News Releases

“Why Muslim Lives Don’t Matter”


NBC News is reporting: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation is launching a ‘preliminary inquiry’ into the killings of three people near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tuesday – slayings that authorities say were carried out by a neighbor upset over parking.

“But the families of Deah Barakat, 23, a dentistry student at the university; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Abu-Salha, believe they may have been killed because they are Muslim … [by] Craig Stephen Hicks, a self-described ‘gun-toting’ atheist. …

“The funeral service was held [Thursday] on a field at North Carolina State University to accommodate the overflow crowd who came to mourn…”

KHALED BEYDOUN, NADIA EL-ZEIN TONOVA, kbeydoun at gmail.com, @KhaledBeydoun
Beydoun is an assistant professor of law at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Nadia El-Zein Tonova is director of the National Network of Arab American Communities.

They wrote the piece “Why Muslim lives don’t matter,” which states: “Irrespective of what rallying cries, signs or adapted hashtags proclaim, Muslim lives in America don’t matter. The aftermath of the murder of the three American students in Chapel Hill, and the broader context that spurred it, reconfirms this brutal truth. …

“State-run programming targeting Muslims marks members of that demographic as presumptively suspicious. NSA surveillance and counter-extremism programming, PATRIOT and Suspicious Activity Reporting strategies, are shaped within government walls. But these policies also shape stereotypes and spur violence far beyond them.

“This comprehensive programming, which is both synchronised and expanding, is built upon age-old perceptions of Muslims as ‘enemy combatants,’ ‘national security risks,’ and ‘unassimilable.’

“Past laws that restricted the naturalisation of Muslims were built upon racist and Orientalist tropes. However, state policies that profile and persecute today are still based on these very baselines.

“In addition to enabling discriminatory state tactics, anti-Muslim laws and programming sanction widely held stereotypes of Muslims as violent and unruly, threatening and anti-American. By endorsing these stereotypes, this network of anti-Muslim laws and programming embolden private citizens, like Hicks, to take justice into their own hands.

“It would be a misnomer to single out anti-Muslim laws and policies as spurring Islamophobic and anti-Arab culture. Rather, it pronounces this already existing psychosis, which is magnified by slanted news coverage and cinematic misrepresentations, illustrated vividly in films such as American Sniper.”

Key Author of War Powers: ISIL AUMF Could be Worse than Vietnam Authorization

PAUL FINDLEY, findley1 at frontier.com
Available for a limited number of interviews, Findley was a member of Congress from Illinois for 22 years and was a principal author of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. He resides in Jacksonville, Ill. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him. He said today: “If I were still in Congress I would oppose any resolution that authorizes further involvement there. Our forces have been killing Muslims by the tens of thousands for the past decade in the misleading label of anti-terrorism. Bombing kills innocent people whose friends are furious over these killings.

“It has greater potential for trouble than the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964 that I voted for, only after getting Republican Leader Gerald Ford’s assurance that  it was not the equivalent of a declaration of war [on Vietnam].

“Congress should have used its responsibility to call a halt long ago to war measures. Instead of such measures, I believe in enforcing world law through international institutions. The current war over religion in the Middle East could make the Vietnam War look like a SundaySchool picnic.” Findley was recently profiled in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier. His books include They Dare to Speak Out.

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle, who has worked with Findley for years, is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He said today: “Of course Obama is wrong to state that existing statutes give him any authority he needs to wage war against ISIL.

“In the cover letter, Obama would use special forces, which is how the Vietnam War started. Once you have ground troops over there in combat, there is really no way to prevent escalation or to call it off and he knows it. What happens when one of our soldiers is captured and killed by ISIL? What kind of jingoism will that unleash and what escalations will that facilitate?

“He only talks about ‘tailoring’ the 2001 AUMF. It should be repealed, not ‘tailored.’

“This Resolution sets a dangerous precedent. Up until the 2001 AUMF, all War Powers Resolutions had been adopted with respect to a State, not alleged terrorist organizations that can operate anywhere in the world as defined by the President. This Resolution continues in that dangerous path, basically substituting ISIS for al-Qaeda and continuing to wage a global war on terrorism. So if Obama cannot plausibly invoke the 2001 Resolution because there is no connection to 9/11 as required therein, he will simply invoke this Resolution. Between the two resolutions you can have the U.S. government waging war all over the world.

