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The Walmart octopus: World's biggest corporation dodges its massive US tax bill with secret overseas havens

A groundbreaking report reveals that Walmart has built a vast, undisclosed network of 78 subsidiaries and branches in 15 overseas tax havens, which may be used to minimize foreign taxes where it has retail operations and to avoid U.S. tax on those foreign earnings. These secretive subsidiaries have never been subject to public scrutiny before. They have remained largely invisible, in part because Walmart fails to list them in its annual 10-K filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Walmart's preferred tax haven is Luxembourg, dubbed a "magical fairyland" for corporations looking to shelter profits from taxation.

The report, The Walmart Web: How the World's Biggest Corporation Secretly Uses Tax Havens to Dodge Taxes, is the first-ever comprehensive documentation of the company's use of tax havens. The full report is available here, and for the report's Key Findings, click here.

Key Findings

Most people know that Walmart is the world's biggest corporation. Virtually no one knows that Walmart has an extensive and secretive web of subsidiaries located in countries widely known as tax havens. Typically, the primary purpose for a corporation to set up subsidiaries in tax havens where it has little to no business operations and few, if any, employees is to pay little, if any, taxes and to maintain financial secrecy.

Walmart has established a vast and relatively new web of subsidiaries in tax havens, while avoiding public disclosure of these subsidiaries.

Comment: So Walmart hast a total of $205 billion (billion!) in total assets. Yet this despicable "business" gets away with paying its slaves employees so little they are forced to apply for food stamps and other forms of social assistance. How is this not criminal? Shouldn't the IRS be focusing on this grand scale malfeasance, rather than auditing mom-and-pop businesses?


Airplane

Boeing 737 bursts into flames at Kazakhstan airport

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Terror at the terminal: Horrified airline passengers look on from the gate after the plane they were due to board bursts into flames at at an airport in Kazakhstan
This is the terrifying moment a commercial airliner bursts into flames moments before passengers were about to board.

The Boeing 737-300 caught fire after an oxygen cylinder exploded as horrified onlookers watched on from the gate.

Dramatic footage shows 15ft-high flames erupting through a massive hole in the fuselage, sending thick, black smoke billowing across the airport.

Fortunately, the incoming passengers had already left the 25-year-old aircraft and the outgoing ones had not yet been called to board.

The fire is understood to have caused irreparable damage before firefighters were able to bring the flames under control with water cannon.



Snakes in Suits

While tax payers help feed its low-wage workers, Wal-Mart hides over $76 billion in overseas tax havens

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© Shutterstock
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was able to avoid paying $3.5 billion in taxes last year by owning $76 billion of its assets in overseas tax havens, a study found this week.

United Food & Commercial Workers International Union research published by Americans for Tax Fairness on Wednesday showed that Wal-Mart had created more than 78 offshore subsidiaries and branches since 2009 that the company had not disclosed in U.S. securities filings, Bloomberg reported.

According to the study, 90 percent of the overseas assets owned by Wal-Mart were through two of the most popular tax havens in the world, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Although the company has no stores in Luxembourg, it reported $1.3 billion profits in the country between 2010 and 2013, which were taxed at a rate of less than 1 percent.

Family

"The pitchforks are coming" - a billionaire talks about class war

© Associated Press
"When employers stop thinking about employees as costs to cut, but instead as customers, they see it is in their self interest to raise the minimum wage. We need to change their concept of self interest."
Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist who was one of the first investors in Amazon, has the distinction of being one of America's few progressive billionaires. We spoke to him about the class war—which he is busily fighting.

Hanauer drew attention last year for writing an op-ed in Politico warning his "fellow zillionaires" that "the pitchforks are coming" if something is not done to address America's growing economic inequality. Since then, he has been producing a steady stream of blog posts and essays calling for higher pay for low-wage workers and other measures designed to boost the fortunes of the declining lower and middle classes.

Yesterday, the Seattle-based investor was in New York testifying in favor of a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers. He stopped by our office afterwards to talk.

Gawker: Why did you decide to speak at the fast food wage hearing today?

Nick Hanauer: I flew out to do testimony obviously because they asked me to, but [also] because I was at the forefront of the effort to pass $15 minimum wage in Seattle, and have been collaborating with the people who are trying to make that happen across the country.

