The Paradise Papers Are Proof That Capitalism and Racism Fuel The Global Plutocracy
The Paradise Papers, a stash of over 13 million documents from 19 tax-haven nations and two offshore law firms leaked this month to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, present an archive of global avarice.
Today, the richest one percent own half of the world’s wealth. The Paradise Papers show how this global elite uses offshore tax arrangements, often perfectly legal, to circumvent both the obligations of citizenship as well as the consequences of ownership. The demands which apply to the rest of us—the obligation to pay our taxes, to pay our debts and our civil liabilities—do not apply to them. In many ways, the class war has been won, and the spoils of the victors sit safely sheltered in the Cayman Islands.
The documents reveal that thousands of the world’s richest individuals and companies engage in regulatory arbitrage to evade tax authorities in their home countries. An estimated $8.7 trillion—10 percent of world’s GDP—is currently stashed offshore, almost all of it belonging to the richest 0.1% of households.
This system of global tax evasion exacerbates inequality and deprives governments of resources that could be used to benefit the public. Up to $699 billion sits in offshore accounts. According to a 2016 study, the United States alone loses $111 billion in taxes each year due to this practice. Yet, at this moment, Republicans in Congress are moving forward with a tax-reform bill that would significantly lower the tax burden on the super-rich. And the GOP bill, which would balloon the federal deficit, is almost certainly a prelude to deeper cuts to the social safety net. Rather than punishing the selfish and destructive behavior of the super-rich, Congress is poised to reward it.That billions of dollars in wealth is now sitting stowed away in the Caribbean while every day families in America struggle to feed themselves is an injustice of cosmic proportions.
The Soft Racism of Apu from “The Simpsons”
On the continuum of racist things, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon initially seems but a minor transgression. Apu is the good-natured owner of the local convenience store on “The Simpsons,” the beloved cartoon that recently began its twenty-ninth season. In his best moments, he’s one of the few sane, hardworking people on the show. He sees the world askance, like a critic softly lampooning the casual bigotry of those around him. He represents a different kind of American Dream than the one on display throughout the rest of Springfield, the town where the series is set, and where so many seem to fail upward. It’s hard to be too mad when Apu cuts corners, too, wiping clean a hot dog that’s fallen on the floor and putting it back out for customers, for instance.
But Apu’s most distinguishing trait is his accent: theatrically thick, as though someone is luxuriating in all those exotic curled “R”s and the nasally twang. The thirty-four-year-old comedian Hari Kondabolu, who grew up in Queens, among immigrant accents from all over the world, describes Apu’s voice as “a white guy doing an impression of a white guy making fun of my father.” A few years ago, Kondabolu recorded a segment for W. Kamau Bell’s nightly show, “Totally Biased,” in which he griped about Apu’s influence on South Asian representation. The riff struck a nerve, and Kondabolu went on to make “The Problem with Apu,” a short documentary that revolves around Kondabolu’s obsessive quest to confront the actor Hank Azaria, who voices Apu, and to reason with him. (Azaria, the descendant of Sephardic Jews, also grew up in Queens.) In the movie, which will air on TruTV on Sunday, Kondabolu talks to other children of immigrants who work in comedy, including Aziz Ansari, Aparna Nancherla, and Hasan Minhaj, and explores their vexed relationship with this character who once seemed to define the parameters for South Asians onscreen. In an early scene, we see Kondabolu performing at a comedy club;
Black Farmers Are Reclaiming The Industry from Racism, Stereotypes and a Difficult Past
The history of farming for African-Americans is loaded with more than a century of racism and discrimination. The farming industry – tobacco, cotton, sugar – was built on the back of forced labor. In the 150 years since emancipation, that relationship has not gotten much simpler. From sharecropping to unfair bank lending, black farmers have had to fight through many injustices. But the freedom out in the fields, of growing your own food and passing land down to the next generation, could be the ultimate reparation.
“My grandfather was an old school humble African farmer,” Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Founder of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), told VICE Impact, “and he taught me that the land didn’t know any color. The land didn’t mistreat anybody. People did. You take care of the land, the land will take care of you and your family.”
