The Tax Justice Network‘s latest TaxCast is out. Hosted by Naomi Fowler, each 15 minute podcast follows the latest news relating to tax evasion, tax avoidance and the shadow banking system. The show features discussions with experts in the field to help analyse the top stories each month.
In this month’s show: is it the beginning of the end of tax avoidance for multi-national corporations? Some countries fight back. And the Finance Curse – why an oversized finance sector’s bad for an economy. A special extended edition.
We are happy to report that Taxcast has been nominated for the European Podcast Award! You can vote for it here.
29 November 2012 — We are delighted that an overwhelming majority of countries at the UN General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine to a non-member observer status. To coincide with this, here is Roger Waters, the front man for Pink Floyd, the greatest rock band ever, speaking earlier in the day, on behalf of the Russell Tribunal, delivering his indictment of Israeli criminality at the UN and making a plea for the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state.
Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus professor of political economy and Dr Edward Skidelsky, lecturer in philosophy tackle the questions: What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth?
Adam Shatz has a superb piece in the LRB, the best analysis of the changing regional dynamic I’ve read so far. Two passages in particular stand out:
That Netanyahu stopped short of a ground war, and gave in to key demands at the Cairo talks, is an indication not only of Egypt’s growing stature, but of Israel’s weakened position. Its relations with Turkey, once its closest ally in the region and the pillar of its ‘doctrine of the periphery’ (a strategy based on alliances with non-Arab states) have deteriorated with the rise of Erdogan and the AKP. The Jordanian monarchy, the second Arab government to sign a peace treaty with Israel, is facing increasingly radical protests. And though Israel may welcome the fall of Assad, an ally of Hizbullah and Iran, it is worried that a post-Assad government, dominated by the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brothers, may be no less hostile to the occupying power in the Golan: the occasional rocket fire from inside Syria in recent days has been a reminder for Israel of how quiet that border was under the Assad family. Israeli leaders lamented for years that theirs was the only democracy in the region. What this season of revolts has revealed is that Israel had a very deep investment in Arab authoritarianism. The unravelling of the old Arab order, when Israel could count on the quiet complicity of Arab big men who satisfied their subjects with flamboyant denunciations of Israeli misdeeds but did little to block them, has been painful for Israel, leaving it feeling lonelier than ever.It is this acute sense of vulnerability, even more than Netanyahu’s desire to bolster his martial credentials before the January elections, that led Israel into war.
The Palestinians understand that they are no longer facing Israel on their own: Israel, not Hamas, is the region’s pariah. The Arab world is changing, but Israel is not. Instead, it has retreated further behindJabotinsky’s ‘iron wall’, deepening its hold on the Occupied Territories, thumbing its nose at a region that is at last acquiring a taste of its own power, exploding in spasms of high-tech violence that fail to conceal its lack of a political strategy to end the conflict. Iron Dome may shield Israel from Qassam rockets, but it won’t shield it from the future.
The picture on the left is doing the rounds on the internet labelled as a Palestinian child victim of US-backed Zionist bombing in Gaza. In fact, it seems that it depicts a Syrian child injured by Russian and Iranian-backed Asadist barbarism. No matter – the two are interchangeable today. Both are fighting hyper-violent tyrannies rooted in the Sykes-Picot carve-up of bilad ash-Shaam. And while Zionism bombs Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Asad’s forces continue to bomb Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk camp, Damascus. The film below shows some of the aftermath of this bombing. Below that we reprint an article by novelist Ahdaf Soueif, in which she describes the changed Arab environment meeting the latest aggression on Gaza, and points out that Israel’s action is in part aimed to take “the heat off Bashar al-Assad’s murderous activities in Syria.”
At death you measure
no more than our arms
When we rise
to blow a prayer into your charred lung
we find resplendent
milling about — lapidary
punctuations of our time
(eleven months in all)
Horror turned honey
as buds of new fruit