“The Resolution states: ‘The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the USAF in enduring offensive ground combat operations.’ In other words, it does indeed authorize the use of USAF in offensive ground combat operations. ‘Enduring’ is in the eye of the beholder. Three years from now could have another 100,000 troops back in Iraq and maybe Syria too.

“Congress cannot lawfully give him authorization to use military force against Syria. That requires the permission of the Syrian government, which they do not have, or else the authorization of the Security Council, which they do not have. As for Iraq, [Iraqi Prime Minister Haider] al-Abadi is a puppet government that Obama installed and therefore has no authority under international law to consent to U.S. military operations in Iraq. It is like in Vietnam when we had our puppets there asking us to conduct military operations there.”

AUMF: “Another Blank Check for Endless War”

KELLEY VLAHOS, kv at kelleyvlahos.com, @KelleyBVlahos
Vlahos
is a contributing editor at the The American Conservative magazine, which just published the piece “The War Against ISIS and the Absurd AUMF Debate.”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at gmail.com
Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She said today: “Although the proposed AUMF contains some purported limitations, President Obama is essentially asking Congress to bless endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. The statute would contain no geographical limit and allow military force against the Islamic State and ‘associated forces,’ which is broad and vague. And although it would prohibit ‘enduring offensive operations,’ there is a loophole that allows the limited use of ground troops. By labeling operations ‘defensive,’ Obama or the next president could use increasing numbers of ground troops. Moreover, the 2001 AUMF has been stretched well beyond what Congress intended, and there is no reason to believe the 2015 AUMF will not as well.”

RAED JARRAR, rjarrar at afsc.org, @raedjarrar
Policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, Jarrar said today: “The new AUMF is a blank check for another endless war. The U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria is a part of the problem. Dropping more bombs in Iraq, and arming militias and proxy groups, will not defeat extremism. Iraq and Syria will not be bombed into moderation and stability. Ending extremism and violence in Iraq and Syria is possible, but the new U.S. AUMF will make it even more difficult to achieve.”

SARAH LAZARE, sarah.lazare at gmail.com, @sarahlazare
Lazare just wrote the piece for Commondreams.org: “Obama Seeks Broad Powers to Wage Geographically Limitless War On ISIS.” She also recently wrote the piece “How to Get Serious About Ending the ISIS War,” for Foreign Policy in Focus, which states: “The expanding U.S.-led war on the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, has largely fallen off the radar of U.S. social movements. … We in the U.S. left must take a critical — if painful — look at the harm U.S. policies have done to the Middle East, press for a long-term shift in course, and seek to understand and build links with progressive forces in Iraq and Syria.” The piece interviews people involved in peace movements in the U.S., Iraq and Syria.

Ukraine: Who Wins from War?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, kat at thenation.com, @KatrinaNation
Available for a limited number of interviews, Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor and publisher of The Nation and just wrote the piece “An Arms Race Won’t Help Ukraine” in the Washington Post, which states: “Nearly 70 years ago, a group of Manhattan Project scientists, having seen the power of nuclear destruction, created what they called the ‘Doomsday Clock.’ It was a mechanism designed to warn the world of how imminent the threat of global catastrophe was becoming — the closer the clock moved to midnight, the closer we were to doomsday. Last month, the group of Nobel laureates charged with maintaining the clock changed its time to 11:57 p.m., denoting the closest we’ve been to doomsday in more than 30 years. Their reasoning is based not just on the world’s inaction on issues like climate change, but its provocative march toward a new Cold War.

“Indeed, as catastrophe engulfs eastern Ukraine, the United States continues to stoke tensions with Russia, most recently by considering providing lethal weapons assistance to the government in Kiev. The potential move is supported by a bipartisan chorus of hawkish voices, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and including, it appears, President Obama’s soon-to-be secretary of defense. At his confirmation hearing last week, nominee Ashton Carter testified that he is ‘very much inclined’ to support arms transfers, saying, ‘We need to support the Ukrainians in defending themselves.’ …”According to Jack F. Matlock, the former ambassador to the Soviet Union under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, the situation already ‘has begun to resemble a renewal of the Cold War with exchanges of harsh accusations, the application of economic sanctions, and — most dangerous — military muscle-flexing.’ Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader with whom Reagan and Bush worked to build trust and ultimately end the Cold War, is similarly troubled. ‘I can no longer say that this “cold war” will not lead to a “hot war,”‘ he said. ‘I fear [the U.S.] could risk it.’