The history of farming for African-Americans is loaded with more than a century of racism and discrimination. The farming industry – tobacco, cotton, sugar – was built on the back of forced labor. In the 150 years since emancipation, that relationship has not gotten much simpler. From sharecropping to unfair bank lending, black farmers have had to fight through many injustices. But the freedom out in the fields, of growing your own food and passing land down to the next generation, could be the ultimate reparation. “My grandfather was an old school humble African farmer,” Dr. John Wesley Boyd, Founder of the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA), told VICE Impact, “and he taught me that the land didn’t know any color. The land didn’t mistreat anybody. People did. You take care of the land, the land will take care of you and your family.” and your family
Canada army recruiters at transgender job fair ‘racism’
A Canadian transgender job fair organised by a former Kenyan refugee has been criticised for inviting military recruiters.
Biko Beauttah said she asked the army to the event to honour her grandfather, who was a Kenyan major general.
But other transgender-rights activists say having the military there is an “affront” to their community.
Despite the criticism, Ms Beauttah said the fair will go ahead in Toronto on Trans Remembrance Day on Monday.
Ms Beauttah moved to Canada in 2006 from Kenya, where she said transgender people face discrimination and violence.
She said she spent her first three days in Canada in immigration detention, followed by six months in a refugee shelter.
But finding work in Canada has proved difficult because of transphobia, she says.
Currently, she is an activist and board member at Pride Toronto.
“I decided to throw myself a job fair and my community will benefit well,” she told the BBC.
“All you need is an idea and you can literally change the world.”
The fair will feature 15 employers, including bookstore chain Indigo and Toronto-Dominion Bank.
The Canadian Armed Forces is sending two personnel to find possible transgender recruits.
The presence of the military has irked some members of the transgender community.
Transroots Toronto, a group for transgender people of colour, says the job fair is a “racist act”.
“Given the ongoing history of military and police violence against trans people, and of police indifference to anti-trans violence generally, having military or police present at an event specifically for TPOC (Trans People of Color) is an inherently violent act,” Transroots Toronto wrote on Facebook.
The group also criticised Ms Beauttah for hosting the event on Trans Remembrance Day, which it said was a “day of mourning”.
It is organising a protest outside the job fair.
But Ms Beauttah remains undeterred.
Draymond Green Discusses Mark Cuban, White House Visit, Racism
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke at Harvard on Thursday and addressed a number of issues, including whether the NBAshould eliminate the word “owner,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and President Donald Trump.
“I understand the difference between owning equity,” he said, per Mark Medina of the Mercury News. “One particular owner (Mark Cuban) said I didn’t understand equity. I understand owning a trademark and owning a business.”
Medina noted Green said “that’s different than owning a group of people.”
Medina shared more of Green’s comments: “When you look at Mark Cuban, for instance, with the whole equity thing, we can all own equity and that’s fine. But Mark Cuban would never know or understand how it feels for me, a young black man and turn on the TV and see what happened in Charlottesville.”
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke at Harvard on Thursday and addressed a number of issues, including whether the NBAshould eliminate the word “owner,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cubanand President Donald Trump. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke at Harvard on Thursday and addressed a number of issues, including whether the NBAshould eliminate the word “owner,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cubanand President Donald Trump. “I understand the difference between owning equity,” he said, per Mark Medina of the Mercury News. “One particular owner (Mark Cuban) said I didn’t understand equity. I understand owning a trademark and owning a business.” Medina noted Green said “that’s different than owning a group of people.” Medina shared more of Green’s comments: “When you look at Mark Cuban, for instance, with the whole equity thing, we can all own equity and that’s fine. But Mark Cuban would never know or understand how it feels for me, a young black man and turn on the TV and see what happened in Charlottesville.”
North Baltimore private school community rallies against racism
Dozens of students, faculty and parents of the Gilman and Roland Park Country schools held a rally against racism Tuesday morning in North Baltimore, after photos on social media portrayed area private school students and graduates wearing racially insensitive Halloween costumes.
The organizers, Sabrina Johnson, Ashlee Tuck and Sydnee Wilson Ruff, African-American members of the Roland Park Country School alumnae board, said they wanted to stand against racial ignorance and highlight administrators’ efforts to foster a more inclusive, racially sensitive atmosphere.
“Racism exists everywhere,” Ruff said. “This is not a reflection of what this community is about. This is an inclusive community. We stand together, and when things like this happen, we band together to turn the situation around for good.”
