Author Archive

Latest tax-scam of corporate “inversion”: Who pays instead?

January 28, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"Johnson Controls Inc. and Tyco International PLC have announced a $14 billion merger, with the resulting company pretending to be 'Irish.' This is called an 'inversion' and is all about dodging taxes. Johnson Controls is actually based in Milwaukee. Tyco is based in Princeton, N.J. but became 'Irish' through its own prior tax-dodging inversion(s). ... An inversion allows corporations to pretend to be non-U.S. companies and dodge taxes while still getting the full benefits of our country’s taxes: roads and other physical infrastructure, advanced legal system, educated workforce, police and other protections, military protection, and so on." (01/26/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160126/the-latest-tax-scam-corporate-inversion-who-pays-instead  

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The group of artists winning fair pay by targeting nonprofits

January 28, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Tom Ladendorf  

"This story comes from an anonymous survey of nearly 1,000 artists about the compensation they received for exhibitions and performances at nonprofit arts institutions (chosen on the basis that for-profits very rarely pay for exhibiting work). Of the shows artists listed, 58.4 percent were completely unpaid, without even expense reimbursement. Even some of the largest institutions got low marks: New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, has a total annual operating budget of more than $250 million but paid surveyed artists for only 14.3 percent of exhibitions." (01/26/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18764/wages-for-arts-sake  

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OECD deal on corporate tax avoidance signed by 31 nations

January 27, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Rules to stop companies using complex tax arrangements to avoid paying corporate tax have been agreed by 31 OECD members. They will make it harder for firms to hide money in tax havens or play one country's tax authority against another. Firms such as Google, Amazon and Facebook must now pay tax in the country where the profits are made. The move follows public anger at the tax practices of some multinationals. Google's deal to pay £130m to the UK's HM Revenue and Customs in back taxes for the past decade has seen it widely criticised for not paying its fair share [sic] of corporate tax." (01/27/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35420450  

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Cannabis-infused suppository helps to relieve menstrual cramps

January 27, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"A natural form of menstrual relief is now available to women, thanks to pot. The world’s first cannabis-infused vaginal suppository was released this week by Foria, which promises to relieve the pain and stress induced by menstrual cramps and discomfort. Named 'Foria Relief' to distinguish from the company’s ultra-popular sexual aid spray for women, the small cocoa butter-based inserts are blended with a 6:1 ratio of THC oil concentrate and CBD isolate, respectively. The two compounds work together to diminish pain signals and muscle cramping, all without a psychoactive high. Women will experience maximum pain relief without getting stoned since the medicine is administered as a vaginal suppository." (01/27/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/01/27/marijuana-infused-suppository-helps-to-relieve-menstrual-cramps  

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How Michael Bloomberg complicates the election

January 27, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Robert Kuttner  

"As you have doubtless read or seen, Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, has put out the word that his minions are testing the waters for an independent candidacy. Bloomberg is supposedly the sensible moderate that the county needs, the one that political polarization has kept from the ballot of either party. But that’s not an obstacle that a few billion dollars from the candidate’s own fortune can’t fix. Bloomberg is center-right on economics and finance, and liberal on social issues and gun control. He’s not likely to get elected. There is no mass clamoring for such a combination, except among fellow rich people. Yet Bloomberg’s entry could tip the race -- more likely to the Republican than the Democrat." (1/26/16)

http://prospect.org/article/how-michael-bloomberg-complicates-election  

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White House dropped $10 million claim in Iran prisoner deal

January 27, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Nader Modanlo was facing five more years in federal prison when he got an extraordinary offer: U.S. President Barack Obama was ready to commute his sentence as part of this month's historic and then still-secret prisoner swap with Iran. He said no. To sweeten the deal, the U.S. administration then dropped a claim against the Iran-born aerospace engineer for $10 million that a Maryland jury found he had taken as an illegal payment from Iran, according to interviews with Modanlo, lawyers involved and U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter. The surrender of the U.S. claim, which has not previously been reported, could add to scrutiny of how the Obama administration clinched a prisoner deal that has drawn criticism from Republican presidential candidates and lawmakers." (01/27/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-nuclear-modanlo-idUSKCN0V50HC  

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States ask SCOTUS to stay Obama climate rules

