By John Hawkins
Townhall.com, December 19, 2015
. . .
Almost every requirement in this bill can be waived by Janet Napolitano: for instance, the time limits on when people can be legalized, the requirements on criminal activity or even the enforcement triggers. Those basically don’t mean anything if any of them is held up in court, still. …The litigation over the 1986 bill didn’t end until just a few years ago. The ACLU has been quite clear that it intends to sue to stop mandatory e-verify and probably sue to stop a bunch of other things. If, for instance, mandatory use of electronic verification is still in the courts 10 years after the bill passes, it’s entirely possible the Secretary of Homeland Security can just give everybody Green Cards on her own – and there are hundreds of other examples of that kind of discretion. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that this 1,000 page bill after all of the amendments could be boiled down to, “We trust you, Obama; just do the right thing.” — Mark Krikorian
. . .
Getting beyond the Gang-of-Eight bill, as late as June of this year, Marco Rubio was openly saying that he wanted to make illegal aliens citizens. However, today he tries to muddy the waters about the subject by merely saying he thinks illegal aliens should eventually be able to get green cards. Of course, people who have green cards are allowed to apply for citizenship; so it’s the same difference over the long haul.
Rubio also now claims to oppose his own Gang-of-Eight immigration plan. During the last debate, he said, “Here's what we learned in 2013: The American people don't trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control.”
. . .
Who to Believe? Rubio or Cruz?
By Amanda Carpenter
Convervative Review, December 17, 2015
Marco Rubio supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; that is known. And Rubio is now seeking to undermine Ted Cruz’s credibility on immigration issues by saying Cruz supports a path to legalization for illegal immigrants.
So, who to believe? Rubio, whose campaign is working hard to knock holes in Cruz’s record, or the record of the man himself?
. . .
Rubio may win a temporary, short-term news cycle on this, but will lose in the end, as this entire episode only serves to remind conservatives of what they view as Rubio’s original sin: joining the Gang of Eight.
Brit Hume may be on Rubio’s side, but we’ll see who Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and other powerful and reliable conservative voices line up behind on this particular squabble.
That said, many people including myself, would like to see the GOP primary come down to Rubio and Cruz. To many, it would symbolize an overwhelming victory over the establishment forces that worked to keep them both out of the Senate by supporting their moderate Republican rivals in their respective Florida and Texas primaries.
It would behoove Rubio to fight fair. He complained of Jeb Bush in a previous debate: “Someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you.”
Who convinced Rubio that attacking Cruz would help him?
. . .
Mark Zuckerberg is a social-justice CEO who panders to Hispanics with his pro-amnesty, anti-deportation advocacy; Facebook is an H-1B-visa-dependent company working hard to obliterate hurdles to hiring an unlimited stream of cheap foreign tech workers.
Open-Borders Money Backs Marco Rubio
By Michelle Malkin
National Review Online, December 18, 201
. . .
Here’s what you need to know: Facebook, Microsoft, and Silicon Valley back Marco Rubio. Mark Zuckerberg is a social-justice CEO who panders to Hispanics with his pro-amnesty, anti-deportation advocacy; Facebook is an H-1B-visa-dependent company working hard to obliterate hurdles to hiring an unlimited stream of cheap foreign tech workers. It’s no coincidence that Facebook’s lobbying outfit, FWD.us, was waging war on Senator Cruz online this week in parallel with Senator Rubio’s disingenuous onstage attack.
The D.C. front group, which Zuckerberg seeded in 2013 with nearly $40 million during the Gang of Eight fight, has consistently provided political protection for Rubio as he carried their legislative water.
FWD.us’s GOP subsidiary, “Americans for a Conservative Direction,” showered Rubio and pro-illegal-alien-amnesty Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) with millions of dollars in media ad buys. The group also funded a deceptive $150,000 ad campaign for immigration sellout Representative Renee Ellmers (R., N.C.), which falsely claimed that she opposed amnesty to help her fend off a primary challenge. In all, FWD.us spent an estimated $5 million on TV and radio spots in more than 100 GOP districts before the Senate passed the Gang of Eight bill in June 2013.
