As if that wasn’t bad enough, now Apple is lobbying Congress [Win America Campaign] to pay next-to-no taxes when they bring back to the US their over $12 billion in offshore profits. And they’re leading a national lobbying group of global corporations that want the same special treatment for their more than $1.2 trillion in offshore profits.
If Congress passes this “tax holiday,” Apple will avoid over $4 billion in taxes. And global tax dodgers could avoid over $80 billion. Not only is this more than enough to solve every state budget crisis in the country, it’s also unfair to individual taxpayers and domestic businesses that have to pick up the slack for tax deadbeats like Apple
editor: added Win America link
What I love about the Win America site, as a student of rhetoric, is the line, “Currently, there is over $1 trillion earned by American businesses trapped overseas.” Trapped? By whom? Companies that cannot stand to pay any reasonable taxes on the money? A completely bogus statement, a lie. This money is not trapped: companies have decided not to pay their fair share of taxes unless they get to decide the tax rate. These companies benefit from taxpayer-funded infrastructure, indeed, would have no business without that infrastructure. Who else is going to pay for that key part of their business? Plus paying fair taxes ensures all companies can continue to create jobs and wealth. None of these companies would be allowed to stiff their investors yet they’re happy, even eager, to stiff taxpayers who funded (invested) in what makes their business and wealth possible.
Ignoring corporate tax cheats also is part of the “don’t tax rich people (or we can’t tax rich people)” meme. In this case, the amount of tax owed to taxpayers (for court houses, police, and infrastructure needed to enforce their contracts that make their business valid) would solve the state budget crises that is destroying desperately needed living wage jobs. Remember, only poor people dodge taxes. Not wealthy corporations. Certainly not the rich.
Apple has a great reputation for design and being customer friendly. It’s a shame their corporate practices on taxation and labor are so horrid. Really they should have zero business.
Last Sunday was Harvey Milk’s birthday — he’d be 81, just imagine! — and efforts have begun to convince the United States Postal Service to issue a Harvey Milk stamp. Among the first openly gay elected officials in America, Harvey remains a national icon for his statement — still as valid today as when he said it about the kid in middle America who saw no gay or lesbian role models around him or her — “you gotta give them hope!”
Thanks to a remarkable major motion picture and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Harvey’s almost mainstream-acceptable now in a way that would probably startle him. And that brings us to the point of this evening’s post: let’s have a stamp with Harvey Milk on it!
As we approach what would have been Harvey Milk’s 80th birthday on May 22nd, we have a chance to honor his legacy and celebrate his contributions to the LGBT community – and the nation – through a commemorative stamp.
As one of the first openly gay men elected to public office in the United States, and as the first in California, Milk inspired a generation of activists and continues to be a lasting symbol in the fight for full equality. As a 2009 recipient of the Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, Harvey Milk has already been nationally recognized as a pioneer in the fight for civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Just in time for his 80th Birthday, it’s time to honor Harvey Milk with an official US Postal Service stamp. A stamp, which would be sent around the world and collected for generations to come, would demonstrate our national pride in Milk’s accomplishments and the recognition of the LGBT community that he fought for.
Sign on to this letter urging the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee to recommend a stamp in honor of Harvey Milk to the Postmaster General. Sign on before May 22nd, Milk’s 80th birthday!
Petition text inside
A decent cause if you have a few minutes to help raise some hell in Orlando, Florida from your couch. An email from Alan Grayson:
For 46 years, Orlando, Florida has enjoyed public television and radio. And if the Religious Right has its way, that’s over.
Why should we care? Well, Big Bird helped teach my five children how to read. Maybe yours, too. My children have enjoyed Arthur, Dinosaur Train, Bob the Builder, the Magic School Bus, and Teletubbies. And I’ve enjoyed the PBS News Hour, Frontline, the American Experience, and Nova.
If the Religious Right gets what it wants, that will be replaced in Orlando with the hateful spewing of John Hagee. Five days a week.
This is the John Hagee who called Catholicism a “Godless theology of hate.” Who attributed Hitler’s anti-Semitism to Hitler’s Catholic upbringing. Who has referred to the Catholic Church as “the Great Whore.”
This is the John Hagee who claims that all Moslems have a “scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.”
This is the John Hagee who has called Jews “poisoned,” and “spiritually blind.” Who claims that the Holocaust was punishment for Jewish “disobedience” and “rebellion.”
I would rather have my children listening to Big Bird.
Unfortunately, however, the “Daystar Television Network,” a Christian broadcasting outfit, has waived $4 million under the noses of the directors of WMFE. (Due to inflation, what cost 30 pieces of silver in biblical times now goes for $4 million.) And the WMFE directors want to sell – to sell out.
