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jcitybone

Just “simply using the legal tax breaks that they lobbied Congress to give them.”

https://www.salon.com/2020/01/03/under-trumps-tax-bill-employees-pay-higher-rates-than-biggest-corporations-in-the-world-study/

Workers at some of the biggest corporations in the world are paying higher tax rates than their employers, according to a new study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The Republican-passed tax cuts signed by President Trump in 2017 permanently lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent but many companies are paying nowhere near that figure. The study identified 379 Fortune 500 companies that turned a profit in 2019 and found that the companies paid an average tax rate of 11.3 percent.

At least 91 of the profitable Fortune 500 companies paid no taxes or had a negative tax rate, including giants like Amazon, Starbucks, Netflix and General Motors. Another 56 companies paid an effective tax rate of 2.2 percent. Just 57 of the companies the study looked at paid effective tax rates of 21 percent or higher.

Under the previous tax code, the same companies paid an effective tax rate of 21 percent between 2008 and 2015, according to the report.

“This is by design,” the report said. “When drafting the tax law, lawmakers could have eliminated special breaks and loopholes in the corporate tax to offset the cost of reducing the statutory rate. Instead, the new law introduced many new breaks and loopholes, though it eliminated some old ones.”

Matthew Gardner, a senior fellow at the institute who co-authored the report, told the Public News Service that there is nothing illegal about what the companies are doing.

“There is no implication that any of this is illegal. By all accounts, these companies are simply using the legal tax breaks that they lobbied Congress to give them,” he said.

But Gardner noted that worker wages have remained stagnant and said the report was “disturbing” for middle-class workers who now pay higher tax rates than the biggest corporations.

“There is a problem of democratic distrust right now,” he said. “People do not trust their government, they don’t trust elected officials. And it’s precisely this sort of finding that reinforces that distrust.”

jcitybone

https://fair.org/home/trump-order-aimed-at-palestine-solidarity-not-antisemitism/

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last month to deny funding to post-secondary schools that violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against Jewish people. The order notes that such bigotry is rooted in antisemitism, and says that it will determine whether discrimination has occurred by using the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The IHRA defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” There’s nothing objectionable in that definition and, in a period of terrifying and at times murderously violent attacks on Jewish people, it is absolutely necessary to fight antisemitism.

The problem with the executive order is that it says the IHRA’s “contemporary examples of antisemitism” could “be useful as evidence of discriminatory intent” in Title VI cases. While most of what the IHRA points to indisputably are instance of antisemitism, they also include “claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor” and “applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

For all of these reasons, there is ample reason to doubt the administration’s claims that the executive order is a good-faith effort at combating antisemitism—even putting aside the context that this is a president who declared that the marchers chanting “Jews will not replace us!” in Charlottesville included “very fine people,” and who invited a pastor who proclaims “you can’t be saved being a Jew” to the White House Hanukkah party. News media outlets, however, are providing cover for Trump’s conflation of pro-Palestine campus activism and antisemitism.

By acting as loudspeakers for the Trump administration’s assertion that support for anti-colonial liberation is antisemitism—and by wrongly suggesting that there is a link between being Jewish and supporting a state implicated in a litany of human rights abuses, including the torture of children—corporate media are both doing a disservice to Palestinians living under Israeli apartheid and a favor to antisemites.

jcitybone

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/04/iraq-iran-tensions-protests-condemn-u-s-actions-middle-east/2807176001/

More than 40 demonstrations were planned across the U.S. Saturday to protest the Trump administration’s killing of a top Iranian general and decision to send about 3,000 more soldiers to the Middle East.

The protests are being spearheaded by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a U.S.-based anti-war coalition, in conjunction with more than a dozen organizations. Demonstrations were expected to protest outside the White House, in New York City’s Times Square and more.

Another international protest is expected at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.

“The targeted assassination and murder of a central leader of Iran is designed to initiate a new war. Unless the people of the United States rise up and stop it, this war will engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences,” the organization said on its website.

Benny

This is TYT from last night, discussing the different responses from the 2020 Dem Primary candidate front runners. It’s 10 min long but worth watching.

jcitybone

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/04/if-you-are-wondering-who-benefits-weapons-makers-see-stocks-surge-trump-moves-closer?cd-origin=rss

Almost immediately after the United States assassinated Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike Thursday night, major American weapons manufacturers and defense contractors—from Northrop Grumman to Lockheed Martin to Raytheon—saw their stocks surge as investors sensed the growing likelihood of another costly and deadly war in the Middle East.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Even as the broader Standard and Poor’s 500 index lost ground, the S&P Aerospace & Defense Select Industry index climbed 1.8% on Friday.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) unveiled legislation to stop Pentagon funding for U.S. military action against Iran, tweeted late Friday that “if you are wondering who benefits from endless wars, take a look at how stocks for weapons manufacturers began to rise as soon as Soleimani was killed.”

“Defense contractors spent $84 million lobbying Congress last year,” Khanna noted, “and it certainly wasn’t to promote diplomacy and restraint.”

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