Monday 28th of May 2018

give generously...


New York, NY, June 18, 2014 – Forbes Media announced today that on June 17, at the New York Public Library, the company hosted the third annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.  With the goal of creating entrepreneurial solutions for education issues, particularly supporting America’s K-12 public schools and increasing access for girls in the developing world, the exclusive summit, supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Green Mountain GP Limited, and Alzheimer’s Association, brought together almost 200 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and billionaires, including Warren Buffett, Chuck Feeney, Paul Tudor Jones, Michael Milken, Malala Yousafzai, Stephen Schwarzman, Laurene Powell Jobs, Arne Duncan, Peter G. Peterson, Leon Black, Jim Breyer, CEO and Co-founder of Teach for All Wendy Kopp, Governor Andrew Cuomo, J.B. Pritzker, Jeff Skoll, Sal Khan, Spanx Founder Sara Blakely, and Denis O’Brien.

“This was another outstanding Philanthropy Summit.  From research on brain development to improving America’s public schools, the discussion around education was thoughtful and energizing,” said Mike Perlis, Forbes Media President and CEO.  “We’re very pleased that we can leverage the power of the Forbes brand to convene some of today‘s most influential thought leaders and share their knowledge and ideas with the Forbes audience across all of our platforms.”

"Mr Forbes" is telling us the billionaires are fixing the world with charity and we should be so happy... They have so much money that they are giving some back to some of their chosen philanthropy to save the world — or part of it. And that we should not be cynical. Goody.
Now we have one simple thing to do is to analyse the roles of some billionaires in fucking up the world in the first place. 
For example, some billionaires like Bill Gates give a lot of cash towards finding a cure to stop malaria. Good for him. 
Some billionaires like the Koch brothers spend small fortunes to stop the science of global warming from spreading as if it was germs. Or consider Mr Murdoch, who will support Bush, Blair and Howard attacking Iraq, killing many people and resulting in a bad situation we have now— giving generously some of his time and advertorials to this ludicrous cause. Meanwhile, the Murdoch Institute in Melbourne is dedicated to saving lives... generously supported by his cash and his mum when she was alive.
In contrast, if my memory serves me right, when Kerry Packer gave a lot of cash to the RPA, he did not want his name on the new facility he financed. 
For example, despite the Koch brothers having their name on a few facilities in Wichita, home of Koch Industries (a zoo exhibit, a YMCA, a basketball arena) in a city they’ve given millions to, there are sceptics about their "philanthropy" with intents beyond sheer altruism. Often philanthropy becomes a means to get exposure and your name in the paper for doing a good deed, which can help people think you're a good person while you're a rabid bastard or an ignoramus on other "issues".
Sponsors often get tax deductible benefits while their names are plastered on the press releases and some billboards... The Koch brothers are presently giving about $300 millions to support the republican party and skew the US media in its favour... This may not be considered charity, but political "donations" to a cause. Philanthropy it ain't.
Some billionaires use their fortune and charity as a foil to prevent "social" equity. Some billionaires make their fortune by employing people for slave wages (people who then need food stamps to survive) or by using sweat shops in third world countries, billionaires with their hands on their heart, firmly convinced that their actions are helping these poor bastards out of poverty — and with the ultimate excuse that if they did not do it, someone else would. Most billionaires use a skewed money market to increase their fortunes. And this is not going to improve in the favour of poor people with the secret world banking arrangement being set up.
Thus the world's billionaires are giving to charity and we are told we should be grateful for that. I am. It's a kind of voluntary tax-deductible taxation with an uplifting direction of the billionaires' choosing for the cash to flow to, but not always.
Mind you, many of the world billionaires use exquisite tax gymnastics and tax shelters as a means to increase their wealth, and their contribution to charity. Places like the Bahamas are not there to just look pretty like tarted up bitches with a beach in the sun. The billionaires, and their poor mates the multi-millionaires, channel a lot of cash out of taxable income via very astute "legal" schemes. For example, we all know Apple is paying little tax in the countries it operates in and is paying its sales staff peanuts as the staff is usually nerds and students enamoured with the product. We know it's a tough business world out there, thus one needs to maintain an image of clean underpants and make sure the staff is lean and hungry with an ideal in their pocket. One day you could be rich. Dream on baby... 
"Catalytic philanthropy" as created by Bill Gates, makes usage of free market for some nifty social engineering via helping education, some medical research and other charitable enterprises — social enterprises that are often left rotting by governments because they don't collect enough taxes from the rich who cheat — or governments that are simply inept to understand their roles as providing a "level" playing field to minimise the free-enterprise exploitation of the poorest by the richest. Or is this exploitation a good thing?
