Jul 06 2012

Vanity Fair: the Potus tweets, the smears, and the left-right divide

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

I should have been following up my Vanity Fair piece here, but I’m afraid I was traveling, and in meetings.

It’s nice to be tweeted three times (see below) by the President of the United States (though to be honest, though he has done some good things I am pretty disappointed in him overall, given his apparent ongoing friendliness to Wall Street.)

It’s also nice to get a big headlining plug from Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

And yes, the predictable hysterical attacks on me have begun. You know, the author is a ‘hardcore leftist,’ a paid lapdog of Obama, that kind of thing. Utterly untrue, of course.

For example:

Dan ‏@NorthDallas30
.@nickshaxson Sorry. Leftist smears by a paid Obama lapdog don’t qualify as news. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism …

(and the link to that nasty article is here.)

No, I have always maintained that I am neither a left winger nor a right winger: the issues I write about – tax havens, tax avoidance, tax evasion, regulatory arbitrage, secrecy and all that, are not the exclusive preserve of one side or other of the political spectrum. People on the left probably sympathise more rapidly and instinctively with my arguments, but I know that a lot of people on the right do too. Take a look at this, or this, for example. (If you still don’t believe me, go and read Treasure Islands, and make up your own mind.)

These kinds of issues get to the heart of what I describe as the corruption of capitalism, as I outline in detail in Treasure Islands. If you are arguing that that the fight against corruption, or the fight for transparency, is the preserve of the left, then it seems to me that you must take a pretty dim view of the right.

OK, my article focused on Mitt Romney, and it was certainly critical of him, which I guess makes it easy to pigeonhole in the ‘left’ category.  Fair enough. And yes – I did recently receive a nomination for an award in a left-wing book category. But I’ve also received all sorts of accolades from the other side of the spectrum too: take a look. Which, I think, just goes to prove my point. The fact is that the issues at stake here are ones where many Republicans as well as Democrats can and frequently do find themselves on the same side of the fence.

There was one other ‘smear’ to mention, though: that I am a fan of — horrors! — the Occupy movement. Well, I give them credit for that. For it is quite true.

Here are my POTUS tweets:

Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama
Vanity Fair on “Romney’s familiarity with foreign tax havens,” including Switzerland and Grand Cayman: http://OFA.BO/P2KzSD

Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama
Investigating Mitt Romney’s offshore accounts: http://OFA.BO/xYwgXJ

Barack Obama ‏@BarackObama
“I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” http://OFA.BO/ZkahMT

And now for some light music (thanks to Jim Henry for the song).

one comment

Eddie Torres 7th July, 2012 8.10 pm

Nick, I thought your appearance on the Thom Hartmann show with a guest host last Tuesday was great, and I hope you get the future opportunity to appear on one of his TV or radio shows for an extended interview.

Also, wading through the comments at the Vanity Fair article, the pro-Romney camp seemed to broadly echo these 2 positions:

“Yeah, but the Liburuls are worse!”


“Why do you hate The Rich so much?”

Not one single mention by name of Jon Corzine or MF Global, however.

Nor was there any defense by the pro-Romney-ites of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who is directly linked to Romney and to gasoline and refined oil products futures speculation in 2008 and again in early 2012 that added an additional $750 each to the average annual US driver’s transportation fuel bill. [ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/02/how-wall-st-is-raising-the-price-of-gas/ and http://www.republicreport.org/2012/meet-oil-speculation-lobbyists/ and http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/09/15/317330/leaked-cftc-oil-speculation-data/?mobile=nc ]

The irony is that the main source of information for these pro-Romney-ites is Murdoch’s Fox News, or perhaps Fox-affiliated demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. None of them would be caught dead trying to explain the role of News Corp.’s multiple subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. And none of them would be mentally capable of hiring or renting the technical experts necessary to explain rigged capital markets and artificially-inflated consumer prices to their octagenarian viewers.

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