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08.26.14

Microsoft’s Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new report about Microsoft’s admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft’s criminal aspects

Microsoft does not like paying tax. Microsoft is above the law, so why should it bother paying tax? Just like Bill Gates it is robbing the public while pretending to have little to do with national deficit, Microsoft is actually looting the US and many other parts of the world where it uses similar tricks. India found Microsoft guilty half a decade ago.

Last week when we wrote about Chile we mentioned reports about Microsoft’s colossal tax evasion. Professor Diane Ravitch, who has been watching Gates for years and called for investigation against him, responded as follows:

That kind of money, repatriated to the United States, could underwrite prenatal care for low-income women, provide early childhood education for all low-income children, underwrite medical clinics in low-income communities, and save public education in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, where it is in dire peril. Imagine $550 billion invested in the well-being of our children! Imagine using that money to reduce our child poverty rate, which is currently the highest among the advanced nations of the world.

The comments are worth seeing too. To quote the first comment: “Perhaps it’s time for Bill Gates teflon coated self be put in jail for tax evasion, after he coughs up back taxes…..One can have hope or fantisize”

The other comments focus on Gates’ corrupt characters and are hardly any favourable than the above.

03.26.14

More Economic Injustices and New Bitcoin FUD

Posted in Finance at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forex

UK

  • Six More Years of Tory Rule

    The raison d’etre of the Tories is to ensure the state runs smoothly in the interest of the 1% of the population who own 70% of the wealth. Blair made sure New Labour had the same objective, the only purpose of the party structures now being as career ladders for the likes of Blair to join the 1%.

  • DWP plans to ditch ridiculed jobs website

    Universal Jobmatch set to be jettisoned after it was found to be carrying a series of fake, repeat or fraudulent jobs ads

  • Councils using controversial lie detector tests to catch benefit fraudsters

    ‘Voice risk analysis’ being used by 24 English authorities at a cost of millions – despite scientists’ claims that it ‘does nothing’

  • Figures show huge rise in zero-hours contracts

    The scale of the use of zero-hours contracts has been revealed after a revision of official figures showed that nearly 583,000 employees – more than double the government’s estimate – were forced to sign up to the controversial conditions last year.

    A “rising tide of insecurity” in the job market since the last election was allowing employers to turn a “once marginal and niche element of the labour market” into the norm, Labour claimed on Sunday evening.

  • Age UK sounds alarm over cuts to care for older people
  • Report reveals little evidence foreign migrants put British workers out of jobs

    Conservatives insist official study, previously blocked by Downing St, supports their policy of reducing net immigration

  • London’s Laundry Business

    The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes.

    [..]

    But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting bankers’ profits first.

Europe

  • Profiting from crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

    Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. This is revealed by a new report released today by the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory. The investors – and the lawyers involved – are scavenging for profits amidst crisis-hit nations, providing a salutary warning of the potential high costsof the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.

US

  • WOW! Look at 10 Years of Fast Food Price Inflation!
  • Wealth Over Work
  • Who Needs a Boss?

    Arizmendi and its five sister bakeries in the Bay Area are worker-owned cooperatives, an age-old business model that has lately attracted renewed interest as a possible antidote to some of our most persistent economic ills. Most co-ops in the U.S. are smaller than Arizmendi, with around a dozen employees, but the largest, Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, has about 2,000. That’s hardly the organizational structure’s upper limit. In fact, Arizmendi was named for a Spanish priest and labor organizer in Basque country, José María Arizmendiarrieta. He founded what eventually became the Mondragon Corporation, now one of the region’s biggest employers, with more than 60,000 members and 14 billion euro in revenue. And it’s still a co-op.

  • What I learned from a shoeless Mark Cuban at SXSW

    To join EO, your company must be raking in at least $1 million in revenue, so I suddenly found myself surrounded by well-dressed, well-connected go-getters in fancy shoes, mingling and networking while waiting to pick the brain of one of America’s most charismatic billionaires. I rolled up in a hotel shuttle van, wearing dirty, fake-leather boots and a giant backpack of phone chargers and miscellaneous swag—the only person wearing a SXSW badge, my event nametag handwritten with Sharpie instead of laser-printed, my thrifted jacket soggy with the rain that had pelted downtown’s festival grounds all morning.

  • Regulator’s 10% spending rule set to ‘take the crowd out of crowdfunding’

    Financial Conduct Authority wants to prevent ordinary investors using more than 10% of their savings buying shares in peer-to-peer funded companies

  • Box IPO papers reveal it’s losing money in a big way

    Box has capitalized on the growing popularity among businesses of storing data in the cloud, where it can be accessed from a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, giving employees more flexibility.