January 27, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A group of over a dozen states are petitioning the Supreme Court to halt the Obama administration's far-reaching climate rules for power plants. The states are already suing in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but after Friday's decision by the court to not stay the rules, the states are taking the unprecedented move of going straight to the Supreme Court for a ruling to place the landmark regulations on ice. The court of appeals still plans to take up the states' arguments. It only ruled that it would not stay the regulations before doing so. It consequently scheduled oral arguments for June." (01/26/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/01/26/states-ask-supreme-court-to-stay-obama-climate-rules.html  

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TX: Dad who took daughter’s phone not guilty of theft

January 27, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"A Texas father who was accused of theft after he confiscated his 12-year-old daughter's cellphone over an inappropriate text has been acquitted of the misdemeanor charge. A judge in Dallas found Ronald Jackson not guilty Tuesday, citing insufficient evidence. Grand Prairie police arrested Jackson a few hours after he commandeered his daughter's cellphone and refused to return it. The 36-year-old father says a text he found on the phone was rude." (01/27/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/Texas-dad-acquitted-of-theft-took-away-6787184.php  

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Ammon Bundy and the myth of the American West

January 27, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Dawn G. Marsh  

"The arrest of Ammon Bundy and many of his supporters on Tuesday left one man dead and a handful of protesters still occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural eastern Oregon. Weeks after they first occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the question remains: What do they want? Ammon and his brother Ryan Bundy had issued an array of claims and accusations that resonate with many Western land users. Who are the enemies they confront? The federal government, the Bureau of Land Management and even Linda Sue Beck, a biologist at the wildlife refuge whose office they are occupying, draw the ire of the Bundy brothers and their followers." (01/27/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/01/27/ammon-bundy-and-the-myth-of-the-american-west  

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Forecast: Distrust, with a chance of revolution

January 27, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"According to a recent Associated Press poll, the public lacks confidence in government. And by 'lacks confidence,' I mean 'really lacks confidence.' Specifically, 'More than 6 in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence (or none at all) that the federal government can make progress on the problems facing the nation in 2016.' And this isn’t just Republicans in a sour mood after seven years of Obama. As the AP noted, 'Perhaps most vexing for the dozen or so candidates vying to succeed President Barack Obama, the poll indicates widespread skepticism about the government's ability to solve problems, with no significant difference in the outlook between Republicans and Democrats.' Well, that’s not just vexing for presidential candidates. It’s a bad sign for the country. But if Americans lack confidence in the federal government, who can blame them?" (01/26/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/01/25/glenn-reynolds-polling-confidence-government-obama-elections-column/79264470  

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Judge approves reworked NCAA settlement over concussions

January 27, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"A federal judge in Chicago gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a reworked head-injury settlement between thousands of former college athletes and the NCAA that includes a $70 million fund to test for brain trauma. U.S. District Judge John Lee praised the new deal for expanding potential plaintiffs to athletes from sports beyond football, hockey and other contact sports. But he suggested several changes -- most notably ones modifying what would have been a blanket protection for the NCAA from class-action lawsuits over concussions, something the organization may find unacceptable. The core of the agreement remains largely the same. That includes the NCAA creating the fund to test current and former athletes for brain injuries they say they suffered while playing collegiate sports. The tests would gauge the extent of neurological injuries and could establish grounds for individual athletes seeking damages." (01/26/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/01/26/judge-approves-reworked-ncaa-settlement-over-concussions.html  

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Greed is Clinton’s Achilles heel

January 27, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"When Bernie Sanders hits rival Hillary Clinton for taking humongous speaking fees from big banks -- notably the $675,000 Goldman Sachs paid her for three speeches while she eyed the Oval Office -- he struck Clinton's Achilles heel. Both the former secretary of state and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have cashed in since they left the White House in 2000. The New York Times reported last year that the Clintons earned $139 million from 2007 to 2014. The Clintons' focus on accumulating wealth clouds their judgment." [editor's note: Nailed it! - SAT] (01/26/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/01/26/greed-is-clintons-achilles-heel-n2109871  

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United Airlines to offer refunds to regions hit with Zika virus

January 27, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"United Airlines will allow customers who hold tickets to regions impacted by the Zika virus to postpone their trips or receive full refunds, a spokesman said on Tuesday. United, the second-largest U.S. airline by capacity, said the offer corresponds to virus-hit areas specified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Monday, the World Health Organization warned that mosquito-borne Zika is likely to spread to most of the Americas, sparking concerns by travelers on social media." (01/26/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/01/united-airlines-will-offer-refunds-to-travelers-visiting-regions-hit-with-zika-virus  

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After incarceration, what next?

