Man Of The People

Business Secretary Peter Mandelson is in line for a pay-out of up to £1m after leaving the European Commission to rejoin the Cabinet. He will continue to receive taxpayer-funded EU pay worth £234,000 over three years – in addition to his annual ministerial salary of £104,386.

The Conservatives spokesman on Europe said the details of the “golden goodbye” would anger UK voters. Mr Mandelson will be ennobled on Monday to allow him to return to the Cabinet. He will take his seat in the House of Lords as Lord Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool.

I can’t think of anyone I know who isn’t paid a mil in severance and is a Lord, common as muck, like all those millionaire Lords the Tories have… Although really the evil commu-tory BBC are exaggerating it a bit, it’s not a lump sum after all!

The business secretary is entitled to the EU compensation package despite giving up his post as trade commissioner voluntarily after four years. Under EU rules, Mr Mandelson will be eligible for around £78,000 in “transitionary payments” annually for the next three years. The money – £234,000 in total – will also be subject to preferential tax rates devised for EU officials.

The top-up ensures his income in his new job is the same as his £182,500 salary as a commissioner. In addition to the salary boost, Mr Mandelson’s four-year stint in Brussels entitles him to a pension. When he reaches the age of 65, Mr Mandelson will receive a pension, starting at £31,000 and then rising in line with the cost of living.

A private sector worker who wanted to ensure a similar income in retirement would have to build a pension fund worth more than £700,000. As he relocates from Brussels to London, Mr Mandelson is also due a one-off resettlement grant of £15,000.

Only £15 grand? That’s pretty well much leaving him with a bin bag and a coach ticket home. How’s he meant to fund moving on his poverty pay?  Subject to preferential tax rates? Oh the humanity! I can only hope he picks up some moonlighting directorship gigs to keep body and soul together as he serves the public so selflessly. And an inflation linked £31 grand pension? Why not just start feeding him value dog food as he freezes to death right now you stingy bastards!

Oh Mandy, you came and you gave without taking!

[Ok it was just an excuse for the Manilow lyric. Damn you, history will be my judge!]

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We’re Incredibly Corrupt, Yeah!

The OECD while a big fan of the free market and all that crap still manage to accuse NuLabour’s corporatist friendly regime of being like totally frickin’ bent guvnor (and this was before the BAE investigation was dropped)-

Leading industrialised nations have fired a stinging broadside at Britain over its failure to tackle corporate bribery overseas, at a time when other countries are pursuing big-name multinationals.

The anti-bribery working group of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development attacked London’s performance in a letter delivered to the government in June, the Financial Times has learned.

The letter – sent before the House of Lords backed the scrapping of an investigation into BAE Systems’ Saudi arms deals – is a sign of how Britain’s failure to bring cases against its multinationals is alienating European and US allies who are pursuing their companies.

The message suggests London can expect a tough time at the next meeting of the OECD anti-bribery group in October, where members could take the embarrassing and unprecedented step of pushing for Britain to be suspended.

One person who has seen the letter said it was “particularly undiplomatic” and laid out the “full menu” of criticisms about Britain’s performance on tackling bribery by its businesses and nationals overseas.

The letter attacked Britain over its failure to bring a single overseas bribery case or to deliver on a years-old pledge to update its anti-corruption laws. It also raised concerns that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) would downgrade its commitment to tackling corporate foreign bribery, because of plans for it to focus more on public education and consumer crimes such as share scams.

Yes the all new SFO as noted before will focus on working with business, not y’know investigating them, so do you think a/. this will make us less corrupt or b/. Hey stop laughing.

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Common -Fucking- Sense

The three biggest unions – Unite, the GMB and Unison – have called for tax rises for the rich in amendments to draft policy statements. So have many constituency Labour parties. The unions want an increase of the threshold at which national insurance starts from £3,500 to £5,000, and a cut for people earning up to £40,000 a year, funded by higher contributions for people earning over £100,000.