For example the Ronald Mcdonald Houses could be considered a charitable enterprise that is fun while helping sick kiddies, but still lead many of them to the hamburgers, by association. Some bad mouth would say that the fast food industry and its relative the soda/cola industry are contributing to obesity and spiralling diabetes type two in kids as young as twelve. See the fat kid... And when we look at education, what subjects are studied?... Isn't there some religious charities that sponsor the "science" of creationism?
One should know from the onset that the real "non-profit" sector has long been moribund now and exists only at your local school fete, where sponsors are banned, are too stingy to give anonymously or don't know you exist. The "non-profit" sector now mostly provides "returns" for sponsors.
Under the weight of this generous philanthropy, the recipients often become more bells and whistles than hard and realistic thinkers. A lot of money could be wasted. I am a bit unfair here. In research there is always some crystal chandelier work that may or may not be wanted by the targeted people who now become mouth-piece for the associated donors. 
Some charities spend a lot of cash printing glossy brochures to attract the richer donors with tinselly functions in which benefits are donated by other sponsors. It flows from one rich to another's pocket with a toll paid to save something. It does not mean that the solution to a particular problem will come from this charity, but the money will be counted and the donors will be advertised for their support and sponsorship. It can catch on and being a sponsor comes with glorious benefits that can be reinforced by advertising designed to lure more consumers to over-consume your products... 
By contrast, the government has set ups designed to source real problems in a social context, but the nasty Abbott regime now cuts resources to the most desperate — say like cutting the legal aid to the Aborigines in prison who represents a large skewed proportion of the general prison population of Australia. 
And "some" politicians use charity as a platform to aggrandise their career. More than banning "donations" from lobbyists which should be banned anyhow, I recommend that no politician should be involved in promoting charity. 
Look, I know, what I am saying here could also appear wrong or cynical, but it's not. Politicians should only stick their neck out for public interest policies, including funding the CSIRO which the Abbott regime wants to decimate. Thus donations from politicians to charity should be "anonymous". 
That the government of the day gives to some charitable organisation to help sort out some social problems is commendable but should not be used to promote a political viewpoint nor a politician's bicycle. For example we've got to remember the way John Howard only gave grants to "environmental" organisations that supported his ludicrous destructive policies. 
This is why, in my view, we should be weary of the Pollie Pedal charity. Now tell me of at least one other politician who rides beside Tony Abbott in this charitable pedalling? None you can remember this minute without consulting Google... Abbott and his bicycle use the charity exposure in the media to promote Abbottself. As well, the media uses Abbott "charitable work" (for which Abbott sends the cost of appearance to the government, the cheapskate) to promote its self-righteous rabid ultra-right-wing media interests... Do you know which charity Pollie Pedal supports? Most of you won't know... but you would have heard of Tony Abbott's ability to wear bicycle clips and bright red underdacks on a beach. Do you know which sponsors are supporting Pollie Pedal? May be not... But is there conflicts of interest between sponsors and politicians? My word there is. For example pharmaceuticals often call the shots on the cost of medicare and the alliance with pollies on the charitable circuit is definitively a conflict of interests, even if there is no hanky-panky...
The Pommy Royal family uses charity as one of the pretexts to maintain its present existence. This is ludicrous. The Windsors can do as much good as they want, Royalty is still anachronistic in a modern society. It is a remnant of times past when traditions meant that peasants were peasants from the time they were born till the time they died — with a bit of fighting in idiotic wars — usually sparked by various conflicted royal houses and/or popes — in between. 
The Abbott regime is trying to revive the concept of Royal Class as well as push for the destruction of social fairness under the pretence of "the end of the age of entitlement", while obviously "some" people, like his daughters, get entitlement-wise "lucky". Under these rapacious government policies, many people will end up in the gutter, while some will survive, by creating their own devious little schemes — akin to some billionaires' gymnastics, but on a miniature scale, bordering on racketeering. 
There is a lot of "philanthropy" dedicated to cancer-cure research... Good. Many a lab rat will die from this philanthropy while on the other side, there will be some philanthropy designed to protect the rights of animals not to die in labs. 
Overall, I am not disputing the role of philanthropy. I am disputing the clean image of using philanthropy to reduce governments' social responsibilities. 
There are of course other issues. Imagine a private enterprise getting some philanthropic moneys to find a cure for a nasty disease. Should this cure be found, who gets the benefit and how is the cure marketed? Who gets the royalties from selling the cure? Or is the cure public domain since the sponsors got tax deductions? You fight this one out...
Disclaimer: Gus supports a few charities, but does not advertise which ones — except Amnesty International which deserves to be promoted.