January 27, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Nathalie Baptiste  

"A broad bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill has rallied behind a sweeping criminal justice overhaul aimed at ending mass incarceration, which costs the nation $80 billon per year, a plan that would slash the nation’s bloated prison population. But largely unanswered in those reforms is the question of what happens to prisoners once they are released. For those freed from prison or jail, getting out is just the first step. What comes next can be a daunting reentry process fraught with built-in obstacles to employment and family reunification. If criminal justice reforms are to work, experts say, they must be accompanied with policy changes that remove institutional barriers to reentry that stigmatize prisoners once they are released. It’s a large population. Approximately one in three Americans has some sort of a criminal record, according to an extensive report released late last year by the Center for American Progress." (01/26/16)

http://prospect.org/article/after-incarceration-what-next  

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The tragedy of Europe: Location, location, location

January 27, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Apps  

"For years, skeptics warned of multiple threats to the European project. The strains of the single currency, they said, would rip it apart. Excessive regulation was another concern, along with lack of democratic accountability. Some felt Europe’s different peoples were just too different. The reality, of course, has turned out to be much less complex. As real estate brokers say, it’s all about location. Europe is, quite simply, in the wrong place at the wrong time. And the consequences may rip it apart. If the escalating migration crisis of the last year has shown anything, it is that geography really, really matters. The Middle East (or more accurately, a handful of countries within it) is on fire. Many people who live there quite reasonably want to leave. And mainland Europe is the closest, richest and safest place for them to go." (01/25/16)

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2016/01/25/the-tragedy-of-europe-location-location-location  

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New analysis of math & reading scores “very disconcerting”

January 27, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"Decades of bleak results from kids' standardized tests now seem almost routine, but a new study made public Tuesday scratches beneath the surface to pin down just how many students in major U.S. metropolitan areas can actually read or do math proficiently. The results: Startlingly few. If all of Detroit’s fourth-graders took the well-respected National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests, just 120 African-American fourth-graders across the entire city, by researchers’ estimates, would score 'proficient' or above in math." (01/26/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/01/26/cap-math-reading-urban-trial-districts/79346372  

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Liberals aren’t amused by Bernie Sanders anymore; they’re terrified

January 27, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Kevin Gosztola  

"The objective of the week for liberals appears to be to make clear Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is some kind of pariah. Despite how his candidacy has transformed into a phenomenon over the past months, establishment liberals maintain the U.S. senator from Vermont should not be considered a “serious” candidate. They believe it would be a huge mistake if a Democrat with unapologetic socialist leanings won the nomination, especially over Hillary Clinton. But these cases against Sanders are really arguments against citizens voting their conscience. The uncertainty and dismissiveness toward Sanders serves to silence any critics of the corporate-driven politics entrenched in the Democratic Party. It suggests a fear that Democrats might actually stand against corporate power for a change." (01/25/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18798/liberals-election2016-Sanders-Chait-Leftism  

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“Doomsday Clock” standing still amid nuclear tensions

January 26, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The so-called Doomsday Clock will remain set at three-minutes-to-midnight amid global perils such as climate change and nuclear proliferation. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BPA), the group behind the clock, said the standing still is 'not good news.' The minute hand on the Doomsday Clock is a metaphor for how vulnerable the world is to catastrophe. 'It remains the closest it has been over the past 20 years,' said Rachel Bronson, BPA's executive director. In addition to nuclear arms and climate change, the group also cited growing cyber threats and an uptick in terrorist attacks in their decision to keep the clock unchanged." [editor's note: I remember (though not fondly) the days when Helen Caldicott was announcing those clock settings, and "three-minutes-to-midnight" was pretty much the standard - SAT] (01/26/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35412454  

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Is nominating Bernie Sanders a worthwhile gamble?

January 26, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic    

"For the better part of a year, Bernie Sanders enjoyed a polite if slightly bemused welcome from the non-radical quarters of the Democratic firmament. The wing of the party represented by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had been ascendant for most of Barack Obama’s presidency, enlarging the potential constituency for a populist presidential primary challenge to Hillary Clinton. As a grumpy-yet-affable elderly Jewish socialist who wasn’t actually a Democrat, Sanders struck members of the liberal establishment as the least-viable tribune of the party’s insurgent wing." (01/25/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/128239/nominating-bernie-sanders-worthwhile-gamble  

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Iranian president: Boosting Middle East economy is way to beat extremism