Bitcoin

03.06.14

Bitcoin Increasingly Adopted, Increasingly Smeared

Posted in Finance, FUD at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at one of the latest smears against Bitcoin, courtesy of Britain’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

WE DON’T OFTEN write about Bitcoin, but sometimes we do. Bitcoin is becoming a huge phenomenon and with its growth it gathers enemies. “Someone is really threatened by bitcoin that they have to disparage it so much and so often,” writes iophk. “Use in nefarious activities could easily be said of other currencies I expect, yet bitcoin is consistently singled out in the media. And, unlike cash, bitcoin is not anonymous,” he says in reference to this new smear. This strategy is not unusual; just ask Torrent sites, Craigslist, etc. how they suffered demonisation by association (copyright infringement, prostitution, drugs, etc.) just so that people can shut down down or at least marginalise them. Bitcoin has some other bad press [1], usually revolving around Mt Gox although it is only one of many players in the area of Bitcoin.

Most people, even in the Western world, are ‘poor’ in the sense that they have negative balance [2]. Young people are the most common victims [3,4]. The older generation often evades tax [5] and gets away with it. No wonder the young (future) generation is gradually turning to alternative currencies whose value cannot be rigged to the same degree commonly used currency is. A lot of people tend to forget that money derives its value from the belief/assumption that it will be honoured by merchants and be possible to swap for real goods; when hyperinflation kicks in, then money can become just paper, unlike Bitcoin, which some say it more resilient and resistant to abuse. Mt Gox may be having a crisis, but let’s not forget how many of the banks out there (all around the world) reached virtual bankruptcy (like my bank at the time — a bank that’s heading there again) and then looted taxpayers for bailouts that devalue money, increase national debt, and generally show that the ‘mainstream’ currencies are no safe haven.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mt Gox confirms 750,000 Bitcoin theft, opens call centre for concerned miners

    BITCOIN EXCHANGE Mt Gox has confirmed the loss of 750,000 Bitcoins, and opened a call centre for people who want to know more about that.

  2. Three Of Every Four Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

    According to a new survey, more than three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck in order to make ends meet.

    The study, conducted by Bankrate.com, found that 76 percent of citizens had less than six months’ worth of savings to their name. Half of Americans had less than three months emergency savings and more than a quarter had no savings at all.

  3. Student Loans Are Ruining Your Life. Now They’re Ruining the Economy, Too

    American students are well over $1 trillion in debt, and it’s starting to hurt everyone, economists say

  4. Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under ‘draconian’ new sanctions regime

    A sanction can mean having welfare payments cut off entirely for a minimum of a month and as much as three years for “repeat offenders”. The hardline system, which means people can end up cast adrift for accidentally missing an appointment, is thought to be one of the reasons behind the vast numbers turning to food banks.

    Experts say young people are being unfairly singled out by the strict new system of penalties. Despite making up only 27 per cent of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, 18- to 24-year-olds have accounted for 42 per cent of all sanctions handed out.

  5. Credit Suisse ‘cloak-and-dagger’ tactics cost US taxpayers billions – senators

    John McCain and Carl Levin say offshore schemes operated by Swiss firm helped 22,000 Americans hide billions from taxman

03.01.14

Finance Update: Bitcoin, the War on the Poor, AstroTurf by the Rich, and More

Posted in Finance at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bitcoin

US

  • Could Wal-Mart Be the Next Giant Failure in Retail?

    What’s worth keeping an eye on is whether the Sam’s Club layoffs are a symptom of much larger problems at Wal-Mart. The company has been a giant of retail for decades, but there are signs that its reign is coming to an end.

  • The Business Plan Of Wal-Mart Revealed

    Wal-Mart (WMT) reported today and by now, most people who follow the stock are aware of the highlights: EPS before special items, at $1.60, beat estimates by a penny; revenues fell short of estimates; same-store sales and traffic fell.

  • New York abandons plan to clear subways of sleeping homeless people

    A plan to clear homeless people from New York City subway trains in a pre-dawn Monday operation by police and transportation officials was abandoned amid pressure from campaigners.

    Dozens of homeless men and women sleeping on the seats of E line trains as they rolled into the World Trade Center terminal in the early hours were left alone, despite warnings that they would be asked to leave so cars could be cleaned.

    “It was postponed,” Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told the Guardian. “We decided not to go ahead. I can’t give you a specific reason why it was postponed. But it may well take place in the future”.

  • Angry Residents Wave Pitchforks, Torches In Protest Of Mayor’s Crackdown On Homelessness

    A group of fired-up activists in Portland, Ore., who were tired of seeing homeless people being mistreated staged the kind of protest that will be difficult for the mayor to ignore.