A photo of a pair of students from Roland Park and Gilman wearing orange prison jumpsuits at a party was posted online, with a racial slur inserted, by a student at Mount St. Joseph High School, the schools’ officials confirmed. The same weekend, a Boys’ Latin School graduate was photographed at a separate party wearing a prison jumpsuit with “Freddie Gray” written on the back.
Gray, 25, died of injuries sustained in police custody in April 2015, prompting protests against police brutality followed by rioting on the day of his funeral.
Private school students from the Baltimore, Washington and Northern Virginia areas will attend the 2017 Student Diversity Leadership Conference at Glenelg Country School on Saturday, where they’ll hear from poet Theo E. J. Wilson and former NAACP president and Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, said Kaliq Simms, former diversity director at Roland Park Country and Park schools.
Simms said the costumes were the latest example of high school students testing — and overstepping — the boundaries of what’s appropriate.
“It also shows how social media can take that and re-victimize and further exploit minorities,” she said.
Commentary: Ed Gillespie forgot there is more to Trump than racism
After Republican Ed Gillespie lost the race for Virginia governor on Tuesday, the president tweeted: “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don’t forget, Republicans won 4 out of 4 House seats, and with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win, even bigger than before!”
That was the problem: Ed Gillespie did not embrace Trump or what he stood for enough.
He forgot that there is more to Trump than just racism: There is also corruption and incompetence.
He did the first part just fine. His MS-13 commercials were exactly the sort of nightmarish dog-horn that is Trump’s specialty. But he forgot: that is not all that “Trumpism” is. Otherwise we would not need a special new -ism for it and could just say “racism.”
No, Gillespie barely even tried. Where was the paranoia? Where were the unhinged rants about wire-tapping? Where were the attacks on the legitimacy of the free press? There was, naturally, some gleeful disregard for fact, and those lines about sanctuary cities were Trump-ish, but there could have been much more. Just to show he was trying. Where were the conspiracy theories? Where was Alex Jones?
At no point in the campaign did Gillespie invite any interference from Russia! And he calls this embracing Trump? Where was the nepotism? Where was the dubiously ethical self-promotion? Where was the total apathy towards governing? Where were the unexpected fits of temper that required constant management? I didn’t see Ed Gillespie out on the road emitting a continuous stream of personal insults that, although spoken aloud, sounded somehow misspelled, but I did miss the debate, so it is possible that it happened. He had a whole campaign to do it, and did he insult a single gold-star widow, or even hint at mocking a disabled reporter? What kind of Trumpism is this, really?
A black cadet wrote the racist graffiti found at Air Force Academy
In late September, after racist slurs were found on the message boards of five black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, the school’s superintendent was angry.
The Impacts of Segregation on ‘Discrimination in America’
The findings of a comprehensive survey on American discrimination conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has revealed several interesting and not-so-interesting observations so far. There’s the Wait, what?! findings that more than half of white Americans believe that discrimination exists against white Americans. And there’s the Wait, that’s news? findings that majorities of African Americans said they or their family members have been discriminated against when applying for jobs or pursuing housing.
There are also some illuminating nuggets that haven’t yet surfaced in the top-line findings of the poll.One standout section of the study finds that African Americans living in majority-black neighborhoods expressed more negative opinions about quality of life issues across the board than those in other neighborhoods. Whether talking about schools, job opportunities, park access, housing, or crime, there were more people reporting poor perceptions about their neighborhoods from those living in majority-black settings than from those living in non-majority-black settings.
It can be argued that this is because government policies have starved majority-black neighborhoods of the resources needed to put them on even keel with neighborhoods where they are the minority, and there’s plenty of truth in that. But that wouldn’t totally explain the finding that black people in majority-black neighborhoods more “often” feel discrimination when voting or participating in politics than do black people living in non-black majority neighborhoods.
The study also finds that African Americans who live in low-income and majority-black areas were more likely to report discrimination than African Americans living in middle-class and non-majority-black areas. According to the study, 45 percent of black people who live in “lower income areas” were more likely to say that they or a family member were told they weren’t welcome, or felt unwelcome in their neighborhood, building, or housing development. That’s compared to 32 percent of black people living in “middle-income areas” reporting the same. Similarly, 45 percent of African Americans living in urban settings said black people “often” experience discrimination when trying to rent or buy housing—far higher than African Americans living in suburban settings (31 percent) reported.