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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”).

 
A Sound Tax Policy PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Windham   
Friday, 13 May 2011 10:38

Every four years, we citizens of Iowa must endure a bevy of presidential hopefuls presenting tax proposals. These proposals have a few things in common: (1) They’re long, complex, and full of details; (2) Pundits attack the details; (3) Iowa voters don’t read the details; and (4) They never become law as written.

Perhaps this cycle will be different. Perhaps, rather than long and complex proposals, the candidates will simply articulate their fundamental beliefs of what a tax policy should be. Then if elected, these principles can be the foundation on which the tax code is written.

Will this happen? It’s doubtful, but in a triumph of hope over experience, let me offer the following five tax-policy principles as a guide.

 
Jeff Terronez: Just Sorry He Got Caught PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:53

Following Jeff Terronez’s resignation as Rock Island County state’s attorney and his guilty plea last week, I was waiting for the Quad Cities’ daily newspapers to forcefully and directly raise a simple question: Why didn’t he resign sooner?

More relevant at this point: Why didn’t the county’s Democratic leaders strongly encourage his resignation long before he agreed to a plea deal?

Alas, the closest the newspapers got was the Quad-City TimesApril 27 editorial: “Terronez ... has decimated the credibility of his office, his former colleagues, and every Democrat who stood by silently as this crime was covered up for at least six months. That’s how long Terronez dodged specific questions from us and others about this crime. ... If, as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan claimed, police found only enough to charge him with providing the alcohol [to a minor], Terronez could have cleared that up with an honest answer in October.”

But the “honest answer” the Times said Terronez should have provided is far different from his resignation. And both the Times and Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch seem more concerned with getting full details of the Illinois State Police investigation.

 
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