  • Robert Reich: WhatsApp is everything wrong with the U.S. economy

    The instant messaging service connects millions, but its record-breaking sale won’t generate new jobs

  • America’s “We” Problem

    America’s wealthy increasingly inhabit a different country from the one “they” inhabit, and America’s less fortunate seem as foreign as do the needy inhabitants of another country.

    The first step in widening the sphere of “we” is to break down the barriers — not just of race, but also, increasingly, of class, and of geographical segregation by income — that are pushing “we Americans” further and further apart.

UK

Central Europe

AstroTurf

  • A Portrait of Time Warner’s Active Role in ALEC

    Records obtained in 2011 from the office of Ohio Rep. John Adams, the ALEC public sector chair for the state, show how he worked closely with ALEC’s Ohio private sector chair, Time Warner Cable lobbyist Ed Kozelek, to raise funds for the national ALEC meeting held in Cincinnati in April 2011.

  • Simpson-Bowles anti-debt group is—pause to laugh—deeply in debt

    The gig is up for the everyone’s favorite deficit fetishists, Simpson and Bowles. It starts great with the headline: Anti-debt group finds itself in red.

  • Anti-debt group finds itself in red

    A year and a half after launching with much fanfare, a group affiliated with fiscal watchdogs Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson is nearly broke.

Misc.

02.17.14

The Scam Which is ZDNet/CBS: Not Reporting the Real Crimes

Posted in Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zack Whittaker
From Twitpic

Summary: CBS, a widely-known example of propaganda channels, misreports or diverts attention away from reporting about crimes of clients and allies

When covering Microsoft Nokia, ZDNet‘s Microsoft Zack (former Microsoft staff, now doing Microsoft privacy and antitrust spin, not to mention Google/Linux FUD) conveniently ignores Microsoft’s own tax evasion (including conviction in India), put aside the world’s most massive personal tax evasion by Microsoft’s spiritual leader. This is very typical when it comes to reporting about Microsoft by Microsoft moles, ‘former’ staff, and PR folks masquerading as “journalists” (Microsoft Zack is one of many). It’s propaganda, but it’s cleverly disguised (required skill from writers).

The other day it turned out that Gates’ tax-exempt investments in energy companies ended up in a bankruptcy. As one person put it: “Bill Gates’ Texas energy company has filed for bankruptcy protection as the depressed power market results in untenable financial losses.

“The company, Optim Energy (EnergyCo LLC), owned by a Gates investment fund, filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy papers on Wednesday for its three power plants in eastern Texas, citing their inability to counter growing losses in the current market.”

So maybe Bill Gates can spend more money on his existing investments in Exxon and Shell, two murderous companies that pollute our world and poison poor people so that Gates can increase his wealth (as a large shareholder). As Sosumi put it (in IRC), “so much talk for “renewables” and yet Billy’s powerplants runned on coal and natural gas… but wait, there’s a catch… if he was indeed running “renewables”, he’d have gotten a bailout” (Gates already benefited from bank bailouts in Ireland because he was a shareholder).

What we have here is the extension of Microsoft’s financial corruption. The company was not only bribed by the CIA/NSA (as documents released last year reveal) but it also received tax exemptions worth billions after it had installed a mole (former employee, Mr. Hunter) in the US government. This is serious corruption, but white-collar crime is treated differently from most other crimes. In CBS, white-collar crime is either glorified or overlooked. It’s corporate press that’s designed to serve Power. Just look who owns CBS.

Speaking of financial corruption, Xbox has been losing billions of dollars, but CNET (part of CBS, just like ZDNet, which is also renowned for directing and broadcasting NSA advertisements) never mentions that. XBox One is so far behind the competition that it’s likely to be losing billions of dollars again.

Sosumi said that “best thing actually happening would be Microsoft amputating their game division… but on the other hand, what about the embarrassment and money lost?”

People have already died because Microsoft Xbox machines went up in flames. DaemonFC reminded us that “Consumer Reports said that Ford got a lower reliability rating this year in part because of “MyTouch” problems. (Microsoft software)” (so much for proprietary “quality”).

So, at the end of the day we have corrupt companies being bailed out, bribed, and exempted from tax simply because they have some connections in government. Don’t expect ZDNet to report it; its so-called reporters used to work for Microsoft (some still work for Microsoft while also ‘reporting’ in ZDNet).