Gawker: And your message is: it worked in Seattle, and it can work here?

NH: Yeah. My message is that the counterclaim—which is that if wages go up, employment will go down—is a scam. It's a con job. It's an intimidation tactic. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that it's true. On the contrary, where you find high wages you usually find low unemployment.

Comment: Heartening to see that a person can be a successful entrepreneur and still retain their humanity.


Boat

Britain to scrap Royal Navy rescue operations as Mediterranean migrant crisis escalates

© AFP
Migrants rescued by Royal Marines from the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bulwark in the Mediterranean Sea on June 7, 2015.
As EU ministers discuss the world's most serious refugee crisis since World War II, the British government is set to withdraw its Royal Navy flagship from its role in rescuing thousands of migrants desperately trying to cross the Mediterranean.

HMS Bulwark is due to be withdrawn from European search and rescue operations by early July.

Experts say the number of migrants travelling across the Mediterranean in small boats from troubled North African and Middle Eastern states currently stands at a summer high.


As these migrants continue to risk their lives in hope of a better future, the UN warns the resulting refugee crisis is the most serious the world has seen since 1945. Nevertheless, the British government's contribution to addressing the situation remains muted.

In an official statement, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said HMS Bulwark's participation in the search and rescue operations was agreed upon for an initial 60-day period.

The Royal Navy vessel first embarked on these rescue operations in early May.

But with its date of withdrawal drawing ever-closer, the government is yet to clarify whether the ship will continue to partake in cross-border efforts to keep migrants crossing the Mediterranean safe.

Probed on HMS Bulwark's future role in tackling the migrant crisis, an MoD spokeswoman told the Guardian "no definitive date has been set for its withdrawal."

The spokeswoman stressed, however, that "all options are being considered."


Comment: What an unconscionable decision! Another psychopathic solution to this growing humanitarian crisis is to bomb the 'refugee terrorists' they created.

The mean and hypocritical narrative from the British government on the immigration issue is being reflected across society. According to the charity Islamic Relief there was now a "dramatic hardening of views" against people displaced by war, with nearly half of British people believing refugees should be turned away from the UK.


Stormtrooper

Cop shoots and kills dog that is tied up in its own yard

© Muzzi family
The Muzzi family from Cleveland, Mississippi is looking for answers after a cop shot their one and a half year old yellow lab, Miller, on June 12.

Tyler Muzzi and his family are in mourning. Tyler was trying to be a good Samaritan when he called his neighbor to inform him that a suspicious character was sneaking around his place.

Muzzi was getting ready to go to work at around 1:15 pm on Friday, when he saw the man. "We live on a dead-end road, so we all know who should be in the neighborhood and who shouldn't," he added.

His neighbor called the police, who arrived while Muzzi was still keeping an eye on the lurker. They searched the area and apprehended the suspect.

Muzzi's yellow lab, Miller, was on a run in his yard. The run was a wire that stretched between two trees and Miller was on a tie down that moved along the wire. He was able to access a large area of Muzzi's yard and about a foot onto the neighbor's property.

After watching the man being taken away and seeing a plains clothes investigator, Greg Perkins, arrive, Muzzi resumed getting ready for work. All of a sudden he heard three shots ring out. Thinking the cops had shot the suspect, and knowing that he was in custody, he ran to the door to see what was going on, only to see Miller lying on the ground in a pool of blood screaming in pain.

Investigator Greg Perkins of the Cleveland Police had deemed it necessary to walk back into Muzzi's back yard and shoot the dog. All the other officers had been around the dog the entire time they were searching for the intruder. The line was clearly visible, and none of them had any problem with the friendly dog. "We do not have a fenced in backyard, so we keep Miller on a line when we are home and he needs to go out. They saw him, knew he was there, and never asked me to put him up," Muzzi said.

He ran back into his house and called his vet and grabbed some towels to wrap his dog in. The cops stood around and didn't help him until Animal Control pulled up and helped him get Miller to his car. They made it to the vet, but Miller's injuries were too severe for him to pull through and he had to be euthanized.