Zuckerberg personally donated to Rubio, as have pro-H-1B expansionist Silicon Valley CEOs from Oracle, Cisco, and Seagate. Microsoft, founded by leading H-1B/amnesty cheerleader Bill Gates, has been Rubio’s No. 2 corporate donor the past five years.
. . .
326,000 Native-Born Americans Lost Their Job in November: Why This Remains the Most Important Jobs Chart
By Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com, December 5, 2015
. . .
We are confident that one can make the case that there are considerations on both the labor demand-side (whether US employers have a natural tendency to hire foreign-born workers is open to debate) as well as on the supply-side: it may be easier to obtain wage-equivalent welfare compensation for native-born Americans than for their foreign-born peers, forcing the latter group to be much more engaged and active in finding a wage-paying job.
However, the underlying economics of this trend are largely irrelevant: as the presidential primary race hits a crescendo all that will matter is the soundbite that over the past 8 years, 2.7 million foreign-born Americans have found a job compared to only 747,000 native-born. The result is a combustible mess that will lead to serious fireworks during each and every subsequent GOP primary debate, especially if Trump remains solidly in the lead.
. . .
Immigration Cronyism Is Alive & Well & Living in the House of Representatives
By Mark Krikorian
The Corner at National Review Online, December 16, 2015
Tucked into the 2,000-plus pages of Paul Ryan’s monster spending bill to fund the federal government through the rest of this fiscal year are two immigration measures that testify to the strength of employer interests in bending immigration policy to their will.
BLOG: ONE-THIRD OF ALL ILLEGAL FARM WORKERS IN LA RAZA-OCCUPIED MEXIFORNIA END UP ON ANCHOR BABY WELFARE!
One is a change that would effectively quadruple the number of H-2B foreign workers. These are unskilled non-farm workers (a companion program to the H-2A for farmworkers, and the H-1B for tech workers) who work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, tourism, lifeguards, seafood processing – you know, jobs Americans won’t do.
The measure inserted into the spending bill was originally introduced last month by four Republican members –Chabot, Goodlatte, Harris, and Boustany. It consists of the common trick of nominally preserving the statutory cap (66,000 H-2B visas per year) but exempting from the cap any foreign worker who came in the prior three years. This would potentially quadruple the number of these “seasonal” workers to more than a quarter million. Even under current law the “seasonal” nature of the visa is a lie; they’re good for 10 months out of the year, so that they really are for permanent workers who take two-month unpaid vacations at Christmas time. (And just to highlight what a cronyist cesspool the H-2B visa program is, note that the current rules exempt from the cap all “Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing.” Some West Coast lawmaker presumably sold his vote on another matter in exchange for this loophole.)
The other donor-service provision slipped into the omnibus spending bill is a straight renewal of the scandal-plagued EB-5 investor visa program. The program sells permanent residence in the United States for the entire family in exchange for a $500,000 investment (usually in a high-end real estate development) that supposedly produces 10 jobs (though you can pay an economist to concoct a story about “indirect” job creation).
Fortune magazine last year published a deep dive into this sleazy program that’s well-worth the time to read, so long as you’ve taken your blood-pressure meds. And my colleague David North has been following the program closely for years.
The scandalous nature of this visa-selling scam was so apparent that the Republican chairmen and ranking Democrats of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees got together to introduce a reform bill. The changes are modest, considering that this steaming pile of cronyism should simply be abolished, but they were better than nothing and had broad support.
The reason these changes had a shot was that the program expires this month and would have to be reauthorized; you’d think that with Grassley, Leahy, Goodlatte, and Conyers behind them, the reforms would have been included as a condition of renewal.
But then John Cornyn got together with Chuck Schumer to kill the measure. The program is being renewed for the remainder of the fiscal year with no changes. The chief EB-5 lobbyist crowed on twitter:
Laura Reiff tweet: So proud of our EB-5 Investment Coalition. Extension of the program for 10 months! TY Schumer Cornyn and Flake.
[NOTE: This is a screenshot; the tweet was taken down shortly after this post was published.]
I suppose it should come as no surprise that a body that actually revived the expired Ex-Im Bank would make sure that employers could wet their beaks through these immigration giveaways as well. But it’s disconcerting nonetheless.
