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Watch this historian call out Davos elite to their faces: ‘Stop talking about philanthropy’ and pay higher taxes

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While the private jets have mostly left the airport outside of Davos, Switzerland following the conclusion of this year’s World Economic Forum, a little noticed exchange that took place during the annual gathering has picked up steam in recent days showing what it looks like when some of the world’s richest people are confronted by someone willing to call literal “bullshit” on the we-can-save-the-world-with-charity mantra that dominates among the global elite.

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If the world’s richest and most powerful are worried about a so-called popular “backlash” in response to the global economic system they defend—and largely control—Rutger Berman, a Dutch historian and author of the book Utopia for Realists, during a panel last week titled “The Cost of Inequality,” said the pathway is not complicated. “The answer,” he said, “is very simple: Just stop talking about philanthropy, and start talking about taxes.”

“I mean we can talk for a very long time about all these stupid philanthropy schemes,” Bregman added. “We can invite [U2 frontman] Bono once more. But, come on, we’ve got to be talking about taxes. That’s it. Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit in my opinion.”

Watch the following clip put out by Now This:

Also on the Davos panel with Bregman was Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. Just last week, as the WEF summit was just opening, Oxfam released a report on global inequality showing that just 26 billionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s 3.8 poorest billion people.

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“We have a tax system that leaks so much, that allows $170 billion of money every year to be taken to tax havens and to be denied the developing countries that need that money most,” said Byanyima during the panel. “So we have to look at the business model, and we have to look at the role of governments to tax and plow back money into people’s lives.”

As the video clip began to go viral in the wake of the Davos’ gathering, the media team for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who has continued to put global inequality and the idea of a “rigged” economy at the heart of his political message—snagged the central claims of Bregman’s remarks and on Tuesday put out this version:

“We have a rigged tax code that has essentially legalized tax-dodging for large corporations and the world’s wealthiest individuals,” said Sanders. “It is time to end these egregious loopholes and make the wealthy pay their fair share.”

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By Jon Queally, Common Dreams


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Science now supports the deadly serious warnings the Victorians gave about sleep

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“Sleeplessness is one of the torments of our age and generation.” You might presume that this is a quote from a contemporary commentator, and no wonder: the World Health Organisation has diagnosed a global epidemic of sleeplessness, and it is difficult to escape accounts, both popular and scientific, of the dangers to health of our 24/7 lifestyle in the modern digital age. But it was actually the neurologist Sir William Broadbent who wrote these words, in 1900.

So our concerns are evidently far from new. The Victorian era experienced not only the extraordinary upheavals of the industrial revolution, but also the arrival of gas and then electric lighting, turning night into day. The creation of an international telegraph network similarly revolutionised systems of communication, establishing global connectivity and, for groups such as businessmen, financiers and politicians, a flow of telegrams at all hours.

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The new Rambo movie is essentially a MAGA fever dream of bigotry

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"Rambo: Last Blood," the latest in the long-running franchise about a traumatized war veteran (Sylvester Stallone) turned on-demand badass, is less an escapist action movie and more a dramatized manifestation of the most notorious sentences from Donald Trump's presidential campaign announcement speech: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Even for a series that has always been shaped by a right wing worldview, the only reason for this latest sequel to exist — besides generating profits from die-hard Stallone fans — is to validate MAGA-world bigotries about Mexicans.This article first appeared in Salon.

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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to provide free tuition for students with household incomes under $75,000

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The tuition assistance program is expected to cover tuition and fees for about half of UTRGV students in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Beginning in the next academic year, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide free tuition and cover mandatory fees for qualifying students with household incomes under $75,000, the university announced Monday.

The UTRGV Tuition Advantage program is expected to alleviate tuition costs for more than half of the university's 21,459 undergraduate students, UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in the release. Funding will be available to incoming, returning and transfer in-state undergraduate students.

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