You are browsing the archive for 2015 March 04.

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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Bill to Repeal Anti-Privacy Provisions in FATCA

March 4, 2015 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today reintroduced S.663, a bill to repeal certain provisions of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and put an end to a defective bill that does not accomplish its objective of ending tax evasion. Text for bill, S.663, can be found below. ‘FATCA is in complete violation of every Americans’ constitutional right to privacy and adds burdensome regulations that negatively impact our economy. It is a defective law which disregards the mutual respect of sovereignty among nations and drains money from the federal treasury, on top of discouraging overseas investment in the United States. My bill will reverse the negative aspects FATCA has on the economy, prevent the government from bulk collecting U.S. Citizen’s financial data, and preserve the constitutional rights for all Americans,’ Sen. Paul said. TEXT: To repeal the violation of sovereign nations’ laws and privacy matters. SECTION 1. REPEAL OF WITHHOLDING AND REPORTING WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FOREIGN ACCOUNTS. (a) In General- The Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking chapter 4. (b) Conforming Amendments for Rules for Electronically Filed Returns- Section 6011(e)(4) of such Code is amended– (1) by striking ‘(as defined in section 1471(d)(5))’ and inserting ‘(as defined in section 6038D(h)(3))’, and (2) by striking ‘or 1474(a)’. (c) Conforming Amendment Related to Substitute Dividends- Section 871(l) of such Code is amended by striking ‘chapters 3 and 4′ both places it appears and inserting ‘chapter 3′. (d) Other Conforming Amendments- (1) Section 6414 of such Code is amended by striking ‘or 4′. (2) Paragraph (1) of section 6501(b) of such Code is amended by striking ’4,’. (3) Paragraph (2) of section 6501(b) of such Code is amended– (A) by striking ’4,’, and (B) by striking ‘AND WITHOLDING TAXES’ in the heading and inserting ‘TAXES AND TAX IMPOSED BY CHAPTER 3′. (4) Paragraph (3) of section 6513(b) of such Code is amended– (A) by striking ‘or 4′, and (B) by striking ‘or 1474(b)’. (5) Section 6513(c) of such Code is amended by striking ’4,’. (6) …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Seven Things You Should Know about the IRS Rule Challenged in King v. Burwell

March 4, 2015 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon, Jonathan H. Adler

Michael F. Cannon and Jonathan H. Adler

This week, the Supreme Court considers King v. Burwell. At issue is whether the IRS exceeded its authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by issuing a final IRS rule that expanded the application of the Act’s subsidies and mandates beyond the limits imposed by the statute. King v. Burwell is not a constitutional challenge. It challenges an IRS rule as being inconsistent with the Act it purports to implement. The case is a straightforward question of statutory interpretation.

Here are seven things everyone needs to know about how the IRS developed the rule at issue in King v. Burwell. But first, a little background. If you’re familiar with the case, you can skip to number one.

Background

Section 1311 of the Act directs states to establish health-insurance “Exchanges.” Section 1321 directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish Exchanges in states that “fail[]” to establish Exchanges. Confounding expectations, 38 states failed to establish Exchanges, in almost every case due to opposition to the Act.

Section 1401 (creating I.R.C. § 36B) authorizes health-insurance subsidies (nominally, tax credits) “through an Exchange established by the State.” The availability of those subsidies triggers tax penalties under the law’s individual and employer mandates. In January 2014, the IRS began issuing those subsidies and imposing the resulting penalties through not only state-established Exchanges but also Exchanges established by the federal government as well (i.e., HealthCare.gov).

In King v. Burwell, the plaintiffs allege that the IRS exceeded its powers under the Act by issuing a so-called final rule that purports to authorize subsidies in states with Exchanges established by the federal government. The plaintiffs claim that the rule and the subsidies being issued in such states are unlawful, because these federal Exchanges are not “established by the State.” The plaintiffs claim they are injured because those subsidies trigger also-illegal penalties against them under the Act’s individual mandate. (In similar challenges to the same IRS rule, employer-plaintiffs claim injury because those subsidies likewise trigger penalties against them under the Act’s employer mandate.)

The government counters that the phrase “an Exchange established by the State” is “a term of art” that includes Exchanges established by the federal government. At a minimum, the government argues, the Act is ambiguous on the precise question at issue, and the IRS’s interpretation is reasonable.

