Blog about Privacy

 

October 4, 2021

What I’m about to tell you is going to come as a major shock. In fact you might want to sit down if you have a heart condition… because this is just going to absolutely blow your mind.

OK. Ready?

Shakira. The pop star. Wait for it… has an offshore company.

Still there? Pass out yet?

I know what you’re thinking– HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST STOP THE PRESSES SHAKIRA HAS AN OFFSHORE COMPANY!!!!

Well, at least that’s what these ‘investigative journalists’ want you to think.

They want you to be spitting mad furious. They want you to spread your rage on social media. And they definitely want you to send an angry letter to your elected representative demanding action.

This is what journalism has turned into; they’re activists masquerading as reporters whose works reek of woke, Marxist bias.

It was only a few months ago that one such group of ‘investigative journalists’ published the intimate tax details of wealthy billionaires like Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.

The entire piece was an attempt to shame them for not paying enough tax, where “enough” was determined in the sole discretion of the ‘journalists’.

It didn’t matter that Musk and Buffett pay as much as the law requires of them.

No, instead the ‘journalists’ made up their own tax code, concocting a term they coined “true tax rate”, and unilaterally determined that Musk and Buffett were underpaying relative to this imaginary tax system.

It was amazing that such fiction was published at all, let alone considered a legitimate piece of journalism.

Prior to that were the ‘Panama Papers’, and then the ‘Paradise Papers’, where millions of leaked documents showed that certain people (including… JACKIE CHAN!! Horror!) had offshore companies.

They went so far as to hire porn stars (yes I’m serious) to record video explainers of how offshore companies can be abused by tax evaders.

But they didn’t bother to hire competent professionals to explain how offshore companies can be used, and are used by the vast majority of people, for legitimate purposes like privacy, estate planning, philanthropy, and more.

Yet again, this is how ‘journalism’ works today. They push their agenda, cherry pick their facts, and let the reader assume wrongdoing.

This most recent leak over the weekend is a wonderful example.

Saturday afternoon a new leak called the ‘Pandora Papers’ hit the news. This is when we found out the shocking revelation that a famous pop star has an offshore company.

Seriously, does anyone care?

But they make SUCH a big deal about it… and insinuate that anyone who owns an offshore company is guilty of some wrongdoing.

Now let’s be honest– CLEARLY there are some people who do abuse these structures. There are people in positions of power who steal from the public treasury and stuff their stolen gains in foreign shell companies.

But the issue here isn’t the foreign shell company. The issue is that these politicians and public officials are stealing to begin with… and that the system enables them to do so.

The Pandora Papers contain more than 12 million documents and hundreds of thousands of individuals who set up offshore companies.

Thirty world leaders, including the Presidents of Ukraine and Kenya, plus the King of Jordan, along with 300 public officials, were named in the data leak.

Yes, it’s certainly possible (and even likely) that many of those officials have been stealing money from their countries. They should be prosecuted and punished if they were.

But the ‘journalists’ don’t say that. Instead they paint EVERYONE who uses offshore companies as nefarious and illegitimate. Or at a minimum, immoral.

In its coverage of the story, The Guardian begrudgingly admits “not everyone named in the Pandora papers is suspected of wrongdoing.”

But even the way they state that simple truth is itself an attempt to influence the reader’s opinion. Really? “Not everyone”?

Perhaps a more intellectually honest statement would be: “We have evidence or suspicion of wrongdoing for less than 1% of the people named in this leak.”

But they’ll never say it that way. Because they want you to be angry. They want you to assume that offshore companies are bad, and anyone using them is doing something wrong.

They go on to admit that some people use offshore companies to engage in LEGAL tax avoidance strategies, and that while “this kind of tax avoidance can be legal,” it is “morally questionable.”

I love how they state that LEGAL tax avoidance is morally questionable… as if it’s self-evident.

They don’t bother to state their case as to WHY they believe it’s morally questionable. They just make the statement without any justification, as if they had just said “the sky is blue.”

It makes me wonder what else they believe is morally questionable… and NOT morally questionable.