“At nearly every critical juncture over the last year, military escalation has been to the detriment of the Ukrainian people and the government’s own survival. As a result of military action and escalation by both Russia and the West, Ukraine is now on the verge of financial and military collapse — with the currency falling by more than a third this past week and with foreign-exchange reserves down to a few weeks. Kiev knows it can only win by drawing NATO to fight by its side in a long, bloody civil war, bringing us closer to a real East-West crisis.”

GILBERT DOCTOROW, gdoctorow at yahoo.com
Doctorow recently wrote the piece “Federalism Will Not Solve the Ukraine Crisis” for Russia-Insider.com, which states: “Apart from the question of depth of decentralization represented by confederalism, any solution to the Ukrainian crisis will not be of long duration if it does not also deal with the language question, not just in Donbass but in all of Ukraine. Given the vehemence of the Ukrainian nationalists in control of Kiev, it is probably unrealistic to speak of two official state languages for Ukraine. But a country that aspires to European values must then implement the norms of Europe-wide and United Nations conventions on the rights of language minorities. This means in practice the right of minorities to run schools, to communicate with the government and to conduct their commerce in their own language wherever they constitute a significant percent of the population, not to mention where they hold a majority position.

“It is good that the New York Times editorial recognized the issue of neutrality, non-NATO status for Ukraine. But by and large such talk on the American side has always been time-limited, with the expectation that at some point in the future, when the present hot conflict cools off, NATO membership might once again be floated. Yet, for the Russians, face-saving compromises on this matter are not possible; the issue of NATO expansion has been the driving force in the whole East-West conflict. Any settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is imaginable only with a constitutionally mandated neutrality in Ukraine and a formal convention between the NATO states and Russia guaranteeing this neutrality.”

Doctorow is a noted “Russia watcher,” a Brussels-based journalists and founder of the European office of the Committee on East-West Accord. For 25 years he worked for U.S. and European multinationals in marketing and general management with regional responsibility. Now Doctorow regularly publishes analytical articles about international affairs on the portal of the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique and has recently been a contributor of op-ed articles on U.S.-Russian relations to the English-language Moscow Times. He is a research fellow of the American University in Moscow.

HSBC Scandal: Why Did DOJ Ignore Whistleblower?

“60 Minutes” reports in “The Swiss Leaks“: “The largest and most damaging Swiss bank heist in history doesn’t involve stolen money but stolen computer files with more than 100,000 names tied to Swiss bank accounts at HSBC, the second largest commercial bank in the world. A 37-year-old computer security specialist named Hervé Falciani stole the huge cache of data in 2007 and gave it to the French government. It’s now being used to go after tax cheats all over the world. ’60 Minutes’, working with a group called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, obtained the leaked files. They show the bank did business with a collection of international outlaws: tax dodgers, arms dealers and drug smugglers — offering a rare glimpse into the highly secretive world of Swiss banking.”

JAMES HENRY, jhenry at sagharbor.com, @submergingmkt
Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. He is now senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable International Investment and senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which last year in their report “The Price of Offshore Revisited,” estimated that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and $32 trillion.

Now an investigative journalist, Henry is featured in the film “We’re Not Broke,” which tells the story of U.S. corporations dodging billions of dollars in income tax and is available on Netflix.

He said today: “HSBC got off with a $1.9 billion fine for sanctions busting and money laundering in 2012, but only a $12 million fine from the SEC related to this tax dodging. And no bankers have gone to jail anywhere — except some of the whistleblowers themselves.

“The U.S. Department of Justice might have brought Hervé Falciani — the whistleblower behind these revelations – to the U.S. as a whistleblower and prosecuted the bank, but it failed to. And the new Attorney General-Designate, Loretta E. Lynch actually handled the HSBC case. Switzerland actually tried to extradite Falciani when he went to Spain.” See the Guardian piece “U.S. government faces pressure after biggest leak in banking history.”