Water

When it comes to water, we're not all equal

As water resources in California near a worst-case scenario where all surface water sources have run out, the ultra wealthy have yet to pull back on their usage. In response, counties all over the state have implemented water restrictions with hefty fines for those who go over their daily allotments. But those fines, often amounting to a small drop in the bucket for the more well off, have done little to curb use in high dollar communities.

Moreover, though California's sanctions purportedly aim to save water, large mega corporations like Nestle and Walmart are still pulling water out of the ground at fractions of pennies on the dollar and reselling bottled products for hundred-fold or more profits. It's been reported, for example, that Nestle puts a mark up of 53 Million percent on a single bottle.

So while California lawmakers argue that the new restrictions make water usage equal for all, the fact is that, as George Orwell so succinctly put it in his classic novella Animal Farm, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Dollars

Wall Street takes offense at consumers' failure to follow orders and spend, spend, spend

Last week the government reported personal income and spending for April. After months of blaming non-existent consumer spending on cold weather, shockingly occurring during the Winter, the captured mainstream media pundits, Ivy League educated Wall Street economist lackeys, and Keynesian loving money printers at the Fed have run out of propaganda to explain why Americans are not spending money they don't have. The corporate mainstream media is now visibly angry with the American people for not doing what the Ivy League propagated Keynesian academic models say they should be doing.

The ultimate mouthpiece for the banking cabal, Jon Hilsenrath, who does the bidding of the Federal Reserve at the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, wrote an arrogant, condescending, putrid diatribe, directed at the middle class victims of Wall Street banker criminality and Federal Reserve acquiescence to the vested corporate interests that run this country. Here are the more disgusting portions of his denunciation of the formerly middle class working people of America.

Comment: Why aren't Americans spending? Is it because they have nothing to spend?


Attention

US politicians use "Rent a Crowd" company to give illusion of support

© The Rundown Live
Have you ever wondered how a politician disliked by most could fill a room with screaming supporters giving the perception they have your local communities support?

Look no further than a company called "Crowds on Demand", a company who hires multi-talented actors who are experts of improvisational theatre to provide the illusion of support for a candidate. Nothing draws a crowd, like a crowd.

The company who has provided its services for athletes, artists and fashion people has recently admitted to providing services for both Republican and Democrat candidates.

Ceo and founder Adam Swart was emailed a few questions about his services by activist Ian Cioffi. The company owner was asked if his system is proven to work in U.S. politics?

Swart claimed, he has done work for "dozens of candidates in the US primarily but not exclusively Republican. Mostly they are candidates who suffer from lack of enthusiasm/turnout at rallies and in need of a 'game change' (sorry, that's a loaded term now!). The candidates have been primarily congressional/senate candidates. We've only worked with one (serious) presidential candidate thus far.".

So what other benefits could a company of this magnitude offer?

Arrow Down

TTIP talks and industry pressure caused EU bureaucrats to cancel pesticide bans

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Using the argument of the top secret Trans-Atlanic Trade and Investment Partnership talks, as well as enormous reported lobbying pressure from such chemical giants as Bayer AG and BASF as their excuse, the EU Commission has quietly abandoned plans for tighter safety regulations on pesticides. This is no minor bureaucratic issue. The health and safety of hundreds of millions of people in the EU are at risk to say nothing of animals, birds and insects, and nature at all.

Way back in 1999, sixteen years ago, the EU Commission began to look at possible health dangers from a class of chemical pesticides known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Until now, tragically, nothing has been done by Brussels to safeguard the health and safety of her citizens based on the "precautionary principle," otherwise stated, if it might harm, there is evidence it does, and you cannot be more precise, ban it until you are absolutely certain, whether GMO crops and glyphosate herbicide Roundup or ECDs or DDT.

Scientists link ECD exposure, even in low doses, to a rise in foetal abnormalities, genital mutations, lowered sperm counts, genital malformations, non-descended testes, misplaced penis holes, infertility, cancer and even to IQ loss. One recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine linked 15 EDCs found in plastics, personal care products, cosmetics and many household items, to early onset of menopause.

Comment: Under shadow of trade deal, US pesticide lobby pressured EU to dump toxic pesticide rules