02.14.14

A Defunct Economy That Systematically Passes Wealth to the Rich

Posted in Finance at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The myth of “trickle down”

Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson
Pierre Omidyar and Richard Branson, photo by Pierre Omidyar

Summary: Excess debt is created by the rich, who then use it to confiscate public property (austerity) and further increase their personal wealth at the expense of the public

“Central banks around the world,” explains Der Spiegel in a new report, “are pumping trillions into the economy. The goal is to stimulate growth, but their actions are also driving up prices in the real estate and equities markets. The question is no longer whether there will be a crash, but when.” The article is titled “Feeding the Bubble: Is the Next Crash Brewing?”

As explained by many people before, this so-called ‘crisis’ is a crisis of economic distribution; there is no “lack” of money (a man-made concept anyway) and resources are more then sufficient to give everyone on Earth a tolerable lifestyle without debt slavery (neither personal nor national). “Stagnation by Design” [1] is a recommended new article about this. It was written by a famous professor of economics.

It is easy to see that there is no real crisis when bankers get bailed out, CEOs of corporations receive state subsidies [2], and benefits to the public are slashed or eliminated [3] (leaving the vast majority helpless and hopeless [4,5]). The problem is not just the currency [6,7], it’s the system. This trend is spreading everywhere including Europe [8,9]. Corporations are being given welfare [10] instead of people receiving welfare [11] (some children end up in hunger in the US, in part due to this [12]). It’s the “trickle down” fiction. The US spent a great deal of time attacking competing models [13], alienating many nations to its south, so even professors of economics in the US are not speaking out against the US model [14,15], which currently confiscates what’s public [16] and gives it to just a few people [17] — so few in fact that they fit on a double decker bus and own more than the combined ownership of 3.5 billion people on Earth (that’s how unjust and wide the divide has become). Under the leadership of the Tories, the UK heads down the same path.

It was recently reported that the banking cartel now refuses to give people money they deposited [18], putting yet more barriers in this process after using economic warfare to kill people’s banks [19].

Last month we explained why Pierre Omidyar has no credibility when it comes to talking for the poor. He is himself a very rich person and despite claims that he tries to support journalism it finally turns out, based on The Intercept‘s introduction, that he is only in it for the money. Coverage of NSA files has mostly dried up as of late (reiteration of old news and smears against Snowden dominate the news). It’s like Omidyar bought off those who were capable of leading a reaction to a system of looting and oppression.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Stagnation by Design

    The basic point that I raised a half-decade ago was that, in a fundamental sense, the US economy was sick even before the crisis: it was only an asset-price bubble, created through lax regulation and low interest rates, that had made the economy seem robust. Beneath the surface, numerous problems were festering: growing inequality; an unmet need for structural reform (moving from a manufacturing-based economy to services and adapting to changing global comparative advantages); persistent global imbalances; and a financial system more attuned to speculating than to making investments that would create jobs, increase productivity, and redeploy surpluses to maximize social returns.

  2. Crop subsidies kept secret by Congress in new farm bill

    When President Obama signs the farm bill today at Michigan State University, it’s unlikely he’ll mention how the new law undermines his own promises of transparency.

    The new farm bill vastly extends the taxpayer-supported crop insurance program while deliberately keeping recipients of those subsidies secret. Indeed, the final version of the law even dropped a bipartisan provision that would have at least required members of Congress and Cabinet officials to disclose such benefits.

  3. What Will 2016 Political Landscape Look Like? USA Today Has No Clue

    That the actual circumstances under which candidates ran for office in 2008 didn’t at all resemble the situation in early 2006 shows the futility of trying to pontificate about elections almost three years before they happen. But that isn’t going to stop the political press corps.

    In fact, Page is already predicting the policies the next president will have to pursue. Surprise! They involve cutting Social Security…

  4. The American Dream is Dead

    Pessimism, pessimism, and more pessimism. It’s like the whole country is on the brink of despair. Maybe Phil Graham was right, after all. Maybe we are just a nation of whiners. But I kind of doubt it. What’s really going on can be summed up in one word: Frustration. People are frustrated with the government, frustrated with their jobs, frustrated with their shitty, stagnant wages, frustrated with their droopy incomes, frustrated with their ripoff health care, frustrated with living paycheck to paycheck, frustrated with their measly cat-food retirement plan, frustrated with their dissembling, flannel-mouth president, frustrated with the fact that their kids can’t find jobs, and frustrated with the prevaricating US media that keeps palavering about that delusional chimera called the American Dream.