And like god, Gus does not exist.


economic survival at people's cost...



And it would be wrong to single out just Hungary. All Western countries are dangerously sliding in the direction of this new type of political system introduced for the sake of economic survival. We still believe that we live in a democracy even though there are clear signs suggesting otherwise: mass surveillance, violent suppression of protests, from the 2005 French riots to the 2011 England riots, attacks on minorities, expanding military industrial complex, etc. In Western democracies, we have the freedom to choose all sorts of products or lifestyles, but this does not necessarily guarantee our personal and political freedom.

Twenty-five years after his famous article, Fukuyama is now again claiming there is no serious threat to the-end-of-history hypothesis, since mass protests that continue to erupt from Tunis to Kiev to Istanbul demand more liberal democracy. I am not sure whether they are really demanding the markets, bailouts and austerity that liberal democracy has brought to some countries.

Many of these protest movements (military rule, new old leaders, etc), regardless of what their outcome was, aren't really fighting for the type of democracy enslaved by the free market. Instead, they are fighting for, as the Spanish Indignados described it, democracia real: horizontal democracy with general assemblies, participatory budgeting, workers' councils, etc, and a social state that would provide for people's basic needs through public health-care, free education, social security, etc, instead of exploiting them and leaving them behind.

It is obvious that even 25 years after the announcement of "the end of history", we still haven't reached it. At the same time, authoritarian capitalism is not contained within China's borders any more and threatens to erupt and spread across the world. The hope is that different protest movements and even political parties which question the status quo of liberal democracy, will be able to counter this worrying trend.  

Srecko Horvat is a philosopher from Croatia. His latest books include "After the End of History. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement" (2013) and "What Does Europe Want?" (2013), co-authored with Slavoj Zizek and translated into ten languages.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

read more:


your cash is not showroom condition...

From time immemorial my family has donated used furniture to charity without problem. Not any more.

A bookcase I wanted to donate was rejected by the pick-up driver for being "not in showroom condition". It had a little water stain at the base of the backing board not visible from the front, but was otherwise fit for service for many more years. I explained that it had rained during the previous day and some rain got into the carport where the bookcase was awaiting pickup.

No deal.

In another instance, a sofa with fading but nice upholstery, a solid coffee table with some minor stains and scratches, and two chairs with some marks in the upholstery were rejected for being "not in showroom condition".

True, the said items were not in "showroom condition", whatever that means, but who would throw away furniture in "showroom condition"? Surely the used furniture concerned would suit some needy households, wouldn't it? To my surprise, the driver said that his organisation didn't give used furniture to the needy any more; only cash.

Cash is definitely easier to manage than furniture, but this practice raises questions about the very concept of charity. Has any needy household spurned good used furniture "not in showroom condition"?

I grew up in a financially comfortable family which was always economical and pragmatic about material consumption. Children wore hand-me-downs. At university and in the first few years of setting up home, we bought second-hand furniture in good condition like the ones I have tried to donate.

Now, in better circumstances, we still reduce, reuse and recycle. A bit of creativity turns old things into desirable items again. But there are still surplus items to be given away from time to time-after downsizing, before moving interstate, etc. Only things suitable for reuse would be offered to charity. We would never insult the would-be recipients by donating unusable, broken or unsafe items.