(And in case you were wondering, the omnibus spending bill also fully funds Obama’s plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees. All thoroughly vetted, of course.)
he immigration system Marco Rubio wanted
Despite that omission, it seems likely that if Rubio continues to rise in the GOP race, someone, somewhere will pay attention to his most important accomplishment. The 1,197-page Gang of Eight bill is so far-reaching, and at the same time so detailed, that it provides a sharp picture of where Rubio would like to take the U.S. immigration system. Rubio has renounced parts of his own work, but it's not clear which parts, and it's not clear if he has renounced them for good or only until he determines they are more politically practicable.
So until Rubio faces the inevitable questioning about his work, here are some features of the Gang of Eight legislation that might attract discussion as the Republican race goes forward.
1.) More immigration
Those numbers are wildly out of touch with the wishes of Republican voters — and of all voters, for that matter. Recently Pew Research asked Americans whether immigration should be "kept at its present level, increased or decreased." Among Republicans, just 7 percent supported increasing the level of immigration, which is at the heart of the Gang of Eight. Among independents, 17 percent supported increased immigration, along with 20 percent of Democrats. So while huge majorities do not support increasing immigration, the gap is particularly large among Republicans, whose presidential nomination Rubio is seeking.
2.) Immediate legalization of illegal immigrants
A fundamental and, as it turned out, fatal flaw of the Gang of Eight was apparent the first day Rubio and his fellow lawmakers announced the reform project, on Jan. 28, 2013. "On day one of our bill, the people without status who are not criminals or security risks will be able to live and work here legally," Rubio's co-author, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, said in a press conference with Rubio and the rest of the Gang.
Conservatives — the ones who remembered the debacle of the 1986 immigration deal, in which legalization of illegal immigrants came first but promised border security measures never happened — were stunned. They demanded that new border security and interior enforcement measures be in place and running before legalization.
oughout the months of writing and promoting the Gang of Eight bill, Rubio reassured skeptics the legislation would be very tough on illegal immigrants who are criminals. They wouldn't be allowed to stay. "They will have to come forward and pass a rigorous background check," Rubio said in April 2013. "If they're criminals, they won't qualify."
When the bill's language was made public, Rubio's promises didn't seem so tough. The legislation forbade the legalization of immigrants who had been convicted of a felony or of three or more misdemeanors. But there were some big exceptions.
First, if breaking the immigration laws was an "essential element" of any criminal conviction, it wouldn't count.
That meant that in the case of a person accused of multiple misdemeanors, and convicted of them during a single court session — a fairly common occurrence — the multiple convictions would count as just one conviction for the purposes of the Gang of Eight bill. Given that in some U.S. jurisdictions, some cases of vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving, domestic violence, sex offenses and theft are all categorized as misdemeanors, an illegal immigrant could be convicted of multiple serious crimes and still stay in the country.
Finally, Rubio gave the Secretary of Homeland Security broad authority to issue waivers to criminal immigrants. "The secretary may waive [the misdemeanor and other requirements] on behalf of an alien for humanitarian purposes, to ensure family unity, or if such a waiver is otherwise in the public interest," the bill said. That could mean almost anything
4.) An unclear enforcement guarantee
During the selling of the Gang of Eight, Rubio pushed back against skeptics who suggested the executive branch — whether the Obama administration or any other administration — would actually enact tough border security. Rubio's trump card was the bill's provision for something called the Southern Border Security Commission. Made up of border state governors plus representatives appointed by the president, the House and the Senate, the commission, according to Rubio, would take charge of border security if an administration failed to do so.
Rubio promised conservatives that the commission would have actual authority to enact security. The bill "requires if the Department of Homeland Security does not achieve 100 percent operational awareness and 90 percent apprehensions on the border, they lose control of the issue, to a commission, not a Washington commission, to a local commission, made up of the governors of the four border states ... where they will then finish the job of securing the border, including the fencing plan," Rubio told radio host Mark Levin in April 2013. Rubio told many other people the same thing.
It wasn't true. When the bill came out, it said the commission's "primary responsibility ... shall be making recommendations" to the president and Congress on "policies to achieve and maintain the border security goal." The bill said the commission would have six months to write a report with security recommendations; after giving its advice, it would be disbanded within 30 days.
