Most people assume that states use their state income taxes to fund school systems, pave roads, fund state parks, pay for prisons or even provide low income housing. After all, when you pay taxes you expect the state to you expect them to provide a public service. However the truth is a little more insidious.
Per The Christian Science Monitor, “an ever increasing amount of those tax dollars aren’t funding services; they aren’t even getting to the state capital. Sixteen states now allow corporations to withhold state income taxes from employees and keep the money as an incentive to locate to or remain in a state. That means that, in effect, employees pay personal income tax to their company rather than their state government. (The 16 states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Utah.)
“A recent report from Good Jobs First entitled, “Paying Taxes to the Boss,” sheds light on how widespread this practice has grown. An estimated 2,700 companies now take advantage of this welfare system, fueling an economic war between states that costs employees an estimated $700 million a year in diverted tax income, the report concludes. Those who profit include corporate giants like Sears, Goldman Sachs, and General Electric.
“Illinois offers a special tax incentive that can divert up to 100 percent of withheld taxes into subsidies to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Illinois when the companies are actively considering a competing location in another state.
“New Jersey’s Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP) is among the most costly of these programs, with new grants totaling more than $73 million. Ohio and Kentucky top the list of states for the number of companies they subsidize through employee personal income tax withholding.
“The practice has been around for more than a decade, and it’s continuing steadily – with six of the 22 programs identified nationwide enacted since 2009 – according to Good Jobs First, a policy resource center that focuses on economic development and “smart growth.”
“Most corporate tax incentives are simply bad policy, representing an attempt at social engineering our already patchwork tax code. For one thing, businesses don’t make investment decisions based solely on state tax burdens. For another, tax loopholes enable the savviest companies to live tax-free.
“Since money is fungible, some claim it doesn’t matter whether this corporate welfare comes from corporate taxes or personal income taxes. The states are out $700 million in either case. But it does and should matter.
“The personal income tax is a covenant between the citizen and the state. For the executives and shareholders to retain those tax dollars violates that covenant. Employee-funded corporate tax incentives reduce the amount of tax dollars available for vital social services like schools and law enforcement.”
This type of action amounts to fraud, and unfair highly destructive business practices, employees assume that they are paying for a state service, but instead watch as state budgets get smaller and they get less service, then TV tell them it’s because of Welfare, however they fail to mention that they companies they buy their goods at everyday are the ones on Welfare robbing the state blind.
Secondly it gives these large companies who already have huge advantage an unbeatable one. They can use the money given to them by the state to drop their prices below any local small business and drive them out of business. Then once the competition is gone they can raise their prices and reap in huge profits, which go right into the hands of the CEO and stock holders.
These states are damaging their own economies and will bring about their own ruin if this practice is not ceased.
The Corporation is today’s dominant institution, creating great wealth but also great harm. This 26 award-winning documentary examines the nature, evolution, impacts and future of the modern business corporation and the increasing role it plays in society and our everyday lives.
This documentary exposes the sordid past, lies and murder committed by the Monsanto corporation. It makes one wonder why this corporation was not dissolved 30 years ago and its board of directors arrested.
Monsanto have an impressive history of committing corporate crimes. Recent Monsanto crimes include:
BST or rBGH marketed by Monsanto as Posilac is a genetically engineered hormone designed to make cows produce more milk. Large amounts of research indicate that BST use has serious implications for the health and welfare of dairy cattle, including making cows more prone to mastitis and sores.
Because of evidence that BST milk may cause breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer in humans, it is banned in Europe. Monsanto is trying to overturn the ban.
Contaminating our food with GM crops
As the market leaders in GM crops it is Monsanto who have been largely responsible for contaminating the global food chain with GM crops. The long term health effects of eating GM crops are as yet unknown.
Contaminating our environment with GM crops
The long term effects of Monsanto’s GM crops on the environment are as yet unknown. In areas where RoundUp Ready crops are being grown commercially, herbicide tolerance is being spread to neighbouring crops and wild plants by cross pollination. Rather than reducing the amount of chemicals used in farming RoundUp Ready crops are locking farmers into a chemical dependant farming system.
Several scientific studies have suggested that the Bt technology utilised by Monsanto in their Bollgard, YieldGard and NewLeaf insect resistant crops may kill ‘non-pest’ insects such as the Monarch butterfly.
Having encountered increasing opposition to GM technology in the developed global north, Monsanto have put more energy into pushing their products in the developing global south. An example of this being the attempt by Monsanto/Mahyco to rush their Bt insect resistant cotton through the Indian government’s regulatory process and on to the market. The decision on allowing commercial growing of Bt cotton was postponed for a year in the face massive opposition from Indian farmers and NGOs all over the world.