  5. Obama Killed the American Dream
  6. Bitcoin Enables Drug Dealing, Just as Major Banks Do

    Two weeks ago, Pascal Reid and Michel Abner Espinoza were arrested by police in Miami and charged with using the virtual currency Bitcoin to launder money. The week before, Charlie Shrem, co-founder and chief executive officer of BitInstant, was arrested in New York getting off a plane from Amsterdam. Shrem was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiracy to commit money laundering linked to alleged sales of more than $1 million in Bitcoins to people who wanted to buy drugs on Silk Road, a now defunct online marketplace.

  7. Russia Outlaws Bitcoin

    Russia’s Prosecutor General has declared use of bitcoin illegal in the country, charging that the currency is used for money-laundering and other illegal purposes.

  8. “Breathtaking” Corruption In Europe

    A recent article at the BBC discusses the findings of a report by EU Home Affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem on corruption in the EU. According to the report, the cost of corruption in the EU amounts to €120 billion annually. We would submit that it is likely far more than that (in fact, even Ms. Malmstroem herself concurs with this assessment). This is of course what one gets when one installs vast, byzantine bureaucracies and issues a veritable flood of rules and regulations every year. More and more people are needed to administer this unwieldy nightmare of red tape, and naturally the quality of the hires declines over time due to the sheer numbers required.

  9. Anglophilia and the Lure of Neoliberalism in Finland

    There has been much discussion recently about international educational standards and league tables, particularly following Finland’s recent alarm over lower than expected PISA results. However, as Pasi Sahlberg of the Ministry of Education noted in an article published in The Guardian on 8th December 2013, market-based educational reform is proving damaging across the globe. How to read such results seems not entirely straightforward, and Finland’s excellence in education is, nonetheless, still upheld by the results of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

  10. Pence mum on plans to cut tax on business equipment

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is keeping quiet about negotiations underway to cut the business equipment tax, a proposal that a new report shows might only bring slight economic growth to the state.

  11. AOL chief cuts 401(k) benefits, blames Obamacare and two “distressed babies”

    AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong Thursday offered a number of unusual explanations for why his company pulled back its 401(k) benefits for employees this year. The first reason: Obamacare. The second: two women at the company who had “distressed babies” in 2012.

  12. Utah School Threw Out Students’ Lunches Because They Were In Debt

    According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the child nutrition manager’s original plan was to withhold lunches for kids whose parents hadn’t paid. But cafeteria workers were unable to distinguish who was on that list before serving. Once the food had been dished out, food safety codes say it can’t be given to another student and must be thrown away.

    The children were given milk and fruit instead of a full lunch — the meal that the school says it gives any child who isn’t able to pay.

    “So she took my lunch away and said, ‘Go get a milk,’ ” recalled one student, a fifth grader named Sophia. “I came back and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ Then she handed me an orange. She said, ‘You don’t have any money in your account so you can’t get lunch.’”

  13. Latin America summit wraps up in Cuba on note of peace

    Thirty-three countries from Latin America and the Caribbean are winding up a two-day summit in the Cuban capital Wednesday with the noteworthy absence of the United States and Canada.

  14. Political Corruption and Capitalism

    Nearly daily, mass media report political corruption across the world. Government bureaucrats, from local to national to international, are exposed for having abused their offices for personal gain. That gain is usually financial, but can involve career advancement. Much of that corruption is driven and financed by capitalist enterprises. In that kind of corruption, officials enable tax avoidance, provide subsidies, make purchases and sometimes sales, and decide many other “public” matters (e.g. locating roads, zoning cities, constructing state facilities, repressing strikes, investigating corruption, negotiating international agreements, etc.).

  15. Janet Yellen and I were taught to revere capitalism. But it’s a failing system

    Janet Yellen, the United States’ Federal Reserve’s new Chair, and Iwere graduate economics students around the same time at Yale University. The professor who shaped the macroeconomics we learned was James Tobin. He taught us to be Keynesian economists: that is, to accept capitalism as the sole object and focus of our studies, to celebrate it as the best possible system, and to preserve it against its own serious faults. Keynesian economics teaches that to secure capitalism’s blessings requires systematic government intervention in the workings of the economy.

  16. Costs of Privatization Hidden in Plain Sight

    Privatization is often sold as providing higher quality services and infrastructure at lower cost. In fact, important costs are regularly overlooked. In other words, services and infrastructure have been privatized, even though keeping them public is the better choice.

  17. State of Power 2014: Exposing the Davos Class

    The Transnational Institute is proud to launch its third annual ‘State of Power’ report as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos. This anthology exposes and analyses the principal power-brokers, members of the “Davos class”, who have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide. Unless we know which elites control our wealth and resources, understand how they influence political and social processes, and can identify the systems, structures and policies by which they maintain their power, TNI believes our hopes for advancing social and environmental justice are slim. Justice demands a recalibration of power and that requires us to better understand it.