The commission was, in other words, just another Washington commission. It had no actual power to do anything, regardless of what Rubio said.
5.) An imbalanced work force
Almost all immigration reformers, Rubio included, argue that the current American immigration system allows in too many unskilled immigrants and too few skilled ones. Rubio used that argument for the Gang of Eight. "I'm a big believer in family-based immigration," he told The Wall Street Journal in January 2013. "But I don't think that in the 21st century we can continue to have an immigration system where only 6.5 percent of people who come here, come here based on labor and skill. We have to move toward merit and skill-based immigration."
When the Gang of Eight bill was released, it became clear that Rubio and the Gang, while increasing high-skilled immigration into the United States, increased low-skilled immigration even more.
"[The bill] would allow significantly more workers with low skills and with high skills to enter the United States — through, for example, new programs for temporary workers and an increase in the number of workers eligible for H-1B visas," the CBO noted. "Taking into account all of those flows of new immigrants, CBO and [the Joint Committee on Taxation] expect that a greater number of immigrants with lower skills than with higher skills would be added to the workforce."
6.) The legalization trigger loophole
Many conservatives worried that the legalization for illegal immigrants, once offered, would inevitably become permanent. Rubio sought to reassure them by explaining that the Gang bill would require a "trigger," by which registered provisional immigrants could attain permanent status only after a long set of border security measures were put into place.
The actual bill, however, directed the secretary of Homeland Security to start the permanent legalization process even if the conditions had not been me. The Gang bill specified that permanent legalization would begin 10 years after passage of the legislation, whether or not the border provisions were in place. Even if the delay was the result of lawsuits tying up progress on border security, the bill said permanent legalization would go forward.
7.) Government micromanagement and special favors
The Gang of Eight bill included page after page of new laws governing the agricultural sector of the economy. After months of delicate negotiations between labor and business, Rubio and his colleagues decided to dictate wages, to the penny, for millions of agricultural workers. The bill specified a number of categories — agricultural products graders and sorters; animal breeders; farmworkers and crop, nursery and greenhouse laborers; agricultural equipment operators, etc.
For each, it laid out specific pay rates for 2014, 2015, 2016 and beyond. For example, farmworkers would be paid $9.17 an hour in 2014, $9.40 an hour in 201, and $9.64 an hour in 2016. Agricultural equipment operators would be paid $11.30 an hour in 2014, $11.58 an hour in 2015 and $11.87 an hour in 2016. And so on. Rubio and the Gang then set out a detailed formula for determining wages in the years after 2016.
As for special favors, Rubio and the Gang gave a number of breaks to specific business areas — tourism, cruise ship operators, meat packing plants and more. Perhaps the most famous is what might be called the Snowboard Exception. The original version of Rubio's bill extended the time limit for visas for "a ski instructor seeking to enter the United States temporarily to perform instructing services."
Not long after the bill was released, an amended version appeared, changing the language to "a ski instructor, who has been certified as a level I, II or III ski and snowboard instructor by the Professional Ski Instructors of America or the American Association of Snowboard Instructors ... seeking to enter the United States temporarily to perform instructing services." The snowboard instructors, ignored in the original bill, got their break in the final version.
8.) Fast tracks on the road to citizenship
During the selling of the Gang of Eight, Rubio repeatedly emphasized that newly-legalized illegal immigrants would have to go through years of procedures — maintaining a clean record, learning English, etc. — and still have to wait 10 years before even having a chance to apply for permanent legal residents, and only then if the border has been certified secure. Citizenship might lie many years beyond.
As it turned out, Rubio's bill contained some much quicker ways for illegal immigrants to gain permanent legal status. A provision in the Gang of Eight allowed immigrants with even a limited connection to the agricultural economy to gain legal status in half the time Rubio said. This is from a piece I wrote in April 2013:
How does an illegal immigrant qualify for a blue card? If, after passing the background checks, he can prove that he has worked in agriculture for at least 575 hours — about 72 eight-hour days — sometime in the two years ending Dec. 31, 2012, he can be granted a blue card. His spouse and children can be granted blue cards, too — it can all be done with one application ...
[After five years], the legislation requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to change the blue card holder's status to that of permanent resident if the immigrant has worked in agriculture at least 150 days in each of three of those five years since the bill became law. A work day is defined as 5.75 hours.
