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by Paul Buchheit
We hear a lot about corporations avoiding federal taxes. Less well known is their non-payment of state taxes, which along with local taxes make up 90% of U.S. education funding.
Pay Up Now just completed a review of 2011-12 tax data from the SEC filings of 155 of the largest U.S. corporations. The results show that the total cost of K-12 educational cutbacks in recent years is approximately equal to the amount of state taxes left unpaid by these companies.
Corporations Neglect Their State Tax Responsibilities
Blue Steals Green
Linn Washington Jr.
Drug-related corruption within the Philadelphia Police Department – once again – is the target of federal authorities.
This latest action by federal authorities involves two patrolmen charged with trafficking drugs and robbing suspected drug dealers while on-duty and in full uniform.
A few days before federal authorities announced the early June indictments against those two patrolmen, Philadelphia authorities announced the arrest of a policeman arising from that officer’s scheme to rob drug dealers.
Curiously, this latest federal enforcement action against Philadelphia police tainted by drug corruption did not involve the six officers at the center of a mushrooming scandal that has resulted in Philadelphia city prosecutors refusing to prosecute drug arrests by those officers.
Revealed: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily
Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama
• Read the court order in full here
by Glenn Greenwald
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
by Shannon Biggs and Randy Hayes
What do you love about the U.S. Constitution?
As we grimly mark the 3rd anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Citizens United ruling that opened the corporate-funded floodgates, empowering Billionaires to speak loudest in our elections, it is an important if not overlooked question.
by Richard Schiffman
GOP Congressman Stephen Fincher is on a mission from God. He wants to drastically cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as food stamps, for 47 million of our poorest citizens. He supports a rider on the farm bill that would effectively eliminate 2 million people from the program, most of them children and older people,according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan Washington research group.
The Tea Party caucus member from Tennessee's 8th district justifies taking food out of the mouths of millions of hungry children and their parents by quoting the Book of Thessalonians: "The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." He also quoted, a verse from the 26th chapter of Matthew, which says the "poor will always be with us."
"The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other," the congressman concedes, but quickly adds "not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country."
Since Citizens United, the super rich are using nonprofits to shield their political spending. They need more oversight
by Arn Pearson
The recent IRS admissions about the use of "tea party" or "patriot" labels to flag applications for nonprofit status for additional scrutiny raise serious questions about political bias, and should receive a thorough and independent investigation.
There is rightly a growing call for House and Senate hearings to answer those questions, but any investigations must delve deeper into the bigger problem facing our democracy after the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen United: the dramatic surge in the misuse of nonprofits to hide political spending by billionaires and corporations from American voters, and the lack of any meaningful enforcement response.
Although the IRS must enforce the law impartially, the agency should not abrogate its responsibility to enforce it in the first place. While Common Cause strongly supports an investigation, we are concerned that partisans on both sides will use this tempest to cow the IRS and forestall enforcement of the tax code.
by Will Bunch
Attytood spoiler: That day was May 7, 2012...but first a quick history lesson.
Sigh...I know, I know, I write too much about the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this time it's really important. Because today that is the rallying cry for any presidential scandal, that this one is "worse than Watergate." But the Watergate break-in happened 41 years ago, which means that more than half of all Americans weren't even born yet, so you can't blame a lot of voters if they don't know much about what Watergate and the related scandals of Richard Milhous Nixon were all about.
by Gail Collins
Let's talk about what makes a delinquent state legislature. I know it’s been on your mind.
The newest political trend in New York involves corrupt state legislators attempting to curry favor with federal prosecutors by wearing wires to work. Perhaps there have been worse fads. There was a time, not long ago, when Assembly members could punch in early in the day, leave to play golf and still be recorded as voting “yes” on every single bill that hit the floor.
Officials recently revealed that a 74-year-old senator named Shirley Huntley secretly recorded assorted pols who she invited over for a chat while claiming to be laid up with a broken ankle. She was sentenced to prison for embezzlement anyway, but not before putting an entirely new spin on the concept of visiting the sick.
There was also a state assemblyman who was wired up for virtually his entire two-term career, before resigning recently to pursue a new life as a defendant in a perjury case.
By David Bieninstock
Meanwhile, the big, bad Drug Enforcement Agency burns through roughly $2.5 billion in taxpayer money every year going after kingpins, cartels and the occasional cancer patient caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. By comparison, Congress allocates only around $1.6 billion per year to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for policing Wall Street.
by Greg Mitchell
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the US attack on Iraq on Tuesday we may face more media coverage of that tragic conflict that we’ve seen in the past two or three years combined. How much of it will focus on the media misconduct that helped make the war possible (and then continue for so long)? We will see, and I’ll be charting it all here.