But you can help to stop them, and keep Big Bird on the air in Orlando.
The sale requires FCC approval. The FCC has solicited public comments. Please submit your comment to the FCC, and save public broadcasting in Orlando.
Here’s how: You write your views in a Word document. You fill out the form at this website:
If the Proceeding isn’t already identified, then in the ‘Proceeding Number’ field, type 11-75.
And then you attach the Word document to that form, following the instructions on the screen.
Tell the FCC whom you prefer to see on TV: Big Bird or hate-spewing John Hagee. The deadline for comments is tomorrow (Friday) night. It will take you five or ten minutes. And it will make a big difference.
Everyone always complains about the media. Well, here’s something you can do about it. Let’s keep good TV on TV. Please help.
Another day, another political email, this one from the Progressive Campaign Committee:
The White House announced that in a big speech tomorrow, President Obama will do what no Republican President has been able to do: Put Medicare and Medicaid on the table for potential cuts.
Many former Obama volunteers, donors, and voters are deeply disappointed. A Democratic Congressman said on MSNBC last night that Obama needs to “act like a Democrat.”
and this bit:
Below are some amazing notes from Obama volunteers who worked passionately for the President in 2008.
Many people still want to believe in President Obama. But the White House needs to understand that their actions now will have real consequences for 2012. The level of grassroots enthusiasm will be determined by whether the President fights for bold progressive change — and takes cuts that hurt grandparents, the disabled, and kids firmly off the table.
NOTES FROM ACROSS THE NATION:
Susan Carpenter, Obama volunteer from Ohio:
“Like many volunteers on his campaign, I was in love with the idea of Obama. I haven’t given up on him quite yet, but I’m mustering the energy to work on the resistance. He needs to know who we are.”
John Rotolo, Obama volunteer from Florida:
“I’m almost too heartsick to comment…I’m at a loss.”
Barbara Louise Jean, Obama volunteer from Nevada:
“It’s ludicrous to cut Medicare for seniors when Wall Street created this mess without being held accountable. At 69, I’ll be in financial trouble if Medicare benefits are lowered.”
Joelle Barnes, Obama volunteer from Pennsylvania:
“This is like a knife through my heart! This is a Republican thing!”
Suzanne Fair, Obama volunteer from Maryland:
“I know he has to compromise sometimes, but it seems that he is caving to the Republicans far too often. We elected him for real change and I would like to see him stand strong against the corporate rich.”
Margaret Copi, Obama donor from California:
“I contributed more to Obama’s campaign than I have to anything else in my life, but no more dollars from me and definitely not a moment of volunteer time, unless he makes huge shifts and starts to fight for the peoples’ interest.”
What struck me were the putative voices of Obama supporters, not the Obamabots but real people who supported Obama thinking he would challenge the status quo to some degree. Not cut Medicare and all the other Republican policies he has pushed.
[BTW, I do think Obama "joining the deficit debate" is the endgame Pete Peterson and his kind have been building for and dreaming of for decades. We're about to see the deficit become an official fetish with the ability of the government to create jobs abandoned, much needed social programs cut then gutted. The media is practically salivating all over themselves this week on this issue. You'd almost think the American public backed deficit reduction over creating jobs, punishing Wall Street, and making corporate deadbeats pay their fair share of taxes.]
From a Democracy for America email:
Did you know that the NY Times reports that companies like Halliburton illegally injected over 32 million gallons of diesel fuel underground last year while using the controversial drilling technique known as fracking?
Halliburton and other fracking companies spend millions of dollars every year on fake studies and public relations campaigns to cover up facts like this. But thanks to an amazing new documentary, the truth is starting to come out about fracking.
Josh Fox was working as a filmmaker in Oklahoma when a gas company offered to lease his land to build a natural gas well. Instead of accepting their offer, he traveled the country recording the stories of people who’s lives had been ruined by this dangerous new method of drilling. The result was the Academy Award nominated HBO documentary ‘Gasland’ which has helped spark a movement to regulate hydraulic fracturing.
DFA has teamed up with director Josh Fox to organize Gasland screenings all across the country next Sunday April 17th. Click here to find one near you or host your own.
And then this bit:
Thanks to Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force in 2005, the EPA is prohibited from regulating natural gas drilling under the Clean Water Act. Since then, natural gas drilling has increased exponentially — leaving millions of people at risk for contamination.
The good news is that Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced the FRAC Act which would close the so-called “Halliburton Loophole” and give the EPA the power to regulate these poison toxins and protect America’s drinking water.
DFA members across the country are already gathering signatures in support of the bill both online and offline to deliver early this summer. The oil and gas industry will be fighting us every step of the way to protect their record profits, but the facts are on our side. If we can get the truth about the dangers of fracking then we will win.