If charity organisations don't give used furniture to the needy, wouldn't the recipients of the cash still have to buy furniture and incur delivery charges, ultimately exhausting the meagre charity dollar even faster?

Read more:

innocuous philanthropy from the devil...


From GRIST...


Brentin Mock




For the $25 million, $6.5 million of that is for “general support” of HBCUs and UNCF, $4 million of which is to offset federal reductions in the PLUS parent loan program, which HBCU students rely heavily upon. The other $18.5 million will go toward the scholarships.

The Koch program asks that its scholarship recipients explore “how entrepreneurship, economics and innovation contribute to the well-being of individuals, communities and society.” Sounds innocuous enough, but “well-being” has a specific meaning in the Koch world. As this page from the Charles Koch Foundation website explains, it’s basically a free-market theory around “economic freedom” that credits private capital and technological innovation with solving everything. This includes environment, as their site attests, though narrowly defined mainly as waste, and nothing on climate change.

The Kochs will have two of their own representatives sitting on the review committee for scholarship applicants, along with two UNCF reps and someone from one of UNCF’s partner universities. It’s normal for donors to target financial assistance toward certain subject areas. But given the Koch’s political backgrounds, will they also screen for prospects who’ll serve their agenda? Meaning, if an applicant wishes to pursue economics and innovation in college but toward the goal of addressing climate change, will they be disqualified? Do the Koch reps on the scholarship review committee have that kind of veto power?

Anthony Owens, UNCF’s listed staff member on the Koch Scholars press release, told me that there is objective criteria for the scholarships, but that they couldn’t list all of it on the website. He told me to forward any other questions by email, which I did — including those asked above — but he did not respond. I made repeated calls to the Koch staff members listed on the press release and left numerous messages, but have received no responses from them, either.

The salient questions here (which I sent to UNCF) are:

  • What strings are attached to the scholarships?
  • Did the Kochs make their donation contingent upon sitting their own reps on the review board?
  • Can scholarship recipients pursue goals that run counter to the Kochs’ political agenda, like addressing climate change?

No one disputes the need among low-income, black college students for financial aid. But in this case, the devil could really be in the details.

Brentin Mock is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who writes regularly for Grist about environmental justice issues and the connections between environmental policy, race, and politics. Follow him on Twitter at @brentinmock.


the royals are not good value for money...


Ask any train user, the prices are shocking these days. One day, a first-class King's Cross to Harrogate return might sell for £186, but leave booking too late and you might as well – this must be the royal household's thinking – spend £23,219 travelling by private train.

True, its lead passenger, Prince Charles, made a few detours that would have pushed up the regular price and perhaps confirmed, to anyone but a courtier, that last year's Harrogate expedition might have been better done by car. Failing that, royal progress to York's railway museum might have been broken overnight, an immediate saving, using public transport, of around £20,000.

But as Buckingham Palace demonstrated when it released the latest accounts – with some fanfare about value for money – current royal practice still adheres, perhaps understandably, to strict King Lear (before he went mad) guidelines on retinue and appurtenances.

Reason not the need for the Duke of York to squander £14,692 on a round trip, by chartered plane , to see the golf at Muirfield (true, the Royal Highland Fusiliers also got the benefit of his wisdom). Once the palace accepted that there might be better uses for the £10,559 that this same iconic oaf blew on a return trip to Edinburgh, the whole Mountbatten edifice could be exposed to potentially terminal, Regan-style challenges.

For one would then have to ask why York's fellow dependent, our brother Wessex, needed to take a £46,198 charter flight to Sofia, Bucharest and Ljubljana, with his wife, the former PR, given that nobody outside those destinations and the immediate Wessex family appears to have registered this triumph by some of the world's least promising – no disrespect to Prince Andrew – diplomats. And why 10 days was not enough notice to book Prince Charles on a scheduled flight to Nelson Mandela's funeral, as opposed to a private jet costing £246,160.

read more:

Viva la republica!...

