipulative schemes” that transformed “money-losing power plants into powerful profit centers,” and that one of its most senior executives gave “false and misleading statements” under oath.
The findings appear in a confidential government document, reviewed by The New York Times, that was sent to the bank in March, warning of a potential crackdown by the regulator of the nation’s energy markets.
The possible action comes amid showdowns with other agencies. One of the bank’s chief regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is weighing new enforcement actions against JPMorgan over the way the bank collected credit card debt and its possible failure to alert authorities to suspicions about Bernard L. Madoff, according to people who were not authorized to discuss the cases publicly.
A confidential government document? Why should any document of this sort be confidential when it bears on conduct that a regulated institution has taken toward the public?
There’s part of your problem right there. This isn’t a single incident or issue either; it claims a pattern of conduct as do the other “showdowns.” Nor is this limited to JP Morgan — there is a long litany of financial institutions coming under “scrutiny” for various illegal and unethical acts and yet what’s missing is prosecutions.
President Obama’s nominee for Commerce secretary was embroiled in a massive bank failure more than a decade ago, in a collapse that cost depositors and federal insurers millions of dollars.
The 2001 collapse of Superior Bank FSB now appears likely to re-emerge, more than a decade later, as Commerce nominee Penny Pritzker prepares for a confirmation hearing and Republicans already draw attention to the bank implosion.
Tangled? Like Hell.
This was an all-on scandal and cost the FDIC over $300 million. Those who were over deposit limits were screwed out of $10 million they have yet to recover, and probably never will recover. The bank had insufficient if not outright missing risk controls with subprime auto and home lending.
Being a bad businessperson though isn’t an exercise of privilege — that’s just being stupid.
But being able to cut in line before depositors is another matter, and the Prizkers did.
The FDIC “defended” their decision, but again we’re back to the same problem we had with GM and Chrysler, where the rule of law is changed ex-post-facto to benefit wealthy and powerful people and screw the ordinary citizen.
Until this crap stops my entrepreneurial efforts are going to remain on the shelf, and I suspect I’m not alone in this regard.
The premium in America has shifted from truth to self-serving distortion, and from trust to manipulation.
The premium we place on truth and trustworthiness is self-evident. Truth is uniquely productive feedback from the real world. Truth (including factual data) is indispensable, for it alone enables us to correct errors, learn from mistakes and improve our effectiveness and communication.
We pay a premium for trust because the cost of dishonesty and artifice is steep.Would you pay more to buy a used car from someone you trust? If you place no premium on trustworthiness, then you buy the “great deal” used car you found online: oops, the “new” battery was spray-painted black, the crankcase leaks, the engine is shot and doesn’t pass smog, and the certificate of ownership is forged.
The premium on truth and trust is eroding under the constant onslaught of officially manipulated data and markets, and a vast array of distortions and propaganda designed to serve the interests of ruling Elites and key constituencies.
We all know the negative premium placed on fact: telling the truth will get you fired. And not just in the corporate world: politicians from the President on down all worship at the altar of the carefully distorted unemployment rate.
The officially sanctioned lying and manipulation are now shameless. Never mind that millions of people have become statistical phantoms (i.e. not in the workforce) to generate that low rate, and college graduates working 3 hours a day (if they’re called in at all) are gleefully counted as employed, as if there is no difference between a full-time job and a marginal one.
President Obama is touting rising auto sales as proof of the “recovery” (and implicitly, of his wise stewardship), studiously avoiding the fact that these stupendous auto sales are the result of offering low-interest rate auto loans to marginal borrowers with near-zero collateral (i.e. skin in the game).
How did blowing a credit bubble and securitizing the debt turn out last time?
Never mind: here we go again. Via Doug Nolan at Prudent Bear:
Springleaf Finance Corp., the lender to borrowers with poor or limited credit, sold $604 million of bonds last month backed by personal loans secured by household goods from furniture to electronics, its first such deal. Demand for riskier asset-backed bonds has grown as the Federal Reserve holds its benchmark interest rate at almost zero for a fifth year. Sales of securities linked to subprime auto loans doubled to $4 billion in January from a year earlier.
Manipulation and carefully crafted distortion erode trust, not just in the individuals employed to repeat the lies but in the institutions that issue them. The ruthless pursuit of self-interest is now the norm; truth is a terribly risky disruptor that must be hidden, masked or countered with plausible lies.
As a nation, we’re like the obese person who looks at himself in the mirror and sees his body as normal–the distortion of truth is so complete that we literally no longer recognize reality. Untruth no longer arouses any moral indignation; we are either too jaded to care, or our moral compass now spins aimlessly from one manipulation to the next.
There can be no trust if there is no truth. How can we trust people who lie to us constantly, who issue one self-serving justification after another for their own parasitic predation? We cannot. How can we trust institutions whose credibility now rests on the continuation of lies that are so embedded in our financial sector and State that their collapse will bring down the entire house-of-cards debtocracy? We cannot.
The premium in America has shifted from truth to self-serving distortion, and from trust to manipulation. This spiritual and moral rot will end gloriously, have no doubt, for the stock market’s permanent ascendancy dissolves all other narratives.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
So now we find out that not only did The Fed “accidentally” leak the minutes a full day early but that the recipient list included banks and lobbying organizations.
I have two questions:
- Why are there special people who get emailed copies of these things while the rest of us look them up as PDF’s on The Fed’s web site? Regulation FD anyone? Yeah, I know, The Fed isn’t a company but the principle is the same - giving someone special access in front of everyone is wrong. Period. It’s also supposed to be illegal but it appears that some “exemptions” have shown up. Those need to go away. Now.
- Why did none of the people who received this transmission early tell anyone about it? An innocent error only remains one when the person who gets the early transmission notifies someone that it happened so the problem can be mitigated. That didn’t occur.
Do I actually expect the SEC to bring charges and the DOJ to indict for insider trading? Here’s my response to that question:
Yeah, right. That’ll happen when Hell freezes over.
But this is just one more example out of hundreds over the last few years of blatant and outrageous behavior — this may have begun as a mistake, but it didn’t stay one for more than a few minutes. Over 100 recipients and none alerted The Fed or SEC to what had happened.