  18. Bank Run Fears: Customers Being Forced to Provide Evidence For Why They Need Cash

    In early 2013 the country of Cyprus locked down private banking accounts and restricted access to depositor funds. It was the first widely documented instance of a “bail-in,” as bank officials and European regulators determined that bad loans taken on by the banks were now the responsibility of the banks’ customers. This led to a country-wide confiscation of 10% or more of all customer funds. In the heat of the Cyprian financial panic banks limited cash withdrawals to around $300 and ramped up security to prevent angry Cypriots from breaking down the doors.

  19. How economic warfare killed the People’s Bank

    US Investigative Journalist Michael Hastings told an incredible story when he returned from his 2010 trip, embedded with US general Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, he revealed in his award winning book ‘The Operators’, spends $4.7bn of public money annually employing 27,000 psychological operations, marketing and public relations staff around the world. Their daily mission: to push the Pentagon line into the West’s national newspapers and broadcast bulletins.

01.27.14

Architects of Microsoft Financial Fraud Enter the FOSS World

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is losing money, paying its CFOs a lot of money to shut up after they depart, and now a guy from Microsoft becomes the CFO of Puppet

A COUPLE of years ago Puppet invited me to interview their executives and even sent a signed book. The company also sent many E-mails, hoping to receive some positive coverage from us (we declined because we never do this). I personally work a lot with Puppet and I am thankful for what it does (even at no cost), so the news in [1] troubles me greatly. It basically says that the CFO will be a guy from Microsoft, the company which engaged in serious financial fraud, got caught after an insider blew the whistle, and then paid the Feds to walk away (so basically another Enron, but one that got away with it). According to this new article, “revisiting the SEC filing from late October makes it clear the company [Microsoft] also spent more than it made then.”

Well, the company is said to have lost 18 billion dollars in 1998 alone. It’s seemingly some kind of Ponzi scheme, relying on government protectionism and collusion (e.g. with the NSA, whose secret/black budget may somehow subsidised the acquisition of Skype through familiar proxies). Citing the above article, iophk said, “hence the current noise about revenue… a distraction from the losses.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Puppet Labs pairs open source entrepreneur with Microsoft exec

    New Puppet CFO Bill Koefoed is leaving the executive suites of the world’s largest software company, where he ran Microsoft’s investor relations department for four years before taking over in 2012 as CFO of its Skype subsidiary.

01.26.14

Systematic Looting of Society Disguised as ‘Crisis’ (for Austerity/Privatisation) and Bogus ‘Charity’ as Solution

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Masterminds of financial apartheid can’t fool us anymore

Bill Gates at Davos

Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos

Summary: The oligarchs of the world are fighting against personal ownership and living wages, but people of the world are fighting back and awareness of the problem is increasing

SOCIETY is being robbed blind by the likes of Bill Gates, who pretends to give away his wealth while he is actually increasing his wealth through investments he pretends to be “charity”. According to [1], “Last year Gates increased his wealth by $15.8bn and has now once again become the world’s richest man, worth about $78.5bn. [...] Gates has helped us unmask the true interests of the corporate elite.”

Gates has been increasing his wealth for several years in a row, but the corporate press continues to receive his bribes and then describes him as a giver. There is no lack of money in the world. Dozens of trillions of dollars are being hidden by very few people in offshore havens. It’s state-sanctioned looting.

To quote some new statistics of interest from Oxfam (also co-opted by Gates), the world’s 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world [2-6] (i.e. 85 people have more wealth than 3.5 billion people combined). It’s not an accident, it’s like this by design. It’s a very bad design, and it’s reinforced by those in power — people who strive to continue to crush those at the bottom. Bill Gates invests in companies that are killing people (sometimes literally) and some of them, like Shell, also have former Nazi connections (see the latest [7,8] from a protest site against Shell for example, never mind the genocidal Monsanto, the violent G4S, and many more notorious companies that Gates invests in).

Here in the UK (although it’s not unique to the UK) we are being incited against the poor and the foreign [9], despite the economic realities which say that the real problem is the looters at the very top. Some modernised countries are forced into poverty [10] by corrupt banks [11,12] that fund murderous companies, drug dealers, etc. (only to get away with it time after time). Some banks are now starting to charge for the privilege to take people’s money and lend it out — at high risk — to other people (even if the banks don’t really have this money) [13]. New laws are being passed to better facilitate those who are oppressing in this age of unrest [14,15], protest against the banks are being labeled “low-level terrorism” by the FBI, and Gates himself is investing in companies that crush dissent and protests (like G4S). A lot of people don’t even have the time to study the situation [16], so they happily accept the fiction about crisis and the need to make compromises (like austerity). The super-rich are conspiring to lower our wages [17], driving many of us out of work [18] to making employment scarcity, then pretending to give handouts to the victims [19]. In the UK, whatever is public is being privatised for a profit (creating new super-wealthy barons) [20], and making some wonder whether capitalism still works at all [21].