How about, for example, spending billions of taxpayer dollars to buy weapons, ammunition, vehicles, and aircraft, only to hand them over to your sworn enemy…?

How about leaving behind American citizens and US allies to said sworn enemy?

How about dropping bombs on children by remote control (and bragging about this as a victory for your bullshit ‘over the horizon’ pie in the sky strategy) ?

Is any of this morally questionable? Or are we only supposed to feign outrage because Shakira has an offshore company?

To me, these are all the reasons why it makes sense to take legal steps to reduce your tax bill.

Neither of us can control what a government does. And most likely they will continue to do things that we disagree with.

They will abandon military equipment to the Taliban. They will kill children by drone strike.

But they’re not going to do it with my money.

I cannot influence government. But I can take completely legal steps to reduce (or even eliminate) the money that I give them.

These faux-journalists think this is morally questionable. Following the law is morally questionable. Using completely legal structures is morally questionable.

And it’s morally questionable simply because they say so.

This is what passes as ‘journalism’ today.

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Freedom of expression is a thorn in the side of EU technocrats. The new intellectual property law adopted by the European Parliament in September threatens our fundamental rights.

Internet means freedom. Still. We can (still) freely retrieve content with our search engines. We can (still) freely and without further ado access the sources in a text. This will soon change.

Article 13 of the controversial law says that website operators and Internet providers will be held accountable for the content of their customers and readers. The new law thus obliges them to use the so-called upload filters. The filter obligation leaves it to the software to decide what users are allowed to upload and what not. In plain language it says the provider will control and censor our activities on the net: every uploaded photo, video, every text will be checked.

The question arises: what criteria will apply to this censorship and how and by whom will this filter software be programmed? The EU Commission will certainly soon be proposing detailed guidelines to combat fake news, the spread of terrorism on the Internet, and to combat those who infringe copyrights. All right, but it will also be a tool to suppress the critics of the EU, independent bloggers who want to throw light on the incompetence and insolence of the Brussels technocrats, dissidents (not left-wing liberals). And I bet: the directives will be introduced very quickly and eagerly in all EU countries.

Source: shutterstock.com

Article 11 deals with the introduction of a kind of tax on links. From now on, when we publish a link on our website, we have to pay the owner (the author or publisher) for it. Technocrats believe that if we refer to a specific source and link it in our text, the source is entitled to a remuneration.

Of course, there is not a word of exact amounts in the law, this should only be determined after negotiations with EU member states. Now, if an editorial staff decides to earn with the new law, then search engines will not show up results containing links to their content. A double-edged sword for editors and publishers, because customers can now turn to the sources that will continue to make their content available free of charge. The law turns the Internet, which we know, upside down. The work of the journalists, the scientists, who have to publish online and quote in their publications in order to be credible and to prove their theses, is made more difficult.

The existence of whole net culture with its memes, music remixes, parodies, the media archive of Wikipedia, etc. and the most important thing: freedom of opinion, is threatened. The new law should secure the future of the press. Freidhelm Greis of Golem.de calculated that the new EU ancillary copyright law actually favours only large publishing houses and editorial offices, not the smaller and more critical ones. The Axel Springer publishing house would receive at present nearly 64 per cent of the incomes from the left taxation.

This proves who the Brussels technocrats serve. They are gradually depriving us of our freedoms so that big companies can make even higher profits. One company that will lose with the introduction of the new EU directives is Google. It would have to share millions of euros of its revenue even in Germany with the website providers, publishers and cycling companies to which its search results are passed on.

Google has already had such experience in Spain, where such a controversial law was introduced as early as 2014. The publishers hoped the law would make them richer. Payable licenses on current press releases should make the American company cough up money for them. And look what happened: Google simply shut down its Google News in Spain in order not to have to pay any fees. Although Google News did not contain advertising, with which the company mainly earns its money, there has been no added value for Google since then that came from this information service (Google simply lost many readers). And the Spanish publishers have “shot themselves in the foot with it: because with external access the access have decreased by double-digit percentages”.

Finally, I shall quote just one other Article 11, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

 “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.”

Copyright must not jeopardise fundamental rights. Period.