From article above:

The Pommy Royal family uses charity as one of the pretexts to maintain its present existence. This is ludicrous. The Windsors can do as much good as they want, Royalty is still anachronistic in a modern society. It is a remnant of times past when traditions meant that peasants were peasants from the time they were born till the time they died — with a bit of fighting in idiotic wars — usually sparked by various conflicted royal houses and/or popes — in between. 
The Abbott regime is trying to revive the concept of Royal Class as well as push for the destruction of social fairness under the pretence of "the end of the age of entitlement", while obviously "some" people, like his daughters, get entitlement-wise "lucky". 


rivers of gold...

Background Briefing investigation has found that the charitable trust sector is worth $7 billion, and half of it is administered by corporate trustees.

The Charitable Alliance says money left in wills for charities is a ‘rivers of gold’ situation for corporate trustees, who are entitled to administer the money in perpetuity.

‘Not only is the hospital receiving less money, but the capital in the fund has actually been diminished,’ says the Alliance's David Crosbie, referring to the Melbourne Children’s Hospital situation.

‘It’s been diminished around a capital loss of over $20 million for a period of five years.’

According to a document by members of the hospital’s foundation, in those same five years the corporate trustee charged fees to administer the trust of $2 million.

By comparison, the foundation managed to grow its non-trust capital by 10 per cent and distribute $80 million to the hospital in the same timeframe.

This article represents part of a larger Background Briefing investigation. Listen to Sarah Dingle's full report on Sunday at 8.05 am or use the podcast links above after broadcast.

read more and listen :

the charity status of the CONservative lobby spin doctors...



Why do corporate lobby groups like the IPA and fossil fuel front organisations like the Waubra Foundation retain 'deductible gift recipient' status, while genuine environmental charities like the Australian Conservation Foundation face having theirs stripped away by the Abbott Government. Sandi Keane investigates.


FOR AN ORGANISATION that has been touting 'low taxes' for sixty years, the Institute of Public Affairs(IPA) sure delivers big on tax benefits to its major donors, especially Big Mining — which is already heavily subsidised by Australia’s taxpayers (note graphic below right).




Professor Clive Hamilton explains how these blatant spin doctors hoodwinked the authorities:

In 1987 the IPA restructured itself as a company limited by guarantee, which means that its directors are not liable for any debts it might incur. The restructure enabled it to apply to become an Approved Research Institute (ARI) and thus be eligible for endorsement as a deductible gift recipient (DGR). In other words, donors to the Institute would be able to claim a tax deduction for their donations. DGR status is the most valuable asset of an organisation like the IPA because without it virtually no-one would donate.

The IPA’s media savvy guarantees a positive sound bite and millions of dollars of free publicity as a ‘credible commentator’.

The most egregious example of this is the use of taxpayer-funded ABC as a vehicle.

How often does the IPA appear on ABC's The DrumQ&A7.30Lateline and ABC Radio National to hammer home its paymasters’ agendas? That’s wall-to-wall media exposure for starters. Not a bad return on your investment?

A good example of this, as I have written, was when former IPA pin-up boy Tim Wilson stormed the airwaves trying to scare the public witless about the Gillard Government’s audacious plain packaging plan.

So, when the IPA are out there spinning the facts on climate change, tobacco or GMO foods, we, the taxpayers, are subsidising the service through tax-deductions for IPA’s donors as well as providing free carriage of their message on our taxpayer-funded ABC.

But we don’t even know the exact tax-leaners for whom the IPA are spin-doctoring, since the IPA guarantees anonymity.

read more:,6649


The IRS cuts red tape and opens the door for charitable fraud...


Exempt Status for Most Charities After Scandal

IRS head touts "efficiencies," but some groups fear fraud

Amid ongoing controversy over its scrutiny of nonprofits, the Internal Revenue Service has decided it will no longer screen approximately 80% of the organizations seeking tax-exempt charitable status each year, a change that will ease the creation of small charities while doing away with a review intended to counter fraud and prevent political and other noncharitable groups from misusing the tax code.

As of July 1, any group that pays a $400 fee and declares on a three-page online form that it has annual income of less than $50,000, total assets of less than $250,000 and is in compliance with the tax-code requirements of a charity will automatically be allowed to accept donations that are tax-deductible for the donors. Previously the groups had to fill out a detailed 26-page form, submit multiple supporting documents and provide a narrative description of their intended activities.