Fortunately, Bitcoin emerges as a viable contender that even its rivals in the UK embrace [22]. There is a lot of Bitcoin hype these days [23-27]. What’s more, here in the UK cooperatives are rising [28] (employees-owned companies), challenging the systemic tax evaders [29] and a broken economy [30] of financial apartheid [31] (huge gap between rich and poor).

Is there a financial crisis? Yes, the crisis is that there’s looting, and the thieves are getting away with it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Gates unmasks the real face of Davos

    Last year Gates increased his wealth by $15.8bn and has now once again become the world’s richest man, worth about $78.5bn. He’s not alone – as a whole the world’s millionaires got 11% richer last year. For the rest of us, the decades-long trend of stagnating income continues. In some countries – Greece, Spain and Britain – median household income fell sharply.

    [...]

    This week Gates is portrayed as a dreamy idealist, explaining to Davos seminars how ‘there will be almost no poor countries left in 20 years time’. Presumably this will happen with a lot of charity, but without minimum wages. Certainly Gates’ money will have significantly shaped the form which that ‘development’ will take, not least through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Forget democratic national projects, the world’s richest many will decide what sort of food you will eat and which corporation will supply your medical needs.

    [...]

    Charities like Oxfam which talked about inequality did some essential work to frame the global context in which Davos takes place. But we need to do more than put these issues on their agenda. The corporate elite represented at Davos cannot be allowed to meet in luxury and pretend they have the answers to the world’s problems. They are the world’s problems. Gates has helped us unmask the true interests of the corporate elite.

  2. Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world
  3. Oxfam: Richest 1% own nearly half of world’s wealth

    Further, this poorer “bottom half” now has about the same amount of money as the richest 85 people in the world, and the wealthiest grew their share of bounty in 24 out of 26 countries surveyed between 1980 and 2012, the study says. The research was compiled using data from Credit Suisse’s World Wealth report and the Forbes’ billionaires list.

  4. Davos debates income inequality but still invites tax avoiders

    The rich and powerful at the World Economic Forum are not as worried as they should be about the gap between rich and poor

  5. 85 richest people own as much as bottom half of population, report says
  6. The World’s 85 Richest People Are as Wealthy as the Poorest 3 Billion

    The report that everybody’s talking about this morning is Oxfam’s opus on global inequality, which leads with an eye-popping statistic: The richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire global population.

  7. The destabilisation of Royal Dutch Shell gathers pace

    Since then the destabilisation of Royal Dutch Shell has gathered pace with the profits warning that shocked the markets on Friday.

  8. Wake up, Shell, the days of big spending are over

    From what was stated in a Wall Street Article published yesterday, the new Chief Executive is likely to be receptive, as he apparently already had reservations about the “elephant projects” promoted by a previous Shell CEO, Jeroen van der Veer.

  9. HSBC, Citigroup Said to Suspend Traders on Currency Probe
  10. Greek Recession, Unemployment and Expensive Electricity Bills Will Cause DEI to Collapse

    The Public Power Corporation S.A Hellas (DEI) could not escape the tragic reality that the majority of Greek enterprises and households face every day. There is a deficit in DEI’s revenue due to unpaid bills, which reaches the amount of 1.3 billion euros. This amount is increasing every day by 4 million euros.

  11. When Deutsche Bank sneaks out its results on a Sunday night, they can’t be good

    The numbers: Ugly. Deutsche Bank reported a €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) pre-tax loss for the fourth quarter of 2013. Analysts were expecting a profit of nearly €600 million, according to FactSet estimates. Revenues slipped by 16% versus the prior year.

  12. Those Romanians and Bulgarians

    One achievement of which I am very proud was my part in ensuring that the UK did not place restrictions on the right to free movement of the first EU Eastern European accession wave. The arrival of so many Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Latvians etc in the UK has been a brilliant social and cultural development and provided some support for an economy wrecked by the reckless greed of bankers.

  13. A Glimpse into the Coming Economic Collapse

    The NDAA allows the suspension of habeas corpus, indefinite detention

  14. Wells fargo now charging for deposits!

    Monday, 1/13/14, I got a notice from my bank, Wells Fargo. It was a notice (see copy below) to inform me of changes with my checking & savings accts with them. Ive attached 2 pic of the letter so you can see. It reads: “Effective April 7, 2014, the fee for deposited U.S. or foreign currency denominated international items, including drafts, will be $5.00 per item.”