Monsanto holds a patent for ‘terminator’ technology. Terminator technology involves the genetically engineering of plants to produce sterile seeds thus forcing farmers to buy new seed every year, rather than saving their own seed from year to year. Monsanto has said it will not use this technology but still holds the patents and may use it in future.
Corporate Bully Boys
Monsanto don’t like the thought of anyone publicly disagreeing with them or worse still pulling a fast one on them. Where their GM crops are being grown commercially Monsanto have paid a small army of private investigators to check whether farmers are growing their GM crops without permission. Monsanto have successfully sued a Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser for supposedly planting GM oil seed rape without a license agreement. Percy claims that he has never planted GM crops on his land and that any GM crops on his land are a result of cross pollination from GM crops grown on neighbouring farms. He is launching a counter suit against Monsanto.
In 1997 2 TV journalists Steve Wilson and Jane Akre who had been making a documentary on the dangers of Monsanto’s BST were fired by their employers Fox TV. Fox TV had come under pressure from Monsanto to change the content of the documentary, when Wilson and Akre refused to be muzzled they were sacked.
In 1998 Monsanto took out a wide ranging SLAPP (Stategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) against activists from Genetix Snowball. At the time Genetix Snowball were engaged in a campaign of accountable, non-violent direct action against GM crops. The injunction was designed to intimidate members of the public into not taking direct action against Monsanto’s UK GM field trials.
In 1998 the environmental journal the Ecologist was due to publish a special edition attacking Monsanto. However, the Ecologist’s printers – Penwells of Saltash, Cornwall, destroyed the 14,000 print run without notice fearing liable action from Monsanto.
Climate Change Co-option
Monsanto have seen the potential for new markets for their GM products within the mechanisms of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Since 1998 Monsanto has been one of the principle corporations attempting to hijack the UN climate change negotiations for its own ends. Monsanto claims that its products offer high tech solutions in the battle to reduce CO2 emissions. Monsanto hopes to gain carbon credits in two ways.
1. Monsanto claims that wide spread use of RoundUp Ready crops will reduce the need for ploughing thus keeping large quantities of CO2 locked in the soil.
2. Monsanto hopes to be a major provider of GM trees for forestry ‘carbon sinks’ (large areas of forests planted to soak up CO2 emissions). Monsanto are close to commercialising RoundUp Ready trees and are rumoured to be developing carbon absorbing trees and plants.
The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary is critical of the modern-day corporation, considering its legal status as a class of person and evaluating its behavior towards society and the world at large against traits exhibited by a psychotic person. This is explored through specific examples. The Corporation has been shown worldwide, on television, and via DVD, file sharing, and free download (by angel). Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.
A researcher just discovered a hidden application that records what millions of people write, view and search for on their cellphones. It sends all of that data to a company no one’s ever heard of. And we have no idea what that company is doing with our information.1
Sounds like 1984. But it’s happening in 2011.
This week, Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Ed Markey demanded answers from the company, Carrier IQ, and Franken called its technology “deeply troubling.” We now need a full investigation.2
Carrier IQ has worked with cellphone manufacturers and carriers to install its spying software on 141 million phones,3 including Androids and iPhones and possibly models made by BlackBerry, Nokia and other manufacturers.4
Trevor Eckhart exposed the privacy breach in a shocking video that shows how Carrier IQ secretly records actions that you take on your phone — numbers that you dial, letters that you press when texting or searching the Web, menu buttons that you push — and sends it all back to Carrier IQ headquarters.
There’s no way to turn any of this off without hacking your phone. And carriers neglected to inform the public that this software exists in the first place.
The fact that one company is secretly storing away the data of millions of cellphone users — without our knowledge, and with no way for us to opt out — is just incredible. You’d expect this sort of thing from the Chinese government — not from a company operating in the present-day U.S.
This is not only a privacy problem. It’s a democracy problem.
Cellphones have become the ultimate democracy devices. Activists from Cairo to New York City to Los Angeles have used their phones to broadcast images of pepper-spraying cops, handcuffed journalists and squares full of protesters. We must ensure that the most important movements of our time aren’t compromised by data spies with little regard for our free speech or privacy.
Law professor and former Department of Justice attorney Paul Ohm says that Carrier IQ’s snoopware “is very likely a federal wiretap,” which means that the company could be prosecuted for breