Let’s not forget about the rest of the world

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The president of the world’s largest authoritarian state, by contrast, walks with swagger abroad. His grip on China is tighter than any leader’s since Mao. And whereas Mao’s China was chaotic and miserably poor, Mr Xi’s is a dominant engine of global growth. His clout will soon be on full display.

pub. 10/2017

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You should read at least something about Bill Browder’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee

The video is here.

A few choice quotes:

“What you need to understand about the Russians is there is no ideology at all. Vladimir Putin is in the business of trying to create chaos everywhere.”

“First, since 2012 it’s emerged that Vladimir Putin was a beneficiary of the stolen $230 million that Sergei Magnitsky exposed. Recent revelations from the Panama Papers have shown that Putin’s closest childhood friend, Sergei Roldugin, a famous cellist, received $2 billion of funds from Russian oligarchs and the Russian state. It’s commonly understood that Mr. Roldugin received this money as an agent of Vladimir Putin.”

“There are approximately ten thousand officials in Russia working for Putin who are given instructions to kill, torture, kidnap, extort money from people, and seize their property. Before the Magnitsky Act, Putin could guarantee them impunity and this system of illegal wealth accumulation worked smoothly. However, after the passage of the Magnitsky Act, Putin’s guarantee disappeared. The Magnitsky Act created real consequences outside of Russia and this created a real problem for Putin and his system of kleptocracy.”

all from 07/2017

A written version, from the Atlantic:

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NPR’s coverage:

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The light Huff Po version, in part focusing on the administration’s probable attempts to distract the public from the testimony:

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The similar Metro version:

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How the Netherlands became a corporate tax haven

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And that disparity is entirely unjustified, because far more untaxed American profit hides out in the Netherlands than in Bermuda. Since 2005, nearly half a trillion (!) dollars in American profit has been safely stored in the Netherlands by companies such as Nike, General Electric, Heinz, Caterpillar, Time Warner, Foot Locker – the list goes on and on. Half a trillion dollars: it’s an unfathomable amount of money, nearly twice the country’s entire budget.

pub. 06/2017

Psst–and to bring it back home:

If history is any guide, the US government will eventually swing legislation back in your company’s favor.

In 2005, for example, Congress passed a law that allowed American multinationals to bring home their foreign profits at a temporarily low rate of 5.25% – a mere one-sixth of the regular tax rate. Some $362 billion flowed back into the US as a result. A quarter of that – a whopping $90 billion – had been cached in the Netherlands.

The promise was that the law would create American jobs. But it didn’t, revealed an analysis conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Nonetheless, another profit repatriation tax break will probably take effect soon. Trump’s proposed tax plan includes a temporarily reduced rate of 10% on overseas earnings that are returned to American soil.

And so Trump, for all his MAGA rhetoric, reinforces American companies’ biggest lesson: earn your money in other countries and you’ll pay less tax.

As of the end of June, who can enter the US and who can’t

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Portions of President Trump’s travel ban go into effect on Thursday, three days after the Supreme Court temporarily lifted legal blocks on the ban and agreed to review the case this fall.

The court granted an exception for people with “bona fide relationships” in the United States, and advocates and experts expressed uncertainty about how the Trump administration would implement the decision.

pub. 06/2017

The loyal oligarchs: A glimpse into the inner workings of Putin’s reign

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(In the paper edition, this article was titled “Oligarchy 2.0”.)

In the nineties, Russia’s oligarchs appropriated state assets—industrial production, mining, and oil and gas deposits—and did what they wanted with them. The oligarchs of the Putin era, on the other hand, are themselves assets of the state, administering business fiefdoms that also happen to pay handsomely. Many have a long-standing relationship with the President, and a particular sphere of responsibility. Rotenberg’s is infrastructure.

pub. 05/2017

A deep dive into Trump/Russia background and history, plus believable speculation

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You’ve probably heard plenty of hushed whispers or outright panic about Russia’s information warfare against the West, but it’s seldom been put in context. We’re going to fix that in our deep dive into exactly how the Trump/Russia saga unfolded. This is one of the most consequential stories of our lifetime, and it’s not over, so get ready to bookmark this piece now.

pub. 05/2017