Also, the immigrant can qualify for permanent residence with less than three years, of 150 work days each, if he can show that he was disabled, ill or had to deal with the "special needs of a child" during that time period. He can also shorten the requirement if "severe weather conditions" prevented him for working for a long period of time, or if he was fired from his agricultural job — provided it was not for just cause — and then couldn't find work.
9.) An all-powerful Secretary of Homeland Security
For all its specificity, the Gang of Eight bill granted enormous discretionary powers to the secretary of Homeland Security; it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that for many of the seemingly hard-and-fast requirements in the bill there is a provision giving the secretary the authority to grant a waiver.
One way to see that is to search the bill's text for the phrase "the secretary may," which generally means the secretary has been given the authority to ignore or waive some requirement in the bill. The misdemeanor waiver earlier in this article is just one example. Waiving the blue card requirements is another.
There are more. For example, the secretary can re-admit to the United States an illegal immigrant who has been deported if the secretary determines it is in the "public interest." And in some cases, Rubio and the Gang gave "sole and unreviewable discretion" to the secretary to decide when an illegal immigrant may stay in the country legally.
THE TAX FREE MEXICAN UNDERGROUND ECONOMY IN LA RAZA-OCCUPIED LOS ANGELES IS ESTIMATED TO BE MORE THAN $2 BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR! THIS SAME COUNTY HANDS MEXICO'S ANCHOR BABY BREEDERS MORE THAN A BILLION IN WELFARE!
10.) A disappearing back taxes requirement
During the sales period for the Gang of Eight, Rubio said many times that the bill would require immigrants to pay back taxes. "They would have to ... pay back taxes," Rubio told The Wall Street Journal in that January 2013 interview. But when the bill was released, the requirement wasn't much of a requirement. The legislation did not require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes in order to be given registered provisional immigrant status.
It did say that when, after five or 10 years, that immigrant applied for permanent legal status, he or she would have to have "satisfied any applicable federal tax liability," which the Gang defined as "all federal income taxes assessed." That meant the immigrant had to pay any existing IRS liability — except that as illegal immigrants, many had never filed paperwork with the IRS to pay taxes in the first place and thus had no existing liability in IRS files. No matter what Rubio said, the bill did not require all illegal immigrants to pay back taxes.
The Gang of Eight bill passed the Senate on June 27, 2013. The vote was 68-32; the winning total was reached by unanimous support of the Senate's 54 Democrats, plus 13 of Rubio's fellow Republicans, and of course Rubio himself. After the vote, Rubio turned on his own handiwork, with a spokesman saying he opposed passage in the House. The bill was stopped when Speaker John Boehner rejected efforts to bring it up for a vote and House Republicans declined to pass their own version of comprehensive immigration reform.
This year, Rubio refused to answer the question of whether he would sign the Gang of Eight bill if he were president. Future immigration reform, Rubio now argues, must be done piecemeal, with legalization measures coming after the implementation of security. But the Gang of Eight was a big bill. For many Republicans, and indeed for many in the public at large, its problems went far beyond sequencing. If Rubio continues to play a leading role in the Republican presidential race, those problems will receive renewed attention.
Mark Zuckerberg, philanthrocapitalism and parasitism
THE ENTIRE REASON FOR AMNESTY, NO E-VERIFY AND OPEN BORDERS IS TO KEEP WAGES DEPRESSED.
THERE IS NOT ONE BILLIONAIRE OUT THERE WHO IS AN ADVOCATE FOR THE AMERICAN WORKER!
THEY ARE ALL FOR OBAMA'S AMNESTY, OPEN BORDERS AND NO E-VERIFY.
EVERY AMNESTY BILL YET ATTEMPTED INCLUDES LIFTING THE VISAS FOR ENDLESS BOATLOADS OF FOREIGNERS TO TAKE OUR JOBS AND KEEP WAGES DEPRESSED FOR THE LIKSE OF ZUCKERBERG AND BILL GATES!
MARK ZUCKERBERG IS A MAJOR DONOR TO THE MEXICAN FASCIST PARTY OF LA RAZA.
