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Robert Reich: A Guide to Why the Trump-Republican Tax Plan Is a Disgrace—for When You Confront Your Republican Uncle Bob During the Holidays

December 17, 2017 in Blogs

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

Shame on Trump and the Republicans who have lied to the pubic about its consequences.


Here are the three main Republican arguments in favor of the Republican tax plan, followed by the truth.

1.It will make American corporations competitive with foreign corporations, which are taxed at a lower rate.

Rubbish.

(1) American corporations now pay an effective rate (after taking deductions and tax credits) that’s just about the same as most foreign based corporations pay.

(2) Most of these other countries also impose a “Value Added Tax” on top of the corporate tax.

(3) When we cut our corporate rate from 35% to 20%, other nations will cut their corporate rates in order to be competitive with us – so we gain nothing anyway.

(4) Most big American corporations who benefit most from the Republican tax plan aren’t even “American.” Over 35 percent of their shareholders are foreign (which means that by cutting corporate taxes we’re giving a big tax cut to those foreign shareholders). 20 percent of their employees are foreign, while many Americans work for foreign-based corporations.

(5) The “competitiveness” of America depends on American workers, not on “American” corporations. But this tax plan will make it harder to finance public investments in education, health, and infrastructure, on which the future competitiveness of American workers depends.

(6) American corporations already have more money than they know what to do with. Their profits are at record levels. They’re using them to buy back their shares of stock, and raise executive pay. That’s what they’ll do with the additional $1 trillion they’ll receive in this tax cut.

2.With the tax cut, big corporations and the rich will invest and create more jobs.

Baloney.

(1) Job creation doesn’t trickle down. After Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush cut taxes on the top, few jobs and little growth resulted. America cut taxes on corporations in 2004 in an attempt to get them to bring their profits home from abroad, and what happened? They didn’t invest. They just bought up more shares of their own stock, and increased executive pay.

(2) Companies expand and create jobs when there’s more demand for their goods …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Pope: Fake News Is a Sin

December 17, 2017 in Blogs

By The Associated Press

Pope Francis calls on journalists to report correct information, not one-sided reports.


 

 Pope Francis has criticised journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalise the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved.

Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news”, told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies.

But he reminded them to provide precise, complete and correct information and not to provide one-sided reports.

The pope said: “You shouldn’t fall into the ‘sins of communication:’ disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalised, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today.”

He called those actions a “grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others”.

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Evangelical Leader Who Criticized Trump Is Swamped with Death Threats from the 'Christian Machine'

December 17, 2017 in Blogs

By Tom Boggioni, Raw Story

They turned on her when she went public with her views.


A popular evangelical speaker with a string of best-selling books and a home renovation show on HGTV revealed that she has been flooded with death threats because she has been critical of President Donald Trump and supported same-sex marriage.

In an interview with Politico, Jen Hatmaker said the “Christian Machine” has turned on her since she went public with her views, with retailing giant LifeWay Christian Stores pulling her books from the shelves and former fans burning them

According to Hatmaker, she was part of the “never Trump” faction of conservatives who were appalled by the rise of Trump during the 2016 campaign, telling her followers he made her “sad and horrified and despondent.” Following the release of the notorious “Access Hollywood” tape, she went after male Evangelical leaders who defended Trump’s actions, tweeting: “We will not forget. Nor will we forget the Christian leaders that betrayed their sisters in Christ for power.”

Adding to her problems was an interview with Religion News Service where she came out and stated that she supports same-sex marriage.

That was the final straw for what she called the “Christian Machine,” saying her children were accosted in the tiny Texas town where she lives, the death threats started pouring in and her fans turned on her.

“The way people spoke about us, it was as if I had never loved Jesus a day in my life,” she said in a recent speech.

Writing on her blog, she stated: “This year I became painfully aware of the machine, the Christian Machine. I saw with clear eyes the systems and alliances and coded language and brand protection that poison the simple, beautiful body of Christ. I saw how it all works, not as an insider where I’ve enjoyed protection and favor for two decades, but from the outside where I was no longer welcome. The burn of mob mentality scorched my heart into ashes, and it is still struggling to function, no matter how darling and funny I ever appear; the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A Teen Sexting Case Revealed How Judges Let Police Invade Children's Privacy

December 17, 2017 in Economics

By Jay Schweikert

Jay Schweikert

Whether the police have the right to force your teenage son to
masturbate in front of them in order to incriminate himself is a
legal question few parents would think they’d have to
consider.

And yet Trey Sims’ legal guardians had to do exactly that.
In an effort to prosecute the 17-year-old for sexting his
15-year-old girlfriend, Manassas police detective David Abbott
obtained a search warrant authorizing him to take
“photographs of [Sims’] genitals,” including
“a photograph of the suspect’s erect penis.”
According to court documents, in the process of
executing the search warrant, Abbott took the teenager to a
juvenile detention center, took him to a locker room and, with two
uniformed, armed officers looking on, ordered Sims to pull down his
pants.

After taking pictures with his cell phone of the
teenager’s genitals, Abbot then ordered the minor to
masturbate so that he could take a picture of his erection. Sims
tried but failed to comply with the officer’s orders; Abbott
later threatened Sims’ lawyer that, if police couldn’t
get a picture of the teenager’s erection by forcing the kid
to masturbate, he would obtain a photo of the teenager’s
engorged genitals by subjecting him to “an erection-producing
injection” at a hospital.

The overcriminalization
of personal behavior and qualified immunity for officers is a
dangerous mix.

The facts of this case are outrageous, but sadly, they’re not
the product of any single bad actor or law. On the contrary, they
reflect a criminal justice system that’s structurally broken at
almost every level. And the only reason that police never obtained
the pictures they demanded under court order from Sims was that
there was a massive public outcry after news reports emerged about the case in 2014,
and the police let the search warrant expire. (Sims, however,
continued to face felony charges for sexting his girlfriend,
eventually living under probation for a year before the courts
dismissed those charges.)

It wasn’t until this month — more than three years after
Sims was taken to that locker room — that a federal appeals
court issued a decision in his favor: By a divided
2-1 vote, the court held that a reasonable police officer should
have known it was unlawful to order a teenage boy to masturbate in
front of him and other officers.

Notably, though, that meant that one judge felt that police
should, indeed, have the right to do force children to masturbate
in front of them in order to incriminate themselves.

First and foremost, the fact that Sims’ initial conduct was
criminalized at all speaks to the staggering breadth of substantive
overcriminalization. The activity for …read more

Source: OP-EDS