  15. Who Has The Time And Motivation to Comprehend The Mess We’re In? Almost Nobody
  16. Post-Production Status Report

    The material involved in our project includes more than 200 hours of footage of Austin and Beccy during their 100 plus day experiment of living on bitcoin. We also have between 50 and 60 interviews which we shot over the course of the project. Additionally, there are several more interviews which we are hoping to get to complete the story.

  17. Utah is Ending Homelessness by Giving People Homes

    Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day.

  18. The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

    In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”

  19. Judge the Royal Mail sale in three months, said Vince Cable. Time’s up

    Today’s share price confirms the company was grossly undervalued, cheating the taxpayer out of billions of pounds

  20. RT Interview: Richard Wolff on 90th Anniversary of Lenin’s Death
  21. Police to ask home secretary to approve use of water cannon across country

    Police chiefs say water cannon are needed because ‘austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest’

  22. Global unemployment rises above 200 million

    Official worldwide unemployment climbed to more than 200 million for the first time last year, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN agency, underscoring the deepening impact of the global economic crisis that erupted in 2008.

    In its annual “Global Employment Trends” report, issued today, the ILO said an estimated 201.8 million people were jobless in 2013, up by nearly 5 million in one year. This is a new high, exceeding 2009’s record of 198 million.

  23. eBay UK to allow Bitcoin sales in ‘virtual currency’ category
  24. Bitcoin Centre NYC Launches Open Source ATM Software

    A New York City institution for promoting bitcoin has released proprietary hardware and software that enables developers to create and operate inexpensive bitcoin automatic teller machines.

    The Bitcoin Centre NYC, an educational institution for promoting awareness of cryptocurrencies, and its strategic partners released the hardware and software, in a move to open source every aspect of a working bitcoin ATM.

  25. New software tools help developers create Bitcoin-friendly Android apps

    More Android apps may soon have built-in support for Bitcoin payments thanks to a new partnership between Coinbase and BitMonet.

  26. Why Bitcoin Matters

    A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers.

    [...]

    One can hardly accuse Bitcoin of being an uncovered topic, yet the gulf between what the press and many regular people believe Bitcoin is, and what a growing critical mass of technologists believe Bitcoin is, remains enormous. In this post, I will explain why Bitcoin has so many Silicon Valley programmers and entrepreneurs all lathered up, and what I think Bitcoin’s future potential is.

    First, Bitcoin at its most fundamental level is a breakthrough in computer science – one that builds on 20 years of research into cryptographic currency, and 40 years of research in cryptography, by thousands of researchers around the world.

  27. The Toy-Hungry Multimillionaire Market That’s Completely Underserved

    In 2010 and 2011, a lot of geeks acquired something called bitcoin. It’s a novel form of currency that breaks all the rules you know and redefines currency as we know it. In 2011, this currency was worth mid-single digits per “coin”. Today, one such coin is worth upwards of a thousand US dollars, and newly-minted millionaire geeks are hungry for toys – but almost nobody’s selling.

  28. US tech firms make eleventh-hour attempt to halt tax avoidance reforms

    Lobbyists representing leading US technology companies urge thinktank advising G20 not to close international tax loopholes

  29. Uprising Radio Interview: Richard Wolff Reinterprets Conventional Economic Analysis for the 99%
  30. Economic Prosperity and Economic Democracy: The Worker Co-Op Solution

    By establishing democracy inside the enterprise, WSDEs make government responsible and accountable to the people as workers. Political democracy remains merely formal when governments’ direct dependence on people as voting citizens is not matched by governments’ direct dependence on people – in large part the same people – as workers. Real political democracy requires its integrated partnership with economic democracy as envisioned in economies where WSDEs prevail. Traditional socialisms’ over-emphases on macro-level differences from capitalism (substituting state-regulated or state-owned for private property and state planning for market exchanges) would be radically corrected by the micro-level transformation of enterprise organization from capitalist to WSDE.

  31. New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid

    It’s a sight to behold. Just off Lagos, Nigeria’s coast, an artificial island is emerging from the sea. A foundation, built of sand dredged from the ocean floor, stretches over ten kilometres. Promotional videos depict what is to come: a city of soaring buildings, housing for 250,000 people, and a central boulevard to match Paris’ Champs-Élysées and New York’s Fifth Avenue. Privately constructed, it will also be privately administered and supplied with electricity, water, mass transit, sewage and security. It is the “future Hong Kong of Africa,” anticipates Nigeria’s World Bank director.

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