Fortune 500 Companies Stash $2.1 Trillion Offshore as US Taxpayers Foot the Bill

Report finds that untaxed or undertaxed offshore holdings amount to an estimated $620 billion owed to the U.S. taxpayers. (Photo: rolffimages/Bigstock via Citizens for Tax Justice)

Report finds that untaxed or undertaxed offshore holdings amount to an estimated $620 billion owed to the U.S. taxpayers. (Photo: rolffimages/Bigstock via Citizens for Tax Justice)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

America’s Fortune 500 companies are “playing by different rules” when it comes to the federal tax system and, according to a new report out Tuesday, are stashing $2.1 trillion in offshore tax havens—with as much as $620 billion owed to the U.S. taxpayers who are left footing the bill.

The report, Offshore Shell Games 2015: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies (pdf), examines the accounting tricks that have enabled the country’s most profitable companies to hide their earnings.

“U.S.-based multinational corporations are allowed to play by a different set of rules than small and domestic businesses or individuals when it comes to the tax code,” wrote advocacy organizations Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S.… Read the rest

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A Cute Political Theory

I woke up with cable this morning, in a hotel room, with a few free hours before work. I haven’t had cable in a while. This, coupled with the absence of clothing and the abundance of toy commercials aired during cartoons, led me to form a completely unremarkable political theory.


There wasn’t anything on any of the seven Showtime channels. I found my way to Cartoon Network. I was content letting my mind wander to animation, but then the commercials started, and didn’t stop. Toys, toys, toys. A plastic Mario on a ‘hovering’ plastic car. Another toy commercial, for a creepy mask and Spiderman web shooters. Two for the girls: fluorescent comb-able plastic ponies and collectible princess dolls.

While their parents are sleeping, reluctant to let go of the tasteless bliss of dreamless sleep and return to the land of dental plaque and insurance premiums, children are bombarded by footage of euphoric children intercut with the faces of facsimile animals and their favorite cartoon pals.… Read the rest

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Mindful Dishwashing Can Increase Mental Stimulation and Decrease Anxiety

According to a new study, mindful dishwashing can decrease nervousness by 27% and increase mental inspiration by 25%.

via Psyblog:

Mindful dishwashing can decrease stress and calm the mind, a new study finds.

People in the study focused on the smell of the soap, the feel and shape of the dishes to help them enter a mindful state.

Doing the dishes in a mindful way also increased the pleasurable feeling of time slowing down, the researchers found.

Mr Adam Hanley, the study’s first author, said:

“I’ve had an interest in mindfulness for many years, both as a contemplative practitioner and a researcher.

I was particularly interested in how the mundane activities in life could be used to promote a mindful state and, thus, increase overall sense of well-being.”

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How Hacktivists Will Break Corporate Control of Information Within a Decade


Jake Anderson via Activist Post:

Sci-fi author and information rights activist Cory Doctorow appeared out of the dusty heat of the 2015 Burning Man in a gray jumpsuit and a pair of Adbusters Black Spot sneakers. In his hand he held a small black moleskin, which he glanced at intermittently while delivering an electrifying, albeit head-spinning talk on the future of the Internet of Things.

Doctorow, who recently re-joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), contextualized theInternet of Things as an information rights struggle that requires an end to patent laws that forbid jailbreaking digital locks. Concordantly, he and the EFF have an ambitious plan: To dismantle the draconian Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws currently protected by the DMCA Section 1201. Doctorow and the EFF seek to counter this oppressive legislation with the Apollo 1201 initiative, by which they will strategically pick cases that can clearly demonstrate Congress violated the Constitution when it passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998.

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When Can Straight Guys Bang Gay Guys and Still be Straight?

Lip Gloss
I am not an expert on sex in the truest sense. I have a degree in political science. I have no training. Still, I write for a bunch of websites about sex, some of them even pay me, and I wrote a really weird book called Raping the Gods which features all sorts of bizarre sexual activity.

I think that these things qualify me to say, with almost certainty, that if you have sex with a guy you are at least kind of gay.

But maybe not. There have been studies done in which straight men, who have sex with other men, say they are totally straight. Some straight men had sex with men and then explained how they were still straight after doing so.

Here are some ways in which a man can bang a guy and still be totally straight.

1.  The activity was infrequent

Okay. This one doesn’t fly.… Read the rest

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Why October 7, 2015 is the Likely End of the World

To not too many people’s surprise, the September Blood Moon came and went and we’re still here, but that hasn’t deterred yet another religious apocalypticist from predicting the end of the world. Today, in fact. Chris McCann, leader of the eBible fellowship, explains why October 7th is the new Doomsday:

Today we are continuing to look at, “Why October 7, 2015 is the Likely End of the World,” and this is study #5 in this series.


So far, we have learned the following information:

  1. October 7, 2015 is “10,000 days” since God began judgment on the house of God, the churches of the world, on May 21, 1988;
  2. October 7, 2015 is the “1,600th day” since God began judgment on the world on May 21, 2011; it would be the “40th” forty; and
  3. October 7, 2015 is the last day of the Feast of Harvest, which God relates to the end of the world.
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What Is ‘Punk Rock’?

The ironic thing about punk is that people take it so seriously as a musical genre, which really isn’t a punk thing to do… Ratter tries a novel approach by assembling a series of “obituaries” for punk written during its heyday:

Are you an Anti-Christ?  Doesn’t matter if it you were or not just as long as you were willing to support the movement that made it ok to be that way. Your dreams were not built for modern society. Therefore, why should your musical tastes support those anyway. The loud obnoxious noise was more than just a reaction to “ultra-commercial pop music” but a way of finding a group of like-minded individuals in the world who finally let you join that club you always wanted to be  a part of when no one else on the planet wanted you. Even thosewho  tried to get it always tended to come up way too short.

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VW Emissions Cheat Increases Overall NOx Emissions Quite Negligibly


VW made a brazen move after it realized in 2008 that its small diesel engine could not realistically meet pollution standards in the United States as well as consumer expectation for performance and fuel economy. Someone in the company came up with the idea to design the computer software to only turn on the pollution controls (that greatly reduce engine power) when the front wheels are moving but the back wheels are stationary, cheating a typical emissions test that takes place on a dyno. Other car companies were baffled as to how VW was accomplishing these emission standards. Mazda and Honda for example had not exported their diesel engines to the United States because they were incapable of profitably meeting the emissions standards. Many consumer diesel engine,s for example BMW, meet the standards by actually using a reservoir of urea to reduce engine emissions of NOx gasses at substantial expense to the cost of the car.… Read the rest

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Polanyi’s Paradox: Will humans maintain any advantage over machines?

Robots and Jobs

This essay originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions.

(Previous Entry)

There is no denying that improvements in technology allow machines to perform tasks that were once performed best by humans. This is at the heart of the technological displacement we see throughout the economy. The key question going forward is whether humans will maintain an advantage in any cognitive or physical activity. The answer to this question will determine whether the future of the economy is one in which humans continue to play a relevant part, or one in which humans are left behind.

To help us answer this question it is worth considering the paradoxes of technological improvement. It is truly amazing that advances in artificial intelligence have allowed machines to beat humans at cognitive games like chess or Jeopardy!, or that cars can now be driven around complex environments without human assistance. At the same time, it is strange that other physical and cognitive skills have been less easy for machines to master, e.g.… Read the rest

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