In King v. Burwell, the government prevailed before both the district court and the Fourth …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Voting Rights Act of 1965 Helps Black Voters Across the Board. Is It Enough?

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet

A new report takes an in-depth look at racial patterns in voting.

African-American voting rights have come a long way since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Yet America still hasn’t rid itself of some of the ugly ways in which it systematically oppresses black people through the ballot box, especially at the local level.

new report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies takes an in-depth look at this enduring discrimination. The report indicates some progress, such as the fact that black voter turnout exceeded that of white voters in four of the past 12 presidential elections since 1965, particularly in 2008 and 2012. The number of black elected politicians has increased from 1,000 to 10,000 over the past 50 years. When Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in August 1965, there were only five black members in the House and Senate combined.

But when LBJ, a Democrat, signed the Act, he also signed away the allegiance of his party’s white voters. White people dominated the Democratic Party 50 years ago; now, according to a Pew Research center poll, 87 percent of Republican voters are white as of 2012. In 1965, around 65 percent of black people voted Democrat; today, that number is 96 percent, according to the report.

At the local electoral level, black voter turnout is especially low. In Ferguson, Mo., 67 percent of the population is African American and 100 percent of its precincts went to President Barack Obama in 2012. Voter turnout was 54 percent. But during the municipal election the following April, residents voted a Republican mayor and six council members into office. All except one were white. Voter turnout was a meager 12 percent.

Nationally, black Americans make up 12.5 percent of the voting age population but hold 5.7 percent of city council seats. Moreover, black people make up just 8.5 percent of state legislatures, 10 percent of the U.S. House and 2 percent of the U.S. Senate.

Khalilah Brown-Dean, co-author of the study and associate professor of political …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'It’s the Blackness That Scares Everybody': Why White People Favor 'African Americans'

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Brittney Cooper, Salon

White people have a far more negative view of the term 'black' than they do of the term 'African American.'

A new study from professor Erika Hall of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School suggests that white people have a far more negative view of the term “black” than they do of the term “African American.” For instance, study participants routinely concluded that a person had a higher level of education and job status, if that person was referred to as African American rather than Black.  

“Only 38.46% of participants in the Black racial label estimated that the target was in a managerial position, while 73% of the targets in the African-American racial label condition estimated that the target was in a managerial position.” When the study controlled for the alternate use of “white” versus “Caucasian,” there was no significant perception of difference. Study participants also concluded that targets identified as “African American” were perceived to have a higher socioeconomic status, to generally be more competent, and to have a “warmer” personality.

“Black” was the first racial label I learned, perhaps because my mother was a child of the 1970s. I was never taught to refer to myself as African American, and must have intuited that this was the “proper” way to refer to myself after checking boxes on a school form.

In one of our many on-the-playground-at-recess conversations, my white childhood best friend told me that her mother taught her to refer to black people as “African American,” and white people as “Caucasian American.” One of my mother’s old boyfriends always referred to white people as “Caucasians,” and the term never caught on for me. Since I didn’t particularly like him, his use of the term always struck me as him trying too hard to “talk proper.”

To this day, if I’m not being really deliberate, or really formal, I refer to myself and other African Americans as “Black.” Blackness rolls off the tongue in just that certain way when I say it loud and proud. I sometimes notice white eyebrows raising when I dare to say the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Women's Bodies Can't Perform Magic (Someone Please Tell Republicans)

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Jessica Valenti, The Guardian

The GOP still knows nothing about female anatomy.

Do Republican men think women are mythical creatures, like unicorns or fairies? It’s the only explanation I can come up with to make sense of the party’s continued insistence that women’s bodies can perform feats of absolute magic.

On Monday, during testimony on a state bill that would ban doctors from using telemedicine to prescribe abortion pills, Idaho Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri asked a testifying physician if pregnant women could swallow small cameras so that doctors could “determine what the situation is.”

Dr. Julie Madsen—who must have been suppressing the eyeroll of a lifetime—responded it couldn’t be done because, “when you swallow a pill it would not end up in the vagina.”