"Inseparable from the staggering growth of financial parasitism and social inequality, from which Zuckerberg and his ilk benefit, is the repudiation of the social rights of the working class. Moreover, Zuckerberg’s latest announcement calls into question any democratic input, much less control, over the resources created by the collective labor of society."
"Instead of massive public works projects addressing the social problems of our day, we are told that the financial elite—good, caring people—can “get things done,” bypassing the annoying traditional legal and governmental bodies!"
Mark Zuckerberg, philanthrocapitalism and parasitism
By Nancy Hanover
Last Tuesday Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook and the 16th richest man in America, and his wife Priscilla Chan announced they would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook shares, currently valued at $45 billion, to charity during their lifetime.
8 December 2015
The gift was announced in the form of a letter to their newborn child announcing the formation of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a Limited Liability Company (LLC) dedicated to “advancing human potential and promoting equality” by means of “philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good.” “Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” the billionaires wrote.
The intended and immediate media reaction was gushing praise. The Guardian, for example, referred to Zuckerberg as a “generational superman” and stated, “The rest of us can probably agree, twitticisms aside, that a $45bn donation—more than double the Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie foundations put together—is pretty generous.”
“His previous extraordinary philanthropy gives plenty of reason for optimism,” continued the British newspaper, “whatever mis-steps there have been along the way. What will he do now? Can he manage his great gift without letting the political seep into the charitable? How will he change the world next?”
National Public Radio (NPR) enthused, “The letter has a sweeping vision, traversing social and political issues that are controversial.” It quotes Zuckerberg’s concern for those who “wonder whether you’ll have food or rent, or worry about abuse or crime potential,” and report his assurances that “investments in technology in particular can solve these problems.”
On a more somber note, the New Yorker hinted at the nervous worries of the ruling elite, baldly claiming, “Charitable giving on this scale makes modern capitalism, with all of its inequalities and injustices, seem somewhat more defensible.”
To all of this, the WSWS can only reply: far from it! Technology cannot solve the problem of social inequality. The journal Science just published a study entitled “ Democratizing education? Examining access and usage patterns in massive open online courses ” which confirms the fact, well known to public school teachers, that economic class—not technological access—is the overwhelming factor in determining educational success. Science goes even further to state, “Our findings raise concerns that MOOCs and similar approaches to online learning can exacerbate rather than reduce disparities in educational outcomes related to socioeconomic status.”
Access to the Internet does not obliterate class society. And it is absolutely indefensible that “curing disease,” the ability to receive a good education and access to communication technology should become objects of charity.
The phenomenon of “philanthrocapitalism,” the brain-child of “social investors” seeking to “do well by doing good,” has become a credo among some members of the young billionaire set. It is predicated upon what the WSWS has described as the return of the aristocratic principle —the notion that if the population is to have basic rights, it will be at the whim of the very rich.
Inseparable from the staggering growth of financial parasitism and social inequality, from which Zuckerberg and his ilk benefit, is the repudiation of the social rights of the working class. Moreover, Zuckerberg’s latest announcement calls into question any democratic input, much less control, over the resources created by the collective labor of society.
Instead of massive public works projects addressing the social problems of our day, we are told that the financial elite—good, caring people—can “get things done,” bypassing the annoying traditional legal and governmental bodies!
The fact is, and always has been, that charity aims to degrade and demoralize its recipients and undermine class consciousness, while pleasantly easing the conscience of its wealthy patrons. As the great Marxist Frederick Engels put it, such donations amount to “giv[ing] back to the plundered victims the hundredth part of what belongs to them!”
Zuckerberg’s business arrangement, however, was not primarily targeted at convincing the 84 percent of the world’s people who subsist on less than $20 a day, or the three-quarters of the world’s working population which cannot secure a permanent and stable job, or even the 40 percent of young people of Zuckerberg’s generation who lack full-time work, of the wonders of capitalism and the beneficence of its elite.
This time around, it is more about cold, hard cash-management and future business opportunities. As the New Yorker notes, philanthropists “Zuckerberg and [Bill] Gates are placing some very large chunks of wealth permanently outside the reaches of the Internal Revenue Service.” The magazine adds that, “The size and timing of the tax benefits to Zuckerberg and Chan are uncertain, but they are likely to be large.”