Money quote-

One cabinet minister said: “There is a debate about tax at the highest level of the Government. Some people are arguing that we should raise more from the top to help those at the bottom.” But another minister warned that such a move would be “suicide” and mark the end of New Labour.

It’s great NuLabour want to govern on behalf of the minority earning over 100,000, no wait the other thing- a wildly undemocratic betrayal of their core principles. Hey, suicide sounds good in that case. See that’s the flaw in ‘another minister’ s reasoning, there are no bad outcomes in his scenario. Half a million on strike this time, and it will grow. Now can anyone guess who gets over £100,000…clue.

The Stupid Drug War Lumbers On


One of the defining characteristics of the drug war is politician’s ignoring expert findings and providing demagogic enforcement measures to placate idiot & ignorant voters. And never, ever, EVER considering de-criminalising and harm reduction allied to social reform. And Gordon’s no different-

Downing Street today signalled that the prime minister remained intent on toughening the law on cannabis despite reports that the government’s official drugs advisory body opposes its reclassification. Gordon Brown’s spokesman played down reports that the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) had concluded there was no need to raise the classification of cannabis from class C to class B.

The mental health charity Rethink said Mr Brown should heed the committee’s advice. The charity spokesman Paul Corry said: “Gordon Brown should put aside his personal views on cannabis and accept the fact that it does not make sense to reclassify.

“Use of the drug has gone down since it was downgraded in 2004 and research by Rethink shows that only 3% of users would consider stopping on the grounds of illegality.”

Cannabis was downgraded from class B to class C in January 2004. People still face up to two years in prison if caught in possession of the drug, while those supplying the drug to others can be given a five-year sentence.

NuLabour’s War On Women

Not wanting to be too antagonistic The Guardian/Observer has a good report on women and prison, they bury what really should be the lede 8 paragraphs down-

The female prison population almost doubled between 1997 and 2006, despite there being no corresponding rise in women committing more serious crimes. Nine out of 10 were convicted of non-violent offences. According to a 2003 report by the Prison Reform Trust, women who would previously have received community penalties are being imprisoned while those who would have been sent to prison are being given longer sentences. 

So tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime was in fact-

  • tough on crime- longer sentences.
  • the causes of crime- the person who committed the crime (see tough on crime).

I’m sure they didn’t mean to mislead people and make supporter sthink they would be looking at the socialogical roots of crime, like poverty, housing, education, income and opportunity disparity. NO, that would be fibbing. So NuLabour have locked more women up and for longer while the rich got richer and social mobility declined, really quiet an achievement for a right wing party, the tories must be seething with jealousy- shit, that’s what we wanted to do dammit!

  • 17 The number of women prisons in England
  • 4,248 The average number of women in prison in 2006, up from 1,560 in 1993
  • 37 The percentage of women in prison who have attempted suicide
  • 6 The percentage of women in the total prison population
  • 36 The percentage of women prisoners in 2004 convicted of drugs offences
  • 19 The percentage of women in prison who are foreign nationals – compared to about 12 per cent of males
  • 70 The percentage of women prisoners with mental health problems

MOD Admits…A Little Bit Of Torture, Then Keeps Lying

Britain’s Defence Ministry is to admit that its troops tortured and breached the human rights of nine Iraqi men they detained in southern Iraq in 2003, opening the way to potentially large compensation claims. The decision follows years of legal wrangling in which the family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi hotel worker who was beaten and died in British custody, and eight other Iraqis who survived the beatings, have sought justice.

Seven officers and soldiers were court-martialled in the case of Musa and the others, but only one was found guilty after admitting mistreatment of prisoners.

Well first, it’s not a Ministry of Defence, it’s the Ministry of War, or Violence, or Military. Defence? Newspeak bullshit it is time to abandon. Now then can you spot the effectiveness of the Military investigating itself? And how long did the establishment deny this treatment, ie. lie? And what about the gag order on Ben Griffin who says British complicity in torture was widespread and from the top? In other words this is a tiny admission while they work furiously to keep the truth of the extent of involvement in torture top secret. After all they make sure to state this was tiny number, isolated incident, rotten apple blah blah blah-

“I deeply regret the actions of a very small number of troops and I offer my sincere apologies and sympathy to the family of Baha Musa and the eight others,” armed forces minister Bob Ainsworth said in a statement issued along with the ministry’s admission of its breach of human rights.

