Politics: a Dirty Game of Lies!

Think about Capitalism as a game of Monopoly (initially invented as a protest against the system and as a means of explaining how capitalism works). Everyone starts out with the same amount of money and with each circle around the board, one player will be brave enough to take chances and will slowly start buying up the whole board while the other players do their best to dodge taxes in attempt to survive. Monopoly is not just a game, its a reflection of the world today, except people actually get angry in Monopoly whilst the same people in real life will happily pay far too much tax while corporations invest their money in tax free havens abroad.

bush_taxcuts

 

This post will discuss several companies and corporations in and around Mayfair in London, only. The information is taken from an Occupy Mayfair tour.

Occupy London Tours is a free tour company, run by volunteers, who want to throw open the secretive world of finance and politics for all to see.”

The name “Mayfair” originates rather simply from a 2 week fair that used to occur in that location every May during the 18th Century, hence ‘May-fair’. However it was then abolished in 1709 when the wealthy took over and then moved to Whitechapel (going from the most expensive to the least expensive property on the Monopoly board).
The first thing I noticed about Mayfair is that it doesn’t look like anything spectacular at all. It looks like a wealthy area don’t get me wrong, but you would never guess the corruption that goes on and the amount of money that is being dealt with.
Glencore, a commodity trading firm (for example oil, gas, minerals etc.) was founded in 1970 by Mark Rich (what an ironic surname). Mark Rich used to be in the top 10 most wanted in the US for tax evasion and making illegal oil deals with Iran. He was never charged and after escaping to Switzerland he was pardoned by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. The company’s “main” headquarter’s are in Jersey – a tax free haven however the majority of the trading and work goes on in London, the actual  “main” headquarters. The company is so large that it hedges (Hedging is an investment taken out to limit the risk of another investment, insurance is an example of a real-world hedge) branches of their own company against other branches of their own company. In one year, Glencore spent £1/4 trillion on trading products with itself to avoid tax. That’s nearly twice the annual NHS budget.
 Phones 4 U went bust due to something called Private Equity. This is when groups of investors seek to buy out companies with money that they have borrowed and aim to make the company more profitable and then sell it at a higher price. They do this buy minimising costs (for example firing workers). In the Phones 4 U case, 5600 jobs were lost. The investors borrowed £205 million and earned a profit of £18 million. So in the company going bust, the investors earned £18 million and 5600 people lost their jobs.
1 Curzon Street aka Hedgefund Alley (Hedgefund – a group of investors put their money together in a communal fund and hedge. This is high risk and therefore high turnover). Once again the businesses are headquartered in tax savers. While we were outside the building listening to the tour guide, the security shooed us away several times as we were “in the way of the doors” and that we were a “fire hazard”. Is that really the excuse they gave? The doors were massive and we saw about 3 people inside on the first floor. Fire hazard… REALLY?! We wouldn’t want to interrupt their money-making schemes now would we, so we swiftly moved onto the next location.
American International Group (AIG) are an insurance company (located on Curzon Street) and were partly to blame for the money crisis in 2008. The London office went bust in 2008 and US tax payers had to bail them out. They went bust because people couldn’t pay off their mortgages so AIG had a massive bill they couldn’t pay. They also exposed themselves to a massive number of Credit Default Swaps (this is another form of insurance, however you don’t have to tell the government how many billions you’re trading. You insure someone else’s property and bet against it, making sure it goes bad. For example betting that your next door neighbour dies and then killing them to make sure you win the bet, – though this is extreme you get the idea). 
This next company shocked me the most. Robert Lee International (RLI – by the way… look at their website… very poor quality for such a big business don’t you think?) on 7 Trebeck Street is registered as a travel agent (the building looks like a normal flat – not a travel agency at all). However it is actually the UK’s largest and 2nd biggest Arms company in the world, trading weapons and torture equipment. RLI is a Slush Fund (a reserve of money used for illicit purposes, especially political bribery) and has spent around £6 billion worth of bribes to Saudi Families. You can read more information here. Even with this little knowledge on this topic, this company is completely legal but is carrying out illegal practices with huge sums of money involved. In addition to this the Saudi Embassy is a 30 second walk from RLI. A coincidence? It wouldn’t surprise me if there were underground tunnels connecting the two buildings.
1% of the global population own over 50% of the total wealth. 0.6% of the UK population own 69% of all British land. Now that’s a very small minority that control all the money flows and what happens with the land, giving the 99% very little chance to get a word in. Not only are these big companies doing absolutely everything they can to avoid paying tax and contributing to the community (most of whom live in poverty) but some of these companies are carrying out completely illegal practised and not getting caught! Why did US tax payers have to bail out AIG? Why couldn’t they just go bust like any other small business? Did US tax payers have a say in whether to give their money to bail out this big corporation? I highly doubt it. The tax laws are written to benefit the rich. This is no coincidence. Bribes are very common in politics and these big corporations bribe governments and those that write tax laws to write the laws such they benefit the companies.
Politicians are moaning about not having enough money for basic commodities in a globalised world where funded wars are costing trillions. The economic inequality is only bound to increase.  Whilst an increasingly smaller proportion of the population acquire an increasingly larger proportion of wealth and assets, there is a real life game of monopoly going on. You just aren’t aware of it.
If YA DONT KNOW, ya do now ;)
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  • [Thought of the Week]