In an interview with TIME, IRS commissioner John Koskinen said the change would result in “efficiencies [that] will translate into a faster and better review” of bigger nonprofits, while clearing a 66,000-application backlog that has resulted in yearlong waits for groups seeking to start a charity. He said the new short form comes with 20 pages of instructions that make clear the requirements and limitations of being a charitable organization. Koskinen said that on the new short form, “people certify that they’ve gone through the instructions” under penalty of perjury.

read more:

See article at top...


that’s the $US1,270,000,000,000 and 52 cents club....

BETWEEN them, there are 185 families in the US worth a combined $1.27 trillion. That’s $US1,270,000,000,000 if you were trying to count out the zeros in your head. Yeah, it’s a lot.

Every one of the 185 club is worth at least a billion dollars. Here’s a little green-eyed reading from Forbes while you contemplate the crystal vase that will make up the bulk of your inheritance.

replacing welfare with charity...


Now McClure has had a second bite of the cherry. His interim reportagain campaigns for payment "simplification", into four streams. The appeal of simplicity is somewhat undermined by suggestions that it is the disability pension that will be equalised down, rather than Newstart, at$36-a-day, being raised.

McClure's expressed opinion, that a higher rate of pay for people with disabilities is a "disincentive" to workforce participation, is a dead giveaway. This kind of welfare to work thinking won't liberate anyone on welfare from poverty any time soon. The six-months-of-no-income deprivation forced on young people is not discussed in the lengthy report, at all.

It's not the only significant exclusion. Veronica Sheen from Monash University has identified that many of the principles that informed the very creation of welfare are not given address by McClure. He suggests greater powers for the state and its agents over individuals, with a reintroduction of compulsory welfare to work schemes and "income management" programmes, but the role of welfare in the mitigation of social disparity is ignored.

Individual responsibility for employment is emphasised, while labour market realities – like a lack of jobs – aren't acknowledged. That the aim of welfare is to actually alleviate poverty is discussed only in relation to work being better than welfare in avoiding it.

These are pretty big intellectual excisions to make. If it sounds like the punchline to Coalition welfare policy is a material "the poor will always be with us", it is entirely because removing welfare from its role to equalise social opportunity is guaranteed to make it so.

McClure's interim report is riddled with tender Dickensian references to "the needy" – a description that alludes to a deserving poor, quite aside from the "leaners" whose "entitlement" to a safety net Joe Hockey is snatching away with such bombast. Where the distinction exists between "needy" and "leaning" is entirely at the discretion of the Coalition and their allies.

read more:

price rigging in the £3tn-a-day foreign exchange market...


The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched a criminal investigation into allegations of price rigging in the £3tn-a-day foreign exchange market.

The probe will look into allegations of "fraudulent conduct", the director of the SFO said in a statement.

Around 15 international agencies are investigating allegations of collusion and price manipulation.

It is alleged that traders used online chatrooms to plan the fixing of benchmark prices.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said in October it had joined other regulators around the world in scrutinising firms over the potential manipulation of the foreign exchange market.

Several investment banks, including Barclays and HSBC have already suspended currency traders due to the investigation by the FCA.


The readers of my columns on this site would remember that I have alluded to this very 'problem' for long time now...

Gus Leonisky

your local banker...



meanwhile at the coal face of cash...

Barclays and Deutsche Bank helped more than a dozen hedge funds avoid paying more than $6 billion in taxes on securities trades through the use of structured financial products, according to a Senate report due out Tuesday.

The report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations arrives as the Obama administration urges lawmakers to take action to stop American companies from reincorporating overseas in order to lower their tax bills, a practice known as tax inversion.

Multinational corporations have become skilled at exploiting loopholes to shift their tax burden to countries with lower rates and hiding portions of their global profits from taxation. The report shows that a number of firms are also relying on Wall Street banks to execute transactions in a way that allows them to circumvent federal taxes.

“These banks and hedge funds used dubious structured financial products in a giant game of ‘let’s pretend,’ costing the Treasury billions and bypassing safeguards that protect the economy from excessive bank lending for stock speculation,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the subcommittee, said at a news conference Monday.