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Big Business Getting Something for Nothing PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by David S. D’Amato   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:37

In early June, as a prelude to an expansive study of the Fortune 500 due later this summer, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) published an analysis of “the current corporate tax debate.” Anarchists oppose taxes on principle as an exalted form of theft, but the fact that the most profitable firms in the country aren’t paying up raises other important questions.

Arguing that the “tax code has ... become overburdened with loopholes, shelters, and special tax breaks,” CTJ’s study demonstrates that 12 of America’s largest companies currently pay, in effect, a tax rate of negative 1.5 percent. That means that some corporations – among them Boeing – are in fact making money through the tax system as it is currently operating.

 
Bankrupt Nations Try (and Fail) to Stop the Future PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Simon Black   
Monday, 30 May 2011 05:34

Debt is slavery ... or at least indentured servitude of the worst kind. That looming mortgage, the high-interest credit-card debt, the short-term car loan – these are the forces that keep people from breaking free and taking action.

Ironically, debt begets more debt. According to FinAid, the average U.S. student-loan debt for a four-year-private-university graduate is nearly $36,000, and $24,000 for a public university. Throw in that first car loan and maybe a mortgage, and suddenly you’re staring at hundreds of thousands of dollars in demoralizing claims on your future income.

At this point, most people figure: Hey, I’m already in debt up to my nose; might as well get in up to my eyeballs and buy a new plasma screen on credit.

 
Strauss-Kahn: As Sleazy as the IMF in General PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by David D’Amato   
Thursday, 26 May 2011 07:45

Since the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, occupies the headlines with some consistency as of late, it seems as good a time as any to note the perfectly legal crimes the IMF perpetrates daily.

Established by the world’s most powerful states as an agency of empire, the IMF is an inflationary machine designed to make cash all too accessible for the West’s corporate titans. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the radix of the IMF, having hosted the Bretton Woods conference of nations in the wake of World War II. That summit, conceived to reconfigure the global financial system for the demands of the post-war framework, positioned the United States as a global hegemonic authority.

If America’s corporate neocolonialism was to function, then the “developed” world would need an effective way to funnel money to its new outposts, the countries that would host its subsidiaries and sweatshops. The loans, of course, were – and have ever since been – channeled to infrastructure projects that dilute currencies and cheat the taxpaying common man to benefit a handful of oligarchs.

 
The Changing Face of the Police and the Death of the Fourth Amendment PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 05:07

The Fourth Amendment, which assures that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” was included in the Bill of Rights in response to the oppressive way British soldiers treated American colonists through their use of “Writs of Assistance.” These were court orders that authorized British agents to conduct general searches of premises for contraband. The exact nature of the materials being sought did not have to be detailed, nor did their locations. The powerful new court orders enabled government officials to inspect not only shops and warehouses, but also private homes. These searches resulted in the violation of many of the colonists’ rights and the destruction of much of the colonists’ personal property. It quickly became apparent to many colonists that their homes were no longer their castles.

Fast-forward 250 years and we seem to be right back where we started, living in an era of oppressive government policies and a militarized police whose unauthorized, forceful intrusions into our homes and our lives have been increasingly condoned by the courts. Indeed, two recent court decisions – one from the U.S. Supreme Court and the other from the Indiana Supreme Court, both handed down in the same week – sound the death knell for our Fourth Amendment rights.

 
Do Parents’ Rights End at the Schoolhouse Gate? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Tuesday, 17 May 2011 12:40

Do parents have a right to control the upbringing of their children, especially when it comes to what their children should be exposed to in terms of sexual practices and intimate relationships?

That question goes to the heart of the battle being played out in school districts and courts across America right now over parental rights and whether parents essentially forfeit those rights when they send their children to a public school. On one side of the debate are those who believe, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, that “the child is not the mere creature of the state” and that the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the U.S. Constitution. On the other side are government officials who not only believe, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Fields V. Palmdale School District PSD (2005), that “[s]chools cannot be expected to accommodate the personal, moral, or religious concerns of every parent,” but go so far as to insist that parents’ rights do “not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.”

A recent incident in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, clearly illustrates this growing tension over whether young people, especially those in the public schools, are wards of the state, to do with as government officials deem appropriate, in defiance of the children’s constitutional rights and those of their parents. On two separate occasions this year, students at Memorial Middle School in Fitchburg were administered surveys at school asking overtly intimate and sexually suggestive questions without their parents’ knowledge or consent. Students were required to complete the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) at school, a survey that asks questions such as “Have you ever tried to kill yourself?”, “Have you ever sniffed glue, or breathed the contents of spray cans, or inhaled any paints?”, and “With how many people have you had sexual intercourse?” Older students were also given the Youth Program Survey, which asks true/false questions about a student's beliefs about contraception (“I feel comfortable talking with any partner I have about using a condom”) and sexual activity (“I have had oral sex at some point in my life”).

 
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