    "Maybe cheating in a relationship isn't the worst thing you could do, maybe it's just human nature?"

    Remember when you were a child, and your parents would tell you you're not allowed to eat sweets, or make a mess in your bedroom, and you'd do the complete opposite and crave it even more just because you're not allowed? Or if you're on a diet, you know you're not allowed cake or carbs, but simply because you know you're not allowed it, you want it even more? Well surely the same applies in relationships?
    Firstly, I want to start by saying we're not perfect, but perfection is something we should strive towards. Honesty is the best policy.
    A friend of mine is genuinely one of the loveliest people I know, with the best heart and the best intentions and I don't want to show him in a negative light whatsoever, simply provide you with an alternative idea. I've known him for a few years, however we only started speaking properly about a year ago. We both found each other attractive, blah blah blah, so we decided to book a hotel room. He ignored me for a few days, so obviously something was wrong, then he told me there's another girl he loves (obviously I didn't know this before), as they weren't together. I didn't think much of it, actually I was extremely envious of this girl, and that she has someone in her life that is so dedicated and faithful. A few months later, conversation escalated, and we once again decided to go hotel, and a few days beforehand he once again cancelled. This time I was pretty angry and upset, because he'd lead me on and then cancelled. Obviously we're not together but I'm my own person too at the end of the day and don't want to be lead on.
    Another few months later we started talking, innocent conversation about gym, films etc (this time via dm on twitter as I deleted his number and vice versa, I assume), and I had calmed down over the previous incident, he was a genuinely lovely person and I admire the faithfulness to his yet to be girlfriend, I hope I find someone like that in the future. But anyway, we decided to have a gym session together, as we live near each other we went to the park, and for the majority of it, it was a really good session, fun, productive (my legs KILLED the following day) but there was sexual tension, especially towards the end. My back was super sore from gym the previous day and he offered a massage, it was rubbish and he didn't get very far unfortunately as he was starting to give in, and couldn't resist the attraction any longer. Not a lot happened as I stopped him, before it escalated too far. I'd hate for my future husband to cheat on me, so I could only give this couple the same respect (they were together a few months at this point). The following day he thanked me, and was grateful for stopping him.
    The point of this example is, I know my friend loves his girlfriend very much but none of us are perfect and we all give in to temptation now and again. Many males/females cheat because they have a craving, and a hoe gets in the way that has no respect for the relationship and only wants his/ her needs fulfilled, few will have a conscience and stop anything

    Alternatively, on a separate occasion I was speaking to another friend about this topic. He told me that he's seen a sidechick/man save many relationships. His reasons were that if you have an argument with your partner, instead of ending the relationship, you go to see a sidechick/man, relax, then go back to your partner happy and proceed as normal. I disagree with his reasoning however I see the point behind it.
    As long as you don't make a habit out of temptation, and are honest... maybe we're too extreme when it comes to cheating? I disagree with cheating, and don't condone it, however this is just a thought. Everyone get's bored of everything eventually if you get too high a dose, it's just a matter of balance.

     

    If YA DONT KNOW, ya do now ;)

     

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