FWIW, I could not find the New York Times article mentioned above (maybe someone can find it?). However, while the details might be sketchy, clearing fracking (injecting chemicals into the earth to force out natural gas) has massive potential to pollute and destroy the environment. This looks to be a good way to get educated and to meet like-minded people and activists. If you’re interested, use their screening sign up page.
Many of the discussions here and elsewhere often come to a semantic juncture where the participants bemoan the need to use words to convey their message and/or points.
Let’s try to be proactive, eh?
Have at it.
and if there ever was an evil intertubes idea – It was this one: To take advantage of a group of trusting progressives and lefties – Pretend to be a ‘lefty’ yourself and use their ‘naivity’ and their ‘humanity’ to the utmost huffpost degree!
If this doesn’t call for ‘action’ what does?
And Hey! – Huffposters out there – Why the f… don’t you leave her and pick any other site you want??!
General Electric, America’s largest corporation, made $14,200,000,000 in profits in 2010 and paid $0 in taxes — that’s right, zero dollars in taxes.
At the same time, C.E.O. Jeffrey Immelt saw his compensation double. Now GE is expected to ask 15,000 of their unionized workers to make major concessions in wages and benefits.
Adding insult to injury, Mr. Immelt is chair of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. That’s wrong. Mr. Immelt should not lead the administration’s effort to create jobs.
Join Russ Feingold and sign Progressives United’s petition for Mr. Immelt to resign from his position on President Obama’s jobs panel today.
OK, so we might not be able to stop it, but we can at least make a stink, put some pressure on the collaborators, and get people informed about what’s going on. From Black Agenda Report:
Stop the AT&T – T-Mobile Merger – Petition the Justice Dept, FCC, Congressional & State Black Caucuses (snippets:)
-We demand that the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, be halted, whether by the U.S. Department of Justice on anti-trust grounds, by the Federal Communications Commission on public interest grounds, or by the Congress.
-We fear that allowing AT&T to gobble up T-Mobile will put three-quarters of the U.S. cell phone market in the hands of only two wireless providers, AT&T and Verizon. The inevitable results of such immense concentrations of market power are higher prices, poorer service, artificial scarcity of services, less innovation, predatory price gouging, the end of network neutrality on the wireless internet and the widening of the digital divide. The fate of the wireless internet will be sealed — it will be a closed and corporate plantation, much like cable TV.
-We know that mergers between giant corporations almost always cost jobs, not create them, and lead to fewer choices, worse customer service and higher prices for consumers.
-We understand that the billions AT&T wants to spend on buying up the competition could be better invested on network upgrades, training and new hires, and expanding delivery of wireless and broadband coverage to underserved areas.
-We believe that the wireless broadcast spectrum is ultimately public property, and we know that the internet was originally developed, designed and deployed by public employees before being sold to private interests for pennies on the dollar and heavily subsidized by tax breaks and corporate welfare. Furthermore federal law requires the FCC to regulate the broadcast spectrum to maximize public good, not private profit.
There’s more – Please click over to Black Agenda Report to read the rest and sign the petition. Thank you.
All you have to do is:
You get up in the morning.
You go vote for the ‘right’ party – the ‘right’ people and the ‘right’ politics and then at six o’clock in the evening a ‘Green’ Ministerpresident can be crowned in a State where conservatives ruled for over fifty years.
It’s that easy!
You just got to do it!
‘The axis of reality keeps shifting so we should be like Nietzschean Superwomen – with overly sweet cream in the center, the pastry around us – like something else: All levels evidently ludicrous, to make morality irrelevant and undermine any verdicts about meaning or quality – and buried inside the cake, deep within the creamy soft center some bits of dark deadly poison – like self-referential ridiculously ambitious fatally or flawed ideas as archetypal and interchangeable as chess-board pieces vehemently attacking brain-damaged garbage that exemplifies everything that’s wrong with today’s life and today’s people and at the same time vigorously defending subversive action, that offer a big middle finger to expectations, and anybody and everybody who would rather read the ‘good stuff’ to reinvent a personal, vision of vertiginous thrills taking you through the most commercial, mass-market, attention-disordered end of the spectrum – and then yanking it right back stabbing it through your brain.
What d’yall think?
(and let’s not be sure whether it’s brilliant or idiotic – try to make it both, and not always in different places or at different moments?)
Please consider signing the Color of Change petition to support justice for Mayor Higginbotham.