Despite this, the liberal editors of the New Yorker add, “by all means, let us praise Zuckerberg and Chan for their generosity. And let us also salute Gates, who started the trend.”
Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica (the investigative journalism web site), however, has aptly pointed out that the “emperor”—or “the generational superman”—has no clothes. Eisinger explained that Zuckerberg’s decision to create a limited liability company for his Facebook shares was essentially “mov[ing] money from one pocket to the other.” Analyses of the Chan Zuckerberg “gift” by business commentators have confirmed this.
• It reduces taxes for the billionaire family. American tax law provides a deduction for stock sales based on “fair market value.” As Facebook stock is presumed to appreciate in value, at the time CZI donates stock to a charity, it will write off—not the cost of the stock when they received it from Zuckerberg—but its price at final sale. Therefore any gain in value is never taxed. Forbes reported that Zuckerberg “can potentially use that to shelter billions of other income.”
Judged by past practice, Zuckerberg’s interest in this aspect of the deal cannot be insubstantial. He already uses a donor-advised fund (the Silicon Valley Community Foundation), a relatively new and wildly popular device that generates an immediate tax deduction but has no requirement for charitable contribution. He also reportedly employs the “Double Irish” loophole to shift profits to the Cayman Islands. Gabriel Zucman, a tax haven specialist at UC Berkeley, dryly remarked, “I applaud their emphasis on ‘promoting equality’ but that starts with paying one’s taxes. A society where rich people decide for themselves how much taxes they pay and to what public goods they’re willing to contribute is not a civilized society.”
• The LLC has no legal responsibility to help anyone. There are no transparency requirements or rules regarding the disbursement of its assets. It is exempt from the “5 percent rule,” which stipulates a minimum of 5 percent of the holdings is to be donated each year. All decisions regarding the new business entity will be under the control of the Chan-Zuckerberg family.
• In fact, commentators have indicated that the LLC appears to be designed to function as a conduit for projects that contribute directly to Facebook’s future success. The company aims to “connect the world so you have access to every idea, person and opportunity,” and make a strong emphasis on the advancement of the “Internet” and “personalized learning”—all goals which tied into Facebook’s interest in better Internet connections and further personalization of the online experience. The education market is now being inundated with companies peddling such ed-tech tools promising individual learning.
• The entity will be entirely free to funnel billions into “education reform,” e.g., opening up the K-12 market by lobbying for legal changes and supporting pro-market politicians. Lobbying, dubbed “participating in policy debates,” is part of CZI’s core mission. Had the entity been set up as a traditional tax-exempt foundation—a 501(c)(3)—it would have been legally barred from these political activities. Zuckerberg has already established himself as a key operator in undermining public education and bringing in profit concerns to the K-12 “market.”
• CZI will invest in for-profit companies and participate in joint ventures, also leveraging Zuckerberg’s efforts to penetrate the highly lucrative “education business.” Last September, Facebook teamed up with a charter school network, Summit Public Schools, to refine its personalized learning plan. Two thousand students and 100 teachers in Summit were involved, but with Facebook on board, the effort is now set to expand. CZI also previously invested in AltSchool, a for-profit private school chain ($20,000 a year tuition) run by venture capitalists and other investors.
Five years ago, Zuckerberg made a similar grand announcement of a cash infusion (the “previous extraordinary philanthropy” referenced by the Guardian, above) into the impoverished Newark, New Jersey school system. Almost 30 percent of the money went into the development of charter schools, which now enroll more than one-third of the city’s schoolchildren. Millions more went to consultants. The school “reform” movement that Zuckerberg financed worked with the American Federation of Teachers local to impose merit pay and scapegoat educators for the problems created by poverty. All in all, there has been no improvement in Newark’s education system.
Characterizing the announcement not as a “gift” but as “an investment vehicle,” ProPublica’s Eisinger concluded, “Instead of lavishing praise on Mr. Zuckerberg … this should be an occasion to mull what kind of society we want to live in. … The point is that we are turning into a society of oligarchs.”