James added: “These bankers are too big to fail and too big to jail, so they just keep engaging in illegal activity. There’s a widespread pattern of using fines to penalize the top 20 global big banks – $247 billion since 1998, for 655 separate major infractions of all kinds. But they just pass along the costs and continue with business as usual, with client secrecy preserved. It’s like a criminal syndicate.

“In contrast, during the Savings and Loan crisis, 880 bankers went to jail. This was under President George H. W. Bush. In contrast, Obama has been feckless.

“In part, these bankers have gotten off the hook because of how well connected they are to political figures: The former chairman of HSBC, the Right Reverend Stephen Keith Green (he really is a reverend) was named trade minister by British Prime Minister David Cameron. Robert Wolf, former head of UBS Americas, has been a huge friend and fundraiser of Obama’s founder of ’32 Advisors,’ and his consulting firm hired Austan Goolsbee, who was chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Credit Suisse paid John Podesta’s (counsel to the president) lobbying firm $1.3 million and hired Covington & Burling, the former law firm of Attorney General Holder. Obama’s IRS chief counsel — who’s in charge of whistleblowers! – William Wilkins, was a regulatory representative for the Swiss Bankers Association.”

Trade Numbers Reinforce Opposition to “Another Job-Destroying Deal”

AP reports today: “The deficit jumped 17.1 percent to $46.6 billion in December, resulting in the biggest imbalance since November 2012, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. … The deficit for 2014 overall increased to $505 billion, up 6 percent from the 2013 deficit of $476.4 billion.”

ALAN TONELSON, ATonelson at aol.com, @alantonelson
Tonelson is author of The Race to the Bottom: Why a Global Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards. He just wrote the piece “(What’s Left of) Our Economy: New Trade Data Wreck Case for TPP & Fast Track” for his RealityChek website. He is former research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a trade association of domestic manufacturers.

He writes today: “As President Obama’s trade agenda heads to Congress, new government figures show numerous U.S. trade deficits in trade policy-sensitive areas hit new annual or monthly records in 2014, including China, manufacturing, Korea and non-oil goods in both inflation- and non-inflation-adjusted terms. Since all deficit deterioration reduces U.S. growth and hiring, Congress should reject the President’s proposed new deals, as well as his request for new fast track negotiating authority, and focus on devising a new trade strategy that will strengthen, not weaken, the recovery and job creation.” He just tweeted: “U.S. annual #export growth in 2014 (2.86%) was worst in a non-#recession year since 2002.”

LORI WALLACH, via Symone Sanders, ssanders at citizen.org, @PCGTW
Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Wallach said today: “This abysmal new data shows how the past agreements that serve as the template for the trade deals Obama is now pushing destroy more middle class jobs and further suppress wages, which spotlights why there is so much congressional and public opposition to Fast Tracking the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact. President Obama’s goal of doubling exports has failed dramatically in part due to slow and even declining U.S. exports under recent ‘trade’ deals. Today’s data reveal that U.S. exports to Korea are actually lower than in 2011 before implementation of the Korea pact that was used as the U.S. template for the TPP. Since the Korea FTA, our trade deficit with Korea has surged more than 80 percent, which equates to the loss of more than 70,000 U.S. jobs — the same number of jobs that the administration promised would be gained under the FTA. Given the TPP is based on the Korea deal, the new data just reinforce why members of Congress and the American public will not support another job-destroying deal.”

* Stopping ISIS * Saudi Backing Al-Qaeda * Carter and Accelerating U.S. Nuke Spending

JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN, amadea311 at earthlink.net
Faculty associate in Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Loewenstein just wrote the piece “Burnt Offering” about the latest ISIS killing video. She writes: “Too few people, I fear, will understand that the monstrous activities of ISIS will continue, if not increase, as long as the former colonial and imperial powers of the West, Japan, and their Arab allies — all of them run by tyrants and dictators beholden to or in league with US state power and seeking ‘security’ — persist in their attempts to shape and control the destiny of the Middle East.”