Barbieri now says the question was a rhetorical one (that’s the ticket!) but his gaffe reminds us how little Republicans understand about women’s bodies. Though, again, I’m honored they think we hold such awesome abilities. After all, who could forget then-Rep Todd Akin’s assertion that women who were “legitimately” raped would not get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Like a superpower! Or Rush Limbaugh’s belief that women’s bodies are so all-powerful we actually require a birth control pill every time we have sex to keep from getting pregnant. But it doesn’t stop there.

Conservatives apparently think that women are so magical as to almost be immortal; you see, they don’t believe that abortions are ever necessary to save a woman’s life or protect her health. They’re so sure of this they’re willing to bet our lives on it. It was just four years ago that House Republicans proposed a bill that would have made it legal for hospitals todeny life-saving abortions to women who needed them and even deny them transfer to another hospital willing to perform the procedure. Maybe they just …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Atheist Group Blasts ‘Absurd’ Decision to Censor Its Easter Billboards

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By David Ferguson, Raw Story

A representative from American Atheists called the decision 'discriminatory.'

The group American Atheists addressed the controversy surrounding its billboards in Nashville, Tennessee by pointing out that it’s hypocritical of the company to censor the group’s advertising when Christian groups routinely promote antigay, pro-religion messages in their own publicity materials.

In an interview with Raw Story, American Atheists’ Danielle Muscato said, “This is just absurd. It’s just because we’re atheists. It’s discriminatory.”

American Atheists will be hosting a national convention in Memphis, Tennessee from April 2 to 5, and has purchased billboards in Nashville and Memphis to advertise that fact. Its original billboards, which were intended to go up on Monday, showed a little girl in a pair of bunny ears accompanied by text that said, “An atheist convention on Easter Weekend? Looks like we’re skipping church again!”

Outfront Media, the company handling the billboard campaign, cleared the billboard design for the Memphis market, but said that for Nashville, the message was too aggressive against Christians, and that the words “Easter” and “church” should be removed from the design.

Eventually, the company and American Atheists were able to agree on writing, “Hop on over to Memphis for the biggest gathering of atheists in the country!”

“This is just ridiculous,” Muscato said. “Those are common words that are all over various billboards promoting not just church services, but lots of things. Those are not offensive words by any stretch. They’re not obscene.”

Nonetheless, Outfront rejected the design as being “offensive or aggressive toward other groups,” Muscato explained.

“There are billboards all over the mid-South, all over the South that are explicitly anti-atheist,” she said. “But when you look at some of the billboards that are up, even in Nashville. I found one in Nashville that is explicitly antigay. It quotes Leviticus 18:22. It calls having sex 'an abomination.’”

“This is explicitly calling the acts of gay people ‘an abomination,’” Muscato said. “And if that’s not offensive or aggressive toward another group, I don’t know what is.”

“There’s nothing wrong with simply stating the fact that our convention falls on what is commonly known as …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Joins Fox and Friends- March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Joins Fox and Friends- March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Russell Brand Explains the Real Reason Westerners Join ISIS: Alienation

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Isolation is the culprit, not Islam.

The spectacle of Westerners leaving their homes to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS has captured media headlines, with CNN even suggesting that ISIS is using “kittens, Nutella” to lure female fighters.

Some have blamed Islam itself for encouraging what they view as holy war in defense of the faith. But British comic and activist Russell Brand offers a different take on the phenomena. Noting that at least half of those from Britain and France who have gone to join ISIS come from non-Muslim backgrounds, he suggests that alienation, not Islam, is the culprit driving young people toward the group. “The fuel for this phenomenon—apathy, alienation, isolation—is felt by a lot more people,” Brand concludes.

Watch him explain below:

 

Related Stories

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Source: ALTERNET

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Russell Brand Explains the Real Reason Westerners Join ISIS: Alienation

March 4, 2015 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Isolation is the culprit, not Islam.

The spectacle of Westerners leaving their homes to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS has captured media headlines, with CNN even suggesting that ISIS is using “kittens, Nutella” to lure female fighters.

Some have blamed Islam itself for encouraging what they view as holy war in defense of the faith. But British comic and activist Russell Brand offers a different take on the phenomena. Noting that at least half of those from Britain and France who have gone to join ISIS come from non-Muslim backgrounds, he suggests that alienation, not Islam, is the culprit driving young people toward the group. “The fuel for this phenomenon—apathy, alienation, isolation—is felt by a lot more people,” Brand concludes.

Watch him explain below:

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET