Corporations Becoming Transnational

12eutax-master675Large corporations are becoming transnational in that they have no home-base headquarters in one nation in an effort to avoid paying taxes. They pick and choose among countries who have the most advantageous tax laws and set up patents and copyrights there. This is becoming more prevalent among large U.S. companies just when the nation needs revenue more than ever in light of the “Great Recession” of 2008 and an increasingly crumbling infrastructure.

In an article in the NYT, it’s reported that the E.U. will open an investigation into such practices. It focuses on the case of Apple in Ireland where Apple is being accused of getting special treatment by the Irish government to bring business to the island nation. The Union claims that this sort of accused practice is hurting competition amongst other European nations.

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Conflict In Kiev

0219_UKRAINE_langMap_web-720A great multimedia-included article in the NYT takes you into the protests, violence, and general disarray occurring right now in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

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European Boycotts Against Israel Taking Effect

0224-OBOYCOTTISRAEL-date-palm_full_380A good article in the CSM regarding how boycott movements in Europe, which can only get worse, is beginning to affect Israel’s economy and what lies in the future for this movement.

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0130-israel-products-pampers_full_300And there is another good piece at the CSM showing 10 popular product brands that must be boycotted if you are against the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. The list comes form the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction) movement that began in 2005 in an effort to bring such facts to the fore.

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In Ukraine, Protesters Warned By Text Message

Riot police block a street in KievIn the Ukraine, there are street battles occurring between the Government, whose policies are leaning toward Russia, and pro-EU protesters in the streets of Kiev.

But what is interesting in this article found in The Guardian, other than the obvious conflict, is that the Government have warned protesters with threats via a text message. A text message that stated “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass riot.” How revolutionary is that in regards to information technology?

According to interviews, the protesters are not being scared off by the texts. But it is so interesting that this is how a government now warns tech savvy citizens who are supposedly breaking the law with street protests.

And what is further is that the interior ministry and the two main telephone providers in the Ukraine deny issuing the SMS messages. But Kyivstar (a Ukrainian provider) states…

We know that there is equipment, so-called ‘pirate base stations’, which allow SMS distribution or calls to all mobile telephone numbers of all operators within a particular area. But, as an operator, we are unable to identify the activity of these stations.”

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Did Sanctions Work in Iran?

1127-IRAN-BREAKTHROUGH_full_380A good piece in the CSM on how sociological conditions and a new leader in Iran led to Western sanctions being more affective in bringing them to the bargaining table regarding their nuclear ambitions.

Also in the article, it is explained why the sanctions are working, for now, in Iran but did not in North Korea. Very interesting.

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White House Aware of Eavesdropping

nsa072way-6ff6dccc27700cd7f0508fce24bafecbf46865da-s6-c30A smashing article in the L.A. Times reports that sources tell the newspaper that the White House was aware and signed-off on eavesdropping on friendly leaders of the world including Germany, Mexico, and Brazil.

The real scandal here is that the White House has claimed they had no knowledge of these eavesdroppings-on-close- allies policies, but now unnamed officials say that the White House signed off on the collections performed by the NSA.

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U.S. Spying on Euro Allies Discussion

ObamaANDfriendsRFD-sfSpan-v2The NYT has a great running series entitled “Room for Debate” that features four experts who give differing opinions on recent and prolific news issues that must be read. It is a worthwhile read every time.

This time it’s about the recent Snowden-released revelation that the U.S. is spying on European and U.S.-allied leaders through the N.S.A.

Read this piece for four great perspectives on this issue and “like” the series on Facebook.

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EU Makes Another Interesting Move to Balance Income Inequality in Times of Crisis

The European Union again proved they are willing to take much more aggressive action than the United States when it comes to putting the burden of financial crises on the backs of the wealthy instead of on the people at the bottom of the economic ladder.  They announced today part of the responsibility for bailing out banks when they fail will be placed on large depositors.  From the article:

The plan stipulates that shareholders, bondholders and depositors with more than 100,000 euros ($132,000) should share the burden of saving a bankThe rules break a taboo in Europe that savers should never lose their deposits, although countries will have some flexibility to decide when and how to impose losses on a failing bank’s creditors.

This seems to be a little bit of a check on banks acting badly since big investors will be watching their actions more closely in the interest of not losing their money.  And as the piece further illustrates, some bankers just didn’t care when it came to dealing with the crisis and what was done with taxpayer money:

Earlier this week, Ireland’s deputy prime minister attacked “arrogant” executives at a failed bank who had mocked government efforts to tackle the country’s banking crisis.

In the tapes published by an Irish newspaper, the collapsed Anglo Irish Bank’s then-head of capital markets was asked how he had come up with a figure of 7 billion euros for a bank rescue, responding that he had “picked it out of my arse.”

I could see some flaws with the policy in that it could lead investors to put their money elsewhere or create a problem for an individual bank when a wealthy investor gets nervous and starts a run taking money out of a bank.  But the pro seems to outweigh the con here and this policy is a step in the right direction of a more stable economy in times to come.

It would be nice to see the U.S. actually take some steps like the EU when it comes to income inequality.  As we previously noted, the EU sees the problems that come with too much imbalance in income and they are taking action to remedy the situation.  Here’s hoping the U.S. can eventually follow in their footsteps in the interest of long-term economic stability.

The Post ‘s Take On EU Austerity

Flag of European UnionThis time it’s The Post’s front-page story on the E.U.’s debate over rather austerity should be maintained to cure economic ills, or should it be more spending.

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Too Much Austerity in E.U.

Flag of European UnionA good feature in the NYT reports that all of the austerity measures undertaken by the European Union are starting to backfire in the face of pro-cuts politicians. The people are now too unhappy with all of the “fiscal consolidation” and elections are soon coming up for some important leaders, like Germany’s Angela Merkel. So now it looks like these important nations will be turning to stimulation, rather than consolidation, too fight high employment and general economic stagnation.

Read Here.