MICHAEL SPRINGMANN, attorney at springmannslaw.net
The New York Times published a piece today titled: “Moussaoui Calls Saudi Princes Patrons of Al Qaeda.” Springmann is the former head of the U.S. visa section in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and is author of the soon-to-be-released book Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts that Rocked the World. He said today: “During the 1980s, the CIA recruited and trained Muslim operatives to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Later, the CIA would move those operatives from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and then to Iraq, Libya, and Syria, traveling on illegal US visas. These US-backed and trained fighters would morph into an organization that is synonymous with jihadist terrorism: al-Qaeda.”

ALICE SLATER, aslater at rcn.com
Slater is with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Abolition 2000 coordinating committee. Hearings for Ashton Carter to head the Pentagon are slated for today.

Center for Public Integrity notes regarding the administration’s new budget proposal: “Obama proposes to boost spending for nuclear armaments.”

Slater said today: “The news that President Obama, a recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize , notably for his 2009 Prague speech envisioning a nuclear weapons free world, is planning to expand the US nuclear weapons complex, budgeting for new warheads and their delivery systems — missiles, planes and submarines — as well as two new bomb factories, estimated to cost $348 billion over the next 10 years with a projected price tag of one trillion dollars over thirty years, is simply astonishing!

“How has the US lost its way so badly? After the wall fell in Eastern Europe and Gorbachev miraculously let go of all of Eastern Europe without a shot, Reagan and Gorbachev actually came close to eliminating their nuclear weapons at a conference in Reykjavik, but Reagan wouldn’t give up Star Wars and the deal fell through. Now the US with NATO, is expanding its military right up to Russia’s border as Russia in reaction, begins to rebuild its nuclear arsenal, feeling threatened by US expansion and its growing arsenals of space and nuclear weapons. The expansion began during the Clinton Administration, and the proposed incoming Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, played a major role in the opening encroachment of NATO in Eastern Europe, particularly in the expanded US missile program that led to missile bases planted in Eastern Europe and the US walking out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, which it had signed with the Soviet Union in 1972.

Background: See Slater’s comments on Carter just before he was nominated.

See AP story from September: “Russia developing new nuclear weapons to counter US, NATO.”

* Military Budget * Ukraine Disaster

RAED JARRAR, rjarrar at afsc.org, @raedjarrar
President Obama has warned of “draconian” military cuts. Jarrar is policy impact coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, Jarrar just wrote the piece: “B is for Billion: What Military Cuts?

LEV GOLINKIN, golinkin at gmail.com
Golinkin is the author of the recently-released A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, a memoir of Soviet Ukraine, which he left as a child refugee. See New York Times review: “Fleeing Ukraine With Little More Than Wit.”

Golinkin just wrote the piece “The Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine Demands Attention,” which states: “According to the latest, and admittedly conservative, UN estimates, the conflict in the southeastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbass) has resulted in over 5,000 deaths and 1.5 million refugees. For the forgotten 5.2 million who remain in Donbass, life since April 2014 has been a deadly kaleidoscope of warlords and armies, foreign fighters, shifting allegiances, morphing front lines, and indiscriminate carnage. … Kiev continues to add layers to its blockade, making it nearly impossible for food and medicine to reach the 3 million civilians in rebel-controlled areas of Donbass…”

NICOLAI PETRO, nnpetro at gmail.com
Petro is professor of politics at the University of Rhode Island and spent much of the last year on a Fulbright research scholarship in Ukraine. His pieces include ”The Real War in Ukraine: The Battle over Ukrainian Identity.”

He said today: “This conflict is about whether Ukraine should be a monocultural or pluricultural nation. Peace is unlikely until Ukrainian politics are brought into conformity with the country’s bi-cultural reality.

“The gridlock of the past two decades that prevented reforms, were Ukraine’s way of dealing with its internal split. When advocates of Western Ukraine ousted the popularly elected president in February 2014, they broke the fragile balance and conflict became inevitable.

“The new political majority in Kiev believes it can create a culturally homogeneous Ukraine in which the East is assigned a permanent subordinate status. Military victory over the rebels might give them the power to do this, but Kiev’s unwillingness to compromise means more or less permanent turmoil in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country.
“Western proposals that ignore the domestic roots of this conflict cannot succeed in achieving a viable Ukraine.”

See his timeline of the collapse of the Minsk accords.