Trying to reach 50,000 signatures. Some background:
Soon after Bobby Higginbotham took office in tiny Waterproof, LA the new Black mayor began challenging the area’s most powerful White officials — namely Sheriff Rickey Jones and District Attorney James Paxton — by establishing a local police force that would provide better local service, in effect competing with the parish Sheriff. Before Higginbotham took office, the Waterproof police force was anemic. According to former Waterproof Police Chief Miles Jenkins, “[If] You called the Waterproof police for help before, [they] would say, ‘wait ’til tomorrow, it’s too hot to come out today.’” Under Higginbotham and Jenkins, Waterproof’s new police force grew in size and collected its own traffic tickets — siphoning revenue and influence from the Sheriff.
At trial, Higginbotham was essentially forced to represent himself. It also appears that the record of the meeting where the mayor’s raise was approved, which could clear him, is now “missing.” He was convicted by a jury containing five White members to only one Black member — in a parish where Blacks make up nearly 60% of the residents. The judge gave the jury polling slips that had “guilty” pre-selected. Higginbotham was not told of the error until a week after he had been convicted and sent to jail without bond. Higginbotham wants to appeal, but the court reporter failed to keep a trial record during several of the prosecution’s key witnesses.
Mayor Higginbotham has been denied bail at every turn since his conviction — a consequence usually reserved for violent offenders and flight risks — and he’s been sitting in jail for nearly a year awaiting final sentencing.
See full story from Color of Change here.
Austerity-Mania has gripped the entirety of the nation’s political class (read: “rich white people”), and sadly allegedly liberal Maryland is no exception. Despite resisting the Republican Wave of 2010 and handly re-electing a (supposedly) liberal Democrat Governor, Maryland’s proposed 2011 budget is long on cuts in both education and public works, and extremely short of tax increases for the wealthy and corporations.
Fortunately, the resurgence in the labor movement sparked by the action in Wisconsin has also caught on here in Maryland- as many as 15,000 rank and file, leadership and progressive activists took to the streets of Annapolis and demanded that Democrats who ran on their reputation as the party of labor “Keep the Promise” and balance the budget in a way that doesn’t decimate their ranks and the collective future of the state.
Governor O’Malley, always the opportunist, appeared and quickly reminded the collected crowd (some of whom greeted him with jeers) that the Democrats value labor not for their contributions, but for their campaign money and their votes:
“Look we have tough decisions ahead of us,” O’Malley said. “But we are committed to staying at the table, and figuring this out together” with the unions, he said.
Note there were no promises to preserve pensions or find a way to balance the budget without vicious slashing of education funding and public works. While the above link claims that the crowd was disarmed, I was there and I can report that the majority in attendance were not sold. In fact, it was widely reported that union leadership had resolved not to allow politicians to participate and that the Governor’s staff simply “insisted” that O’Malley be allowed to address the crowd.
Regardless, to see a crowd in Annapolis of this size should give progressives hope that despite the platitudes of centrist hucksters like O’Malley and OFA, there is a legitimate and robust progressive movement being born in this nation- one that is not dependent on the Democrats and their agenda of surrender- one that will hopefully turn back the insane tide of austerity and redistribution of wealth to the richest Americans.
Defend the Dream Action
Republicans in Congress are holding the middle class hostage—proposing a federal budget that would would cut 700,000 to 1 million jobs from our communities and slash funding to support preschool and college students, pregnant women, unemployed workers, and much more. This isn’t a budget, it’s a slap in the face to the public workers, services, and institutions making the American Dream possible. We have until the March 18 budget deadline to push Congress in another direction.
So after work on Tuesday, March 15, we’re mobilizing Defend the Dream events in all 50 states at our schools, libraries, fire stations, hospitals, and parks to stand up against Republican attacks. If we can mobilize thousands of people again for a national day of action before the March 18 deadline, we’ll give progressive fighters in Congress a better chance to stave off cuts and pass a budget that invests in the Dream. We’ll show our support for the public workers, services, and institutions making a difference in our lives—but we’ll also make sure that Congress knows we’ll hold them accountable for their vote.
RSVP/Host info here.
PS. A couple anti-austerity videos inside. Read the rest of this entry »
On one hand we are faced with a Corporo-Conservative assault on labor unions using their mercenary GOPper legislators in WI and elsewhere.
On the other, a cultural hegemonic front that systematically excludes Progressive views, analysis, and solutions from the mainstream media, elected office, and the history of our nation.
As Merge Left was taking form from the remains of Open Left one idea that percolated up was for us to use this site to organize members to swarm other web-sites and media outlets in a effort to push their coverage toward the left. To show them that the Right Lane is Closed!
This coming Monday morning from 9 – 11 AM (CST) we have an opportunity to swarm Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) during the Midday call-in program. The site is structured to allow non-members to stream the programs in real time and to submit questions via the website or a toll-free phone line. We can do this.
Read the rest of this entry »