Contrast with the last thing Ben Griffin was allowed to say before the same people who have just made that statement gagged him soviet stylee-

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

Seems like Bob is looking to be added to the list. I think Amnesty put it well-

Rather than seeking to silence people who might have credible evidence of alleged human rights violations, which may include war crimes, the UK authorities should be seeking to investigate those allegations.’

It has taken 5 years and constant fighting to get the government to admit to the torture of Baha Musa and 8 others which makes it clear they are not remotely interested in transparency or human rights.

Mehdi Kazemi Safe For Now

The campaign worked-

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced the review of his case on Thursday.
“Following representations made on behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the original decision was made, I have decided that Mr. Kazemi’s case should be reconsidered on his return to the U.K. from the Netherlands.”

But it is not a granting of asylum just acknowledgement that the public furore over it means they don’t want a PR disaster, they may well hope when no one is looking to quickly deny him permanent asylum and fly him to Iran. Safe for now, but their general position remains the same and this is one case against an institution wide corruption & barbarity.

Mehdi Kazemi Now At The Mercy Of The Home Office

Which is not a good situation to be in. So boys and girls, here we go, the background-

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2004 but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

In a phone conversation with his father in Tehran, Mr Kazemi was told that, before the execution in April 2006, his boyfriend had been questioned about sexual relations he had with other men and under interrogation had named Mr Kazemi. Fearing for his own life if he returned to Iran, Mr Kazemi claimed asylum in Britain. Late last year, his claim was refused. Terror-stricken at the prospect of being deported, he made a desperate attempt to evade deportation by fleeing to the Netherlands

What happened in the Netherlands (from Paul Canning’s blog)-

As you may be aware from the BBC, the 19 year old gay Iranian refugee Mehdi Kazemi has lost his case in the Netherlands and the Dutch are refusing to reconsider.

The United Kingdom had sent a formal request to Holland asking for Mehdi’s return to Britain, in order to proceed with his deportation to Iran.

Now then the Home Office/Border and Immigration Agency are (well not fit for the purpose) operating a policy of appeasing immigration demagoguing scum stoked by tabloid imbecility so they routinely ignore the dangers people face if forced back to their countries. In this case it also reveals their absurd and bigoted hypocrisy-

Home Office’s position is that people like Mehdi can be homosexual ‘on the quiet’, therefore no ‘risk’, therefore we can send them back. That somehow homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’. Meaning that they ‘choose’ to be persecuted, they ‘choose to break laws’.

The problem is a homophobic Home Office whose actual policy towards gay refugees is interchangeable with Iranian policy towards gays: it’s a ‘choice’.

So current state of play- he is on his way back to Britain where sufficient pressure and visibility will force the Home Office to actually live up to their pretence that they do not deport people who would be in danger. So, bring the noise-

Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
House of Commons, Westminster,
London, SW1A 0AA
By Telephone and Fax : 01527 523355

By E mail:
Home Office email


And of course sane and intelligent people can do this without it meaning bombing Iran is a splendid idea. I’m sorry I have to always say this, but right wingers & war pimps really are that stupid.

Ben Griffin Banned Speech Video

This speech is from the World Against War rally the night before the UK government obtained an injunction gagging him and is in addition to the statement he had previously made. Then Stop the War posted the video and this statement-

“As of 1940hrs 29/02/08 I have been placed under an injunction preventing me from speaking publicly and publishing material gained as a result of my service in UKSF (SAS). I will be continuing to collect evidence and opinion on British Involvement in extraordinary rendition, torture, secret detentions, extra judicial detention, use of evidence gained through torture, breaches of the Geneva Conventions, breaches of International Law and failure to abide by our obligations as per UN Convention Against Torture. I am carrying on regardless ”
Ben Griffin, Former UK Special forces trooper

Text of Statement posted previously click here.

