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Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?

Despite North Dakota’s collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits. This article looks at what California, with fifty times North Dakota’s population, could do following that state’s lead.

Ellen Brown, Common Dreams

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http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/views-article/bank_north_dakota.jpg?itok=pf69nqOq Even amid falling oil prices, by increasing its lending into a collapsing economy, the state-owned Bank of North Dakota has helped prop the economy up. (Photo: AP/Dale Wetzel)

May 02, 2016 | In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation’s only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state’s oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND’s profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever.

The BND has had record profits for the last 12 years, each year outperforming the last. In 2015 it reported $130.7 million in earnings, total assets of $7.4 billion, capital of $749 million, and a return on investment of a whopping 18.1 percent. Its lending portfolio grew by $486 million, a 12.7 percent increase, with growth in all four of its areas of concentration: agriculture, business, residential, and student loans.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and founder of the Public Banking Institute. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt, and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

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Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich

  • Related: US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

The World As It Is, YouTube

http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/story/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425/1000x600/20130423-national-affairs-600-1366749334.jpg Illustration by Victor Juhasz

Nov 23, 2014 | Chris Hedges discusses his personal insights into the psychology and private behavior of the super rich and how these things relate to the state of the world today. One of the best Chris Hedges segments by far.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report, Rob Davies, Guardian 

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  • Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn
  • Related: The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

 

Loon's malaria death seen as sign of climate change

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  • Scientists believe the presence of the malaria parasite in loons offers further proof that climate change already is taking a toll on the region. As temperatures rise in New England, a parasite found more commonly in birds down in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana appears to be moving north.
  • Related: What Corporate America Would Do If It Really Cared About Climate Change

Micahel Casey, Associated Press  / Gloucester Times 

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/gloucestertimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/d1/5d182053-c142-55d1-afb8-8c39c956fa32/5713e0cd174d9.image.jpg (Loon Preservation Committee/Chris Conrad via AP)

Apr 17, 2016 | For decades, researcher Mark Pokras and his colleagues have been trying to understand what is killing loons.

Through thousands of blood samples taken over the past 30 years, they found these birds — a relatively common sight on many New England lakes — were suffering from lead and mercury poisoning as well as other pollutants.

But the researchers took some solace in knowing that loons, unlike birds that frequent more tropical climates, weren't being sickened by avian malaria.

That, however, is changing.

Veteran journalist Michael Casey, who has broken news on drastic global happenings like terrorism, climate change, science & sports, has been appointed as the administrative correspondent for the Associated Press’s (AP’s) northern New England region.

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What Corporate America Would Do If It Really Cared About Climate Change, Joe Conason, In These Times <http://inthesetimes.com>

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  • CEOs are professing to care about the climate. But they’re still funding Republican climate-change deniers.
  • Related: The breathtaking human toll of environmental pollution

Universities Are Becoming Billion-Dollar Hedge Funds With Schools Attached

  • It’s not just universities with eating clubs and legacies that are getting into the game. Many public universities are also doing so, in part because state support for education has been cut, but also to compete with richer schools by rapidly increasing their more limited wealth.
  • This story was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a non-profit supporting journalism, photo and video about economic struggle. 
  • Related: Series | Looking at elite-college admissions, Part 2:  Where College Admissions Went Wrong

Astra Taylor, Nation / Portside

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/harvard_university3-20-2016.jpg?itok=dNeBIEJ- A tour group visits the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. AP Photo / Elise Amendola / The Nation

March 8, 2016 | Have you heard the latest wisecrack about Harvard? People are calling it a hedge fund with a university attached. They have a point—Harvard stands at the troubling intersection between higher education and high finance, with over 15 percent of its massive $38 billion endowment invested in hedge funds. That intersection is getting crowded. Yale’s comparatively modest $26 billion endowment, for example, made hedge fund managers $480 million in 2014, while only $170 million was spent on things like tuition assistance and fellowships for students. “I was going to donate money to Yale. But maybe it makes more sense to mail a check directly to the hedge fund of my choice,” Malcolm Gladwell tweeted last summer, causing a commotion that landed him on NPR. -

What has gotten less attention is how it’s not just universities with eating clubs and legacies that are getting into the game. Many public universities are also doing so, in part because state support for education has been cut, but also to compete with richer schools by rapidly increasing their more limited wealth. Though the exact figure is hard to determine, experts I consulted estimate that over $100 billion of educational endowment money nationwide is invested in hedge funds, costing them approximately $2.5 billion in fees in 2015 alone. The problems with hedge funds managing college endowments are manifold, going well beyond the exorbitant—some would say extortionate—fees they charge for their services. 

