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The US Government Requirement that RT-TV Register as a ‘Foreign Agent’ is a Threat to Our Press Freedom

Suddenly, I’m a ‘Russian agent’

Meanwhile, if we want to really look for foreign agents at work in our country, look no further than the CEOs, presidents and board chairs of some of America’s largest companies. Collectively, the S&P 500, composed of the nation's largest companies, includes enterprises 48% of whose revenues are earned abroad. Since some, like the big telecom firms AT&T and Verizon, earn almost no revenues abroad, it’s not surprising that some of the biggest corporations on the list are earning the bulk of their revenues and profits overseas (and are booking their profits there too in order to avoid US corporate taxes).

Take seven of the biggest S&P 500 companies: In the case of Apple, 62.3% of its 2016 revenues of $306 billion was earned abroad. For Qualcom, the figure was a whopping 98.6%$ of its $30.6 billion in 2016 revenues. Intel, meanwhile, “only” earned 82% of its $31.7 billion in 2016 revenues from abroad. ExxonMobil (headed by Rex Tillerson until he was named President Trump’s secretary of state), earned $67.3% of its 2016 revenues from abroad (and has been seeking a deal to license close to $1 trillion in gas and oil reserves off Russia’s Siberian coast in the Arctic Ocean), while Johnson & Johnson earned 52% of its 2016 revenues abroad. General Electric meanwhile, doesn’t just earn the bulk of its revenues abroad — about 53% in 2016. As of the end of 2014, 55% of its workforce of 305,000 was located abroad — a number that continues to rise. And yet President Obama, without a hint of irony,in 2009 named GE’s then CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, to be a “jobs czar” for the administration (a year later, GE reportedly paid no US taxes, though it paid $3 billion in taxes to foreign jurisdictions in which it operates).

Although clearly all of these nominally US corporations and their chief executives are American, it is equally clear that their real allegiance — since as we are continuously told, the fiduciary duty of corporate executives is to maximize shareholder value — is not to Uncle Sam. When push comes to shove, if a policy or bill in Congress is going to threaten their international business operations, these executives are going to lobby against it. If there’s a bill that will help them move profits abroad, they’ll push for it. They should, therefore, be required to register as foreign agents, yet never has such a thing even been proposed.

It makes a joke out of this whole campaign attacking RT-TV. Especially as it’s a safe bet — so safe I’m not even going to make the effort to dig up the numbers — that many or most of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress clamoring to have RT banned solicit and happily accept campaign contributions from these so-called American companies every election cycle, which should by rights make them also foreign agents in practice.



story | by Dr. Radut