Precisely. The real gift involved has been zero interest rates and quantitative easing—the injections of trillions of dollars into the stock market by the US Federal Reserve—which has fabulously enriched the financial oligarchs and sent the stock market soaring. With the tech-centric NASDAQ hitting all-time highs this year, not just Facebook but all of Silicon Valley is awash with billions of dollars. In a development reminiscent of the dot-com bubble, there are now over 100 US-based “unicorns”—start-ups valued at $1 billion or more—with some “decacorns” valued at $10 billion or more. Private equity firms and venture capitalists control more liquidity than they know what to do with.
A glimpse of this milieu is pointed to in Vanity Fair ’s recent article “Unicorns and Rain Clouds,” which warns that the stock euphoria has created a debauched culture that harkens back to the dot-com collapse of 1999. They note that the skyline says a lot. There’s a new, recently occupied Facebook building, designed by Frank Gehry, with a rooftop park and what it claims is the largest open floor plan in the world. A new, glassy Salesforce Tower is under construction, slated to become the tallest building in San Francisco. And on it goes.
The reporter, Nick Bilton, observes, “Shortly after the Facebook IPO, I learned about a secret group within the social-network company called ‘TNR 250’; it was an abbreviation of ‘The Nouveau Riche 250’ comprising Facebook’s first 250 employees, many of whom had become multi-millionaires. The members of TNR 250 privately discussed things they wanted to buy with their windfall, including boats, planes, Banksy portraits, and even tropical islands. …
“A prominent Facebook employee’s birthday party was orchestrated like an elaborate wedding, with ice sculptures, chocolatiers, and half a dozen women who walked around with card tables hanging off their waists so that guests could play blackjack while staring at their chests.”
Bilton sardonically notes, “In the past, they’ve suggested, [these] people were just trying to get filthy rich. Now they are trying to ‘make the world a better place.’”
Not only is social inequality at levels unseen since the days of Louis XVI, but so is the hubris and hypocrisy of the parasitical elite. But the deeper significance of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is its illustration of the open subordination of all aspects of US society to the capitalist market and the caprice of the new financial aristocracy that rules America.
It is becoming more and more obvious that the obscene wealth of the super-rich is inseparable from the nature of capitalism, a dying system which is conducting a deep-going social counterrevolution: dismantling public education, destroying the cities, water systems, housing, roads and all public infrastructure, systematically impoverishing millions, raping the planet’s resources—and, above all, visiting a perpetual state of imperialist war across the globe.
This demonstrates, once again, the utter incompatibility of present-day capitalism with the most fundamental principles of democracy. Neither charity nor philanthropy is needed from this decadent and outlived capitalist system. The rights of the working class will only be secured by the struggle for socialism.
The author also recommends:
Sold Out: How High-Tech Billionaires & Bipartisan Beltway Crapweasels Are Screwing America's Best & Brightest
By Michelle Malkin and John Miano
Mercury Ink, 480 pp.
Hardcover, ISBN: 1501115944, $16.80
Kindle, 10644 KB, ASIN: B00VBW3SYQ, $14.99
Book Description: The #1 New York Times bestselling author and firebrand syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin sets her sights on the corrupt businessmen, politicians, and lobbyists flooding our borders and selling out America’s best and brightest workers.
In Sold Out, Michelle Malkin and John Miano reveal the worst perpetrators screwing America’s high-skilled workers, how and why they’re doing it—and what we must do to stop them. In this book, they will name names and expose the lies of those who pretend to champion the middle class, while aiding and abetting massive layoffs of highly skilled American workers in favor of cheap foreign labor. Malkin and Miano will explode some of the most commonly told myths spread in the media like these:
Lie #1: America is suffering from an apocalyptic “shortage” of science, technology, engineering, and math workers.
Lie #2: US companies cannot function without an unlimited injection of the most “highly skilled” and “highly educated” foreign workers, who offer intellectual capital and entrepreneurial energy that American workers can’t match.
Lie #3: America’s best and brightest talents are protected because employers are required to demonstrate that they’ve made every effort to hire American citizens before resorting to foreign labor.
For too long, open-borders tech billionaires and their political
enablers have escaped tough public scrutiny of their means and
motives. Sold Out is an indictment of not only political corruption
in Washington, but also the journalistic malpractice that enables it.
It’s time to trade the whitewash for solvent. American workers
deserve better and the public deserves the unvarnished truth.