Background: Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev recently stated: “Plainly speaking, the U.S. has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its triumphalism.” See: “As Ukraine Spirals Again into Violence, U.S. Contemplates Pouring Fuel on Fire.”

Pope Declares Oscar Romero a “Martyr”

AP is reporting: “Pope Francis decreed Tuesday that slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed in 1980 out of hatred for his Catholic faith, approving a martyrdom declaration that sets the stage for his beatification. …

“Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was gunned down by right-wing death squads March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass. A human rights campaigner, Romero had spoken out against repression by the Salvadoran army at the beginning of the country’s 1980-1992 civil war between the right-wing government and leftist rebels.

“His assassination presaged a conflict that killed nearly 75,000.

“Romero’s sainthood cause had been held up by the Vatican for years out of concern over his perceived association with liberation theology…”

BLASE BONPANE, ooa at igc.org
Director of the Office of the Americas, Bonpane served as a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala and has written five books including Guerrillas of Peace: Liberation Theology and the Central American Revolution. His most recent book is his autobiography, Imagine No Religion.

Bonpane said today: “First of all, Romero is already a saint by what’s called ‘Sensus Fidelium’ or the ‘Sense of the Faithful’ — the people of Latin America have been calling him a saint for years.

“But this action by the Pope is really a slam on John Paul II, who forced Romero to wait for weeks in Rome and wouldn’t talk to him when Romero was desperately trying to explain the situation to him.

“This is a great moment. What Romero did was to address what’s called ‘the trinity’ in Latin America: the oligarchy, church and military. He had the church turn against the other two and all hell broke loose. He’d say ‘the poor converted me.’ He started as a conservative, but ultimately identified with the poor of the earth and he was killed for that.

“John Paul II, coming from Poland, was blinded by his anti-communism. The inquisitor came in the person of Ratzinger [later Pope Benedict XVI] — attacking and shutting up people up. That’s the reason I left the clergy — I was told to shut up and forget everything I learned about Latin America and go to Hawaii. Ratzinger was the enforcer against liberation theology, which Romero had embraced.

“Liberation theology came out of the Vatican II Council in the 1960s. It was an attack on imperial theology, which came out of the the Council of Nicea called by an emperor, Constantine, which was the cause of sectarianism, inquisitions, crusades and conquistadors. It’s with us today — this ‘muscular Christianity.’ We see it with something like an American Sniper’ — about a man invoking Jesus to invade and kill. This makes the state the religion — with nothing to do with the actual teachings of the carpenter from Galilee.”

Problems with “One-Time” Tax on Overseas Corporate Profits

AP reports on the budget the Obama administration sends to Congress today: “Obama’s six-year $478 billion public works program would provide upgrades for the nation’s highways, bridges and transit systems, in an effort to tap into bipartisan support for spending on badly needed repairs.

“Half of that money would come from a one-time mandatory tax on profits that U.S. companies have amassed overseas, according to White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity before the budget was released.”

JAMES HENRY, jhenry at sagharbor.com, @submergingmkt
Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. He is now senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable International Investment and senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which last year in their report “The Price of Offshore Revisited” estimated that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and $32 trillion.

Now an investigative journalist, Henry is featured in the film “We’re Not Broke,” which tells the story of U.S. corporations dodging billions of dollars in income tax and is available on Netflix.

He said today: “The proposal is not as bad as what Bush did in 2004, but if you keep doing this, you in effect repeal the corporate income tax.

“Contrary to claims back then, in 2004, it didn’t create any jobs. Citibank brought back money and used it to buy back shares, so it benefited management.

“And corporations don’t actually just keep money overseas, they end up borrowing against it. What we’ve had is an erosion of the tax rate for corporations since the late 70s. What’s needed is a meaningful progressive income tax. Instead, we have a system of ‘tax competition’ — one country after another lowering tax rates. This year, with Burger King and Chrysler, has been a big year for inversions and the administration did very little to stop that.

“What we should be doing is working with other countries to strengthen corporate tax collection. Instead, we keep lowering ours — and it hurts us, but it really hurts poorer countries.

“And all this is being driven by the fact that both establishment parties have been on the take and that’s why you have so little leadership on this issue.”

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