Ex SAS Soldier Reveals Extent Of Torture

Throughout my time in Iraq I was in no doubt that individuals detained by UKSF and handed over to our American colleagues would be tortured. During my time as member of the US/UK Task Force, three soldiers recounted to me an incident in which they had witnessed the brutal interrogation of two detainees. Partial drowning and an electric cattle prod were used during this interrogation and this amounted to torture. It was the widely held assumption that this would be the fate of any individuals handed over to our America colleagues. My commanding officer at the time expressed his concern to the whole squadron that we were becoming “the secret police of Baghdad”.

Via Lenin. Here are excerpts of the statement read by Ben Griffin, ex-SAS soldier, at a press conference on Monday 25 February 2008-

Our government would have us believe that our involvement in the process known as Extraordinary Rendition is limited to two occasions on which planes carrying detainees landed to refuel on the British Indian Ocean Territory, Diego Garcia.

The use of British Territory and airspace pales into insignificance in light of the fact that it has been British soldiers detaining the victims of Extraordinary Rendition in the first place. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001 UKSF has operated within a joint US/UK Task Force. This Task Force has been responsible for the detention of hundreds if not thousands of individuals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Individuals detained by British soldiers within this Task force have ended up in Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Bagram Theatre Internment Facility, Balad Special Forces Base, Camp Nama BIAP and Abu Ghraib Prison.

Whilst the government has stated its desire that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp be closed, it has remained silent over these other secretive prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. These secretive prisons are part of a global network in which individuals face torture and are held indefinately without charge. All of this is in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions, International Law and the UN Convention Against Torture.

Early involvement of UKSF in the process of Extraordinary Rendition centres around operations carried out in Afghanistan in late 2001. Of note is an incident at the Qalai Janghi fortress, near Mazar-i-Sharif. UKSF fought alongside their US counterparts to put down a bloody revolt by captured Taliban fighters. The surviving Taliban fighters were then rendered to Guantanamo Bay.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 this joint US/UK task force appeared. Its primary mission was to kill or capture high value targets. Individuals detained by this Task Force often included non-combatants caught up in the search for high value targets. The use of secret detention centres within Iraq has negated the need to use Guantanamo Bay whilst allowing similar practice to go unnoticed.

As UK soldiers within this Task Force a policy that we would detain individuals but not arrest them was continually enforced. Since it was commonly assumed by my colleagues that anyone we detained would subsequently be tortured this policy of detention and not arrest was regarded as a clumsy legal tool used to distance British soldiers from the whole process.

During the many operations conducted to apprehend high value targets numerous non-combatants were detained and interrogated in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of civilians in occupied territories. I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured.

The joint US/UK Task Force has broken International Law, contravened The Geneva Conventions and disregarded the UN Convention Against Torture. British soldiers are intimately involved in the actions of this Task Force. Jack Straw, Margaret Beckett David Miliband, Geoff Hoon, Des Browne, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown. In their respective positions over the last five years they must know that British soldiers have been operating within this joint US/UK task force. They must have been briefed on the actions of this unit.

Gang Planet

Via Chicken Yoghurt

An Israeli general wanted for alleged war crimes escaped arrest in the UK because British police feared an armed confrontation at Heathrow airport.

Erm, er, well…um…um…er…well…erm…Hey I know, yeah, we had to execute an unarmed Brazilian on a tube train because…erm…um…well…er…look it’s called power, when you are a member of a powerful gang you don’t get fucked with by the Met gang. If you’re just little people, y’know the public, watch out suckers.

Trouble is some of us expect the rule of law and equal treatment, not this power schmoozed simulation of democracy, where the security forces only victimise the weak and protect the strong regardless of the crimes they commit. It puts civilised people at a real disadvantage, just unarmed marks open to predation by gangs, be they police, military, state or drug. I mean, I know there are people who when they see a uniform think some legitimacy resides in that gang, which it should, forces should be open, accountable and democratically controlled, but with behaviour like this… well shit man, Omar has it right.

