Showing posts from June 11, 2014

Seven Key Takeaways From Joseph E. Stiglitz’s Tax Plan for Growth and Equality

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[The "Stiglitz Plan" for US tax reform. *RON*]
Moyers & Company, May 30, 2014
Taxes pay for roads, schools, firefighters, Coast Guard rescues and a thousand other goods and services we need for our society to function.

But taxes also shape our incentives. We tax things that we deem to be harmful — like tobacco and alcohol — and hand out tax breaks to encourage things we find beneficial, like research.

According to a new white paper by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, our labyrinthine tax system is skewing those incentives. We’re encouraging corporations to invest in creating jobs overseas, when unemployment remains doggedly high here at home. We’re giving US-based multinationals good reason to deprive our treasury of revenues when we should be investing in infrastructure and the American people.

The report, prepared for the Roosevelt Institute, offers seven concrete proposals for reforming our corporate tax system so i…

CIA No Evil: The Obama administration covers for Bush-era secrets.

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[Risen did nothing harmful and was simply exercising his First Amendment rights, but he committed the worst possible crime - embarrasing the CIA. *RON*]

By Leonard C. Goodman, In These Times, 11 June 2014

Obama’s DOJ is forcing Risen to choose between risking jail and testifying against his alleged source, Jeffrey Sterling, whom the government is prosecuting under the draconian 1917 Espionage Act, which makes it a potential capital offense to give national defense information to the enemy.

Why is President Obama’s Justice Department threatening a Pulitzer Prize-wining New York Times reporter with jail over a story that embarrassed the CIA during the George W. Bush administration?

James Risen is one of the few mainstream journalists willing to take on the CIA. In 2004 and 2005, he exposed scandals involving waterboarding and spying on Americans. The current controversy concerns Chapter 9 of his 2006 book, State of War: The Secret History of the C…

Harper government decides to just spy on all the protests

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[The surveillance state continues to grow in totalitarian Canada. *RON*]
By Brent Patterson,, June 9, 2014

The Council of Canadians denounces the Harper government's order to monitor all political demonstrations across the country. Rather than this "Big Brother" surveillance and criminalization of social justice activism, we implore the government to hear and respond to the concerns being expressed including the protection of water against fracking, Indigenous rights, and the threat posed by the government's reckless pursuit of oil and gas extraction that defies scientific evidence about its impact on climate change.

The Ottawa Citizen reports, "The federal government is expanding its surveillance of public activities to include all known demonstrations across the country, a move that collects information even on the most mundane of protests by Canadians. The email requesting such information was sent out Tuesday by…

Too Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

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[After the banks, the surveillance state. "...we should have known it was coming: An intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so." *RON*]

By Patrick C. Toomey, ACLU, 10 June 2014

In an era of too-big-to-fail banks, we should have known it was coming: An intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so.

In a remarkable legal filing on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying operations are too massive and technically complex to comply with an order to preserve evidence. The NSA, in other words, now says that it cannot comply with the rules that apply to any other party before a court — the very rules that ensure legal accountability — because it is too big.

The filing came in a long-running lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenging the NSA's warrantless collection of Americans' private data. Recently, the plaintiffs in that case have fought to …

It’s Not Just George Soros Anymore: What does it mean when the capitalist vanguard starts talking about inequality?

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["The spectacle of plutocrats eating porcini risotto in a Georgian mansion and bemoaning the excesses of capitalism cries out for Tom Wolfe." Coming right after the spectacle of Lloyd Blankfein warning of the dire consequences of inequality, this is starting to look like a popularity contest. Is this enlightened self-protection or simply a form of lèse-majesté? *RON*]

By Chrystia Freeland, Politico Magazine, June 08, 2014

Earlier this year, the most reliable way for a billionaire to make the headlines was to compare suggested tax increases to Nazi Germany. Lately, though, the more interesting shift in the politics of the plutocracy has been more genteel.

There will be more Hitler analogies, of course, but another camp among the superrich is starting to tack in the opposite direction. Some plutocrats accept the evidence that capitalism is no longer working for the middle class, and are trying to figure out what to do about that.

It is n…