Astra Taylor is the director of the documentary films Zizek! and Examined Life. She has written for Monthly Review, Adbusters, Salon, The Baffler, Bomb Magazine, n+1 and other outlets. She is the co-editor of the book Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America (Verso). 

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http://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/2016/03/29/CollegeAdmissions2_1/1920.jpg?1459260223  Vixit / Shutterstock / Paul Spella / The Atlantic 

Series | Looking at elite-college admissions, Part 2:  Where College Admissions Went Wrong, Alia Wong, the Atlantic 

  • “Far too many students are learning to do whatever it takes to get ahead—even if that means sacrificing individuality, health, happiness, ethical principles, and behavior.”“Far too many students are learning to do whatever it takes to get ahead—even if that means sacrificing individuality, health, happiness, ethical 
  • This is the second story in a three-part series looking at elite-college admissions. Read Part 1 here
  • Related: The Arrogant Ignorance of the 'Well-Educated'

US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

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Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn

Rob Davies, Guardian

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/1145c5ee87467b091df22f2fbdab86848b382b8c/0_157_5332_3199/master/5332.jpg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=5f0c8560fbeb8920bfb75fbe8d646117The report singled out British overseas territories such as Bermuda for their popularity with US firms seeking to slash their tax bill by ‘profit-shifting’. Photograph: Alamy

Thursday 14 April 2016 | US corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4tn (£980bn) in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.

The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secretive network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam.

The charity’s analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest US corporations comes amid intense scrutiny of tax havens following the leak of the Panama Papers.

Rob Davies is a business reporter covering a wide range of sectors, with a particular interest in how UK companies behave in the developing world.

Full story … 

Related:

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime, Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch

  • Tax havens don’t need to be reformed. They should be outlawed. --Richard Brooks
  • The Panama Papers demonstrate that for all the fine words about transparency on tax, the world’s kleptocrats are still getting away with it
  • Some American intellectuals like Chris Hedges believe the public should/will revolt. “Hedges’ message is clear: Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.” --Truthdig.com
  • Related: Special Report | Panama Papers: Problems, Propaganda, Media Corruption

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

  • Some American intellectuals like Chris Hedges believe the public should/will revolt. “Hedges’ message is clear <http://www.truthdig.com/bazaar/wages_of_rebellion>: Popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization.” --Truthdig.com
  • Related: Special Report | Panama Papers: Problems, Propaganda, Media Corruption

Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch

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April 8, 2016 | The Panama Papers, a one-year investigation by over 100 reporters worldwide (The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) of offshore money hiding/laundering/taxation avoidance, is a cause célèbre of underhandedness seldom, if ever, revealed to the world’s public. It is comparable to lifting a rotting log in the woods and finding an active nest of millipedes, red worms, and cockroaches scampering about to escape the bright sunlight. They can’t stand the sunlight because darkness is their life.

“It’s the biggest leak in history, dwarfing the data released by the Wikileaks organization in 2010. For context, if the amount of data released by Wikileaks was equivalent to the population of San Francisco, the amount of data released in the Panama Papers is the equivalent to that of India,” (BBC News, April 5th).

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles.

Full story … 

Related:

Special Report | Panama Papers: Problems, Propaganda, Media Corruption, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Now the facts are in the open but the way in which the revelations are reported is questionable and taints an important story.
  • Mainstream U.S. journalism and propaganda are getting hard to tell apart, as with the flurry of “corruption” stories aimed at Russia’s Putin and other demonized foreign leaders
  • Part 1: Freedom Rider: The Panama Papers Problem
  • Part 2: 'Corruption' as a Propaganda Weapon
  • Related: Special Report | The Panama Papers Scandal, Week Ending  April 9, 2016

 

What Corporate America Would Do If It Really Cared About Climate Change

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  • CEOs are professing to care about the climate. But they’re still funding Republican climate-change deniers.
  • Related: The breathtaking human toll of environmental pollution

Joe Conason, In These Times

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Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies - exclusively!- on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

http://inthesetimes.com/images/made/images/GettyImages-500218800_850_567.jpg  The Eiffel Tower is illuminated as part of Human Energy, an art work aimed at 'accelerating the Climate Revolution by lighting up the Eiffel tower during COP21' conference on climate change. (Matthieu Alexandre/AFP/Getty Images)

December 7, 2015 | Much as the world must hope that the governments assembled in Paris achieve their objectives, at the very least they have provided an occasion for business leaders of all descriptions to announce their commitment to climate sanity. With sponsorships, pledges and official statements, a long list of major corporations has declared that man-made climate change is real and must be reversed to save the earth—and their profits. 

Easy as it is to lampoon the professions of these corporate leaders, there should be little doubt that some, perhaps most, are sincere. They're sentient human beings, after all, whose children and grandchildren will have no choice but to live on this endangered planet. They say that is why they've publicly expressed support for successful negotiations in Paris and promised to reduce carbon emissions while using and investing in clean energy. 

Joe Conason is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Full story … 

Related:

The breathtaking human toll of environmental pollution, Allison Jackson, GlobalPost / Salon 

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  • However bad you thought it was, a new World Health Organization report reveals the reality is infinitely worse
  • DNR deems PolyMet plans 'adequate' — but the big question remains unanswered

Special Report | Panama Papers: Problems, Propaganda, Media Corruption

  http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Panama%20Papers%20Scandal%20graphic_0.jpg

  • Now the facts are in the open but the way in which the revelations are reported is questionable and taints an important story.
  • Mainstream U.S. journalism and propaganda are getting hard to tell apart, as with the flurry of “corruption” stories aimed at Russia’s Putin and other demonized foreign leaders
  • Part 1: Freedom Rider: The Panama Papers Problem
  • Part 2: 'Corruption' as a Propaganda Weapon
  • Related: Special Report | The Panama Papers Scandal, Week Ending  April 9, 2016

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

http://media.cagle.com/78/2016/04/06/177770_600.jpg Paresh Nath


Part 1: Freedom Rider: The Panama Papers Problem, Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report 

  • The Panama tax haven leaks reveal a lot about the lawlessness of the rich, as well as the ideological bias of the western press. “Vladimir Putin’s name appears nowhere, but the corporate media used his image repeatedly to drum up interest in what is an otherwise newsworthy story.” Americans are conspicuous by their absence from the story. That’s because rich people in the U.S. can avoid taxes “legally in Wyoming, Delaware or Nevada.”
  • “The goal of revealing secrets instead turns into a plan to keep more secrets and to tarnish certain reputations based on bias and mysterious criteria.”

http://blackagendareport.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-400x300/public/FR_rich2.jpg?itok=lOzrFWOM Tue, 04/05/2016 | The worst criminals on earth are not the poor who sit behind bars in jails and prisons. The biggest thieves are found among the rich. The 1% can buy legislation, politicians and the media to carry out and hide their dirty work. If they can’t change the laws to benefit themselves in their homelands they simply send their money elsewhere through shell holding companies. This transfer of wealth, much of it diverted from what ought to be tax payments, is an open secret. Panama, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg and Switzerland are known for securing the money and secrets of the rich and the well connected.

The leak of 11.5 million documents from the Panama based Mossack Fonseca law firm brings into the light of day what was long known but passively accepted. Now the facts are in the open but the way in which the revelations are reported is questionable and taints an important story.

Margaret Kimberley is editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report. Her column, Freedom Rider, appears weekly in Black Agenda Report, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog.

Full story … 


Part 2: 'Corruption' as a Propaganda Weapon, Robert Parry, Consortium News 

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Mainstream U.S. journalism and propaganda are getting hard to tell apart, as with the flurry of “corruption” stories aimed at Russia’s Putin and other demonized foreign leaders

Related: Special Report | The Panama Papers Scandal, Week Ending  April 9, 2016

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05 April 16 | Sadly, some important duties of journalism, such as applying evenhanded standards on human rights abuses and financial corruption, have been so corrupted by the demands of government propaganda – and the careerism of too many writers – that I now become suspicious whenever the mainstream media trumpets some sensational story aimed at some “designated villain.”

Far too often, this sort of “journalism” is just a forerunner to the next “regime change” scheme, dirtying up or delegitimizing a foreign leader before the inevitable advent of a “color revolution” organized by “democracy-promoting” NGOs often with money from the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy or some neoliberal financier like George Soros.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. His latest book is America’s Stolen Narrative.

Full story … 

Related:

Special Report | The Panama Papers Scandal, Week Ending  April 9, 2016, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest.

  • A huge leak of documents has lifted the lid on how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. The files were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
  • 5 New items including:
    • Panama Papers Q&A: What is the scandal about?
    • Five key figures implicated in the 'Panama Papers' scandal
    • Americans Included in ‘Panama Papers’ Leak
    • The Names in the Panama Papers
    • Massive Leak of Secret Documents from Panamanian Firm Reveal Movement of Billions of Dollars in Suspect Transactions

 
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