January 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Generating economic growth in the Middle East is crucial to defeating extremism, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, putting forward his country as a regional trade hub and pillar of stability. Rouhani is on a four-day trip to Italy and France, looking to rebuild Iranian relations with the West some two weeks after financial sanctions on Tehran were rolled back following the implementation of its nuclear deal with world powers. Italy announced some 17 billion euros ($18.4 billion) of business deals with Iran on Monday. Mega contracts are also in the offing in France, reflecting EU countries' keenness to cash in on the diplomatic thaw with the Islamic Republic. Underscoring the growing warmth, Rouhani said he expected Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to visit Iran in the coming months to help boost bilateral economic alliances." (01/26/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-europe-rouhani-economy-idUSKCN0V411Q  

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CA: State lawmakers move to curb local bans on cannabis cultivation

January 26, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"The California Senate on Monday approved a measure intending to end the rush of cities and counties in a hurry to ban marijuana cultivation, the AP reports. The lawmakers are trying to correct a mistaken deadline set in the state’s long-awaited medical marijuana regulatory policy adopted during last year’s legislative session. Several cities and counties have enacted outright bans on marijuana cultivation in an effort to meet the erroneous March 1 deadline set, which gives the state authority to license growers in municipalities that haven’t drafted their own rules by then." (01/26/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/01/26/california-lawmakers-move-to-curb-local-bans-on-marijuana-cultivation  

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New lawsuit challenges legality of “no excuse” charter schools

January 26, 2016
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"How should public schools and classroom teachers address a student population increasingly traumatized by the effects of chronic poverty? A majority of children attending the nation’s public schools now come from low-income families, according to a study released a year ago by The Southern Education Foundation. And there are more homeless students in American schools than ever before. We’ve long recognized the impact of poverty on the future well-being of children. Students who come to school hungry have more difficulties focusing on schoolwork. Students who grow up without books in the home, or without computers or Internet access at home, are at a severe disadvantage in school. Students who don’t have stable home lives or lack clothing or medical care are more apt to have behavioral problems." (01/26/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160126/a-new-lawsuit-challenges-the-legality-of-no-excuse-charter-schools  

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Forecast of distrust with a chance of revolution

January 26, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"According to a recent Associated Press poll, the public lacks confidence in government. And by 'lacks confidence,' I mean 'really lacks confidence.' Specifically, 'More than 6 in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence (or none at all) that the federal government can make progress on the problems facing the nation in 2016.' And this isn’t just Republicans in a sour mood after seven years of Obama. As the AP noted, 'Perhaps most vexing for the dozen or so candidates vying to succeed President Barack Obama, the poll indicates widespread skepticism about the government's ability to solve problems, with no significant difference in the outlook between Republicans and Democrats.' Well, that’s not just vexing for presidential candidates. It’s a bad sign for the country. But if Americans lack confidence in the federal government, who can blame them?" (01/25/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/01/25/glenn-reynolds-polling-confidence-government-obama-elections-column/79264470  

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WHO: Zika virus set to spread across Americas

January 26, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil, is likely to spread to all countries in the Americas except for Canada and Chile, the World Health Organization said on Monday. Zika transmission has not yet been reported in the continental United States, although a woman who fell ill with the virus in Brazil later gave birth to a brain-damaged baby in Hawaii. Brazil's Health Ministry said in November that Zika was linked to a fetal deformation known as microcephaly, in which infants are born with smaller-than-usual brains. Brazil has reported 3,893 suspected cases of microcephaly, the WHO said last Friday, over 30 times more than in any year since 2010 and equivalent to 1-2 percent of all newborns in the state of Pernambuco, one of the worst-hit areas." (01/25/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-idUSKCN0V30U6  

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What to watch for next in the fight against the TPP

January 26, 2016
posted by

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson  

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will likely be back in the news at least for a brief moment next week, when the treaty comes up for a formal signing ceremony involving representatives of the 12 participating countries, including the United States. The agreement has largely been out of the news since the release of the text in early November. President Obama did mentioned it briefly in his State of the Union address earlier in January. Other than that, there have been no dramatic headlines. Meanwhile, the public and much of Congress remain solidly opposed to the agreement, as have presidential candidates in both political parties. That, hopefully, means the politics do not line up for a vote on the agreement before the 2016 election. But there’s always the risk that Wall Street will find a way to force a vote sooner. So people should continue pressing Congress to oppose the TPP." (01/25/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160125/whats-going-on-with-tpp  

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