Greed Is A Constant

Shares, investments can increase or decrease in value, that’s the risk. So when a bank that by its own mismanagement and greed is saved from utter collapse by the government any money investors may get back is fucking gravy. Left to the mercy of your almighty sacred deity ‘The Market’ you would be looking at what is technically known as -and I don’t want to confuse you with jargon so look this up if it is too arcane a term- FUCK ALL. I mean you wouldn’t want it to seem all you ‘big swinging dicks’ (oh the hilarious macho City suits) are just whiny little babies who want zero regulation to get in the way of your greed but when it all goes wrong -because of your greed- you expect to be profitably bailed out by the government ie. the tax payer (who you spend the rest of your time stealing from, y’know the ‘dumb money’ as you laughingly call it).

Meanwhile across the world the wealthy/faithful demand and are rewarded with media editorials about the dire threat of this encroaching Bolshevism!!! This isn’t even Labour being left wing, they are just helping a lot of savers (-voters- Gordon & Darling can understand this because it’s money, people- not so sure of) from ending up with nothing which is what the Holy Market would have done to them while also ensuring the Holy Market not get more of a drubbing than in unintervened reality it should, a stop gap measure to try and put the falling dominoes in stasis. So maybe that is the source of the besuited world’s angst, their ego and faith cannot withstand being wrong, cannot stand needing help, so roll on the hysteria and avoid responsibility at all costs. After all they need to be in good practice for when the recession really bites and they can say what we really need is even fewer regulations, close the welfare programs and flat tax, more billionaires!

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The Russian For ‘Robin Hood’ Is- Kalashnikov

In a statement to the IoS, a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson claimed that the new powers for forcing entry will be used only “as a last resort… in strictly controlled circumstances”, and only “once full independent regulation of all private-sector bailiffs has been implemented”. But it emerged last night that, despite bailiffs remaining unregulated, MoJ officials are proposing that they be allowed “to use reasonable force, restraint or violence against debtors thwarting the bailiff’s seizure of their goods”.

And in other capital’s predators news-

The “stranger originated life insurance” (Stoli) phenomenon – where senior citizens in the US have been targeted by the likes of hedge funds, which buy their life insurance and gamble on their untimely demise – promp-ted the City watchdog to conduct an inquiry in the UK.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said that it found little evidence of the practice but, significantly, added that it was not necessarily illegal. “Our conclusion was that it would not be illegal in the UK as such,” said a spokesman, “though it is certainly not in keeping with the traditional basis of life insurance, where the beneficiary is normally a close relative of the insured party.

“There was some evidence in the US – never proven – that some people might have been incentivised to hurry up the demise of insured parties in order to get payouts. Of course, that can happen with traditional life insurance.”

Shhh, no one say murder. Now putting these two together I suppose bailiffs (latin name- scummus fuckus) might start insuring victims then killing them, then collecting the dosh, ever so ‘incentivised’. But regardless of such fanciful plots, again we find this Labour government no better than tories in enabling vicious capitalism to further degrade our society. But as the rich get richer and our poverty increases this will only continue as more oppressive violent power is given to agents of the state & capital to attack us, further enriching them and controlling us through fear. Meanwhile, check out these great introductory rates from some leading credit cards!

Saudi Irania

Iran’s economy minister Davoud Danesh Jafari noted Iran and the U.S. financial officials meeting was not a special one and it took place within the framework of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF as the international watchdog wanted to have information about Iran’s new anti-money laundering law so Iran was invited to Paris meeting, he said.
Two experts from the central bank and finance ministry attended the meeting to confer the issue therefore it was a normal meeting of FATF and not at high level, he added. Danesh Jafari also said that Iran is to participate in another meeting of FATF by the next one or two months.

If you read the BBC coverage it comes across more as the heroic US keeping us safe from terrorist financing (*cough* Colombia, Gladio etc. etc) no comment was elicited from any Iranian official and the beeb was at pains to repeat no one-to-one talks occurred between the forces of imperial light and eveeel Iranian darkness, as if such intimacy would communicate dangerously swarthy Persian plagues that will destroy American civilisation!!! Oh my God!!! Talking, to foreigners? How can that ever be right?!!?! Raise the threat level! Raise the threat level! Everyone under your beds, pray to Jeebus & pass the ammunition!!

Ahem. So, comparisons… This week we got the purported secret documents that show the House of Saud basically ensured their bribes (over a billion!) keep coming from the British government and its arms dealer bedfellows (guaranteed courtesy of tax payers) by threatening us with terrorist attacks. So…how is Iran this malign enemy at the gate when the Saudis are our best chums. I mean supposing that the world is full of fluffy wuffy bunny wabbits and is run along the fantasy lines we are expected to believe i.e. our allies are splendid (so cut them some slack, so some people maybe died ‘a bit’ when Suharto was around, hardly makes him a bad man does it?) and our enemies are evil incarnate, politicians try to act in good faith and freedom & democracy™ comes from the barrel of a gun and most importantly money has nothing to do with it, we’re just the good guys it’s that simple. White might makes right!

But… the House of Saud & Bandar Bush (hoho) Hmmm… Isn’t threatening us with terrorist attacks just an incy-wincy, teensy weensiest bit naughty waughty naughty-kins? Surely they just went to the top of the list for the RAF’s next laser painted target in fluffy bunny ‘War against Terror’ world? OR…us dirty frickin’ reprobates might have something when we say the popularist rabble rousing of the media and politician’s is to mask the oldest scam going of the elite inciting us to steal shit (very armed robbery) to make them even richer. And as such everyone aiding that is either a sucker or a criminal and often bits of both and as we already have deals we rely on with the Saudis…accentuate the positive, not so much with the terrorist-y stuff, ok? It applies even more with domestic terrorists-

Terrorism flourishes brazenly at Ground Zero, in the new 7 World Trade Center building. Here can be found a secretive entity of fabulous wealth and power. Kingdom and corporations alike tremble at its shadow and make haste to pay it tribute. I refer to Moodys Investor Services, wholly owned subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation, which reported $2 billion in revenues in 2006.

On January 10 Moody’s, in concert with the other main bond rating firm, Standard and Poor’s, gave the United States its top AAA credit rating. The terrorist blackmail threat came in the form of a demand by Moody’s that the U.S. government “reform” Social Security and Medicare: “In the very long term, the rating could come under pressure if reform of Medicare and Social Security is not carried out as these two programs are the largest threats to the long-term financial health of the United States and to the government’s Aaa rating.”

Steven Hess, Moody’s top analyst for the US economy spelled it out even more explicitly to the London Financial Times: “If no policy changes are made, in 10 years from now we would have to look very seriously at whether the US is still a triple-A creditThe US rating is the anchor of the world’s financial system. If you have a downgrade, you have a problem.” (ht2 James @ Mahatma X Files)

Or …it’s the fluffy bunnies and the bad guys are like ‘out there’. As Rutger Hauer’s eponymous character said in the original ‘The Hitcher‘- You’re a smart kid, you figure it out.

[PS. Filmfans: The writer of ‘The Hitcher’ Eric Red has a perhaps more interesting life than the characters in his scripts.]


Mr Field went on: “This could encourage richer taxpayers to embrace the responsibilities of wealth that were, for example, such a characteristic of an equally flamboyant and rich Edwardian age.

You see Nulabour’s idea of progress is to go backwards 100 years! This is part of the ‘Surrender to the Rich’ week best summed up by Mark Steel here.

Our tax laws have become so soft that last year the International Monetary Fund put us in the same category as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Along with Ireland, we’re the only country that allows the wealthy to live here and pay no tax through this system, and apparently we should be proud of this. So we’re bragging, “We’re so soft they come to rob us. Isn’t that wonderful? They don’t rob France or Italy, just us. But we mustn’t upset them or they might go somewhere else and rob them instead.” 

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