Links & Commentary 4/6/2016

Ocean Shores waves after sunset3Bernie Sanders wins Wisconsin, earns another Post hit job; Clinton pushed for 2011 Panama trade deal, Sanders foresaw tax haven hell; were the Panama Papers really leaked?; death knell for capitalism …

U.S. Fate 2016

Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations [The Guardian]
In rare “unscripted remarks” at press briefing, Obama said the problem with hiding money offshore to avoid paying taxes is that it’s legal. He didn’t mention his role in passing the 2011 free trade agreement with Panama or that there was plenty of evidence at the time that it would result in exactly this problem. The Guardian article also noted that the Justice Department confirmed it is investigating. Maybe they will hire back the agents who were working on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail before being laid off in.

Obama, Clinton Pushed Trade Deal Amid Warnings It Would Make Money Laundering, Tax Evasion Worse [IBT]

Could Pirate Party Co-Founder Birgitta Jónsdóttir Become Iceland’s Next PM? [Democracy Now!]
Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday following revelations in the Panama Papers that he failed to declare that he and his wife owned an offshore company. It isn’t yet known who will replace him, but mentioned as a possible contender is Birgitta Jónsdóttir, who some might remember for role in providing a safe haven for WikiLeaks when it came under assault from the U.S. Justice Department and other governments seeking to shut it down. Jónsdóttir talks to Amy Goodman about her Pirate Party, which seeks to restore power to the citizenry. Are we kind of, sort of seeing a pattern here?

The Panama Papers let Bernie Sanders say ‘I told you so’ [NY Post]
Bernie Sanders warned — nearly five years ago — that an impending trade deal with Panama would allow rich Americans to establish offshore tax shelters.Well, so what? That was five years ago. Four days ago, he couldn’t tell editors over at the Daily News exactly how he would break up big banks, the date it would go into effect, who would introduce his bill in Congress, and by how many votes it would pass. I read the transcript and was struck by Bernie’s utter lack of knowledge about the fabric of America. He should have come prepared to rattle off the width, fiber content, warp and weft density, weight, and weave. As if that’s not bad enough, he suddenly jumps to talking about the “moral fabric,” showing that he confuses his metaphors. The pantsuit aficionado wouldn’t make such an egregious error.
For the record, the resulting editorial – you know, written by the people who actually talked to him – was far more positive that the New York Times reporter’s interpretation of the transcript.

This New York Daily News interview was pretty close to a disaster for Bernie Sanders [WaPo]
It wouldn’t have been a disaster if the Post hadn’t made it one and then other media outlets jumped on the opportunity to deride Sanders.

Oil Companies Donated To Clinton Foundation While Lobbying State Department [IBT]
This is the real smoking gun in the Clinton e-mails. The possible failure to safeguard classified information isn’t chicken feed, but granting favors for Clinton Foundation donors is the whole chicken. Sitting on a couple of eggs.

How Reddit has boosted Bernie Sanders’US campaign [Financial Times]
Millennials learn about Bernie on Reddit. They share information, urge each other to go vote, and raise money for him – $2.3 million to date. Lisa Pollack, herself a millennial and regular Reddit user, explains in an illuminating first-person account – illuminating for me, anyway, because I don’t get my news from Reddit. Maybe I should start. Pollack thinks Hillary Clinton is making a mistake not to target Reddit users. But according to the writer’s own estimation, could Hillary even crack this resource? It doesn’t appear that Bernie is deliberately working Reddit, but users themselves. The typical Reddit user is more likely to prefer Sanders over Clinton. It makes more sense for her to focus on fundraisers in the homes of wealthy supporters.

Propaganda Wars

‘Corruption’ as a Propaganda Weapon [Consortium News]
Bob Parry, one of the few real investigative journalists left in the United States, looks at how the corporate media have become as corrupt as the governments they’re supposed to be exposing, making them little more than propaganda arms of Washington.

No, general election polling still doesn’t tell us much [WaPo]
Um, then why do the media report them at all? And how on earth does anyone earn a salary to conduct useless polls? Maybe the first question answers the second one.


WA County Sells More Retail Cannabis than Bread, Wine or Milk [Ganjapreneur]
Guess there’s nothing else to do in Spokane.


200 people in the US exposed for using tax havens in Panama Papers leak [Guardian]
While the Washington and Wall Street establishments have emerged relatively unscathed – “How have Americans so far escaped the biggest leak of financial data of all time?” asked the influential Politico website – some colourful characters who fell foul of the law are identified in Mossack Fonseca’s files. Hmmm, so a few “colorful characters” are the only Americans involved in this scheme? Really?

I investigated Mossack Fonseca before the Panama Papers came out – and it taught me a lot about journalism [Independent]
Terrific article by Michelle Madsen, who recounts how she worked on an investigation in 2013 that led to Mossack Fonseca. In one telling sentence, she reveals that the F.B.I. had discovered the firm in a separate investigation. Other reports contain information about Swiss and German raids on companies connected with Mossack. The best insight in this article, though, is the comment about the Panama Papers as the possible death knell for capitalism. For anyone studying planetary cycles, that’s the blue police light flashing at K-Mart.

The Panama Papers Show What Happens When the Wealthy Play By Different Rules [Roosevelt Institute]
For decades, elected officials in the United States stood by as more and more multinational corporations elected to pay lawyers instead of taxes … Of course, we have a word for people who break laws – “criminals” – but what is the word for people who make bad things legal? Somehow “enabler” doesn’t sound strong enough. Maybe we should just call them “legislators.”

Panama Papers Update: Mossack Fonseca Says Company Emails ‘Taken Out Of Context,’ Files Complaint [IBT]

Lies & Damn Lies

Pinch, Push, Putsch – Victoria Nuland Opens Old Indictment To Make New Arrest in Strike at Turkish President Erdogan [John Helmer]
The U.S. presidential election is acting as an incredibly effective diversionary tactic, and it’s a safe bet that Hillary Clinton and her inner circle know all about it.

Planetary Cycles

Thursday, April 7: New Moon at 18°04′ Aries, 7:24 a.m. EDT
This is an “all hell breaks loose” New Moon. Mars, the ruling planet of Aries, is slowing to turn retrograde on April 17.* Both the Sun and Moon are closely conjunct Uranus, the planet of revolution and a sudden turn of events. Uranus first entered Aries in May 2010 and began approaching a square with Pluto the following year. Astrologers foresaw a period of worldwide protest in correlation with the Uranus-Pluto square, with a high risk of violence and brutal crackdown by authorities. The aspect is no longer exact, but related world affairs will continue for at least another two years and will be most volatile during periods when they are aspected by other planets and the luminaries (Sun and Moon), or when Mars changes signs or motion. At this New Moon, we’ve got both. Jupiter’s position indicates that whatever happens will be big, and by that, I mean off-the-charts big – like the 2010 earthquake in Chile that was powerful enough to shift the Earth’s axis a few centimeters.

* Standard disclaimer: Astrologers know that planets do not slow down, OK? Honest to goddess, we do understand that it’s an optical illusion. Nonetheless, retrograde planets are used in the interpretation of planetary cycles.


One-Minute Meditation
Ocean Shores waves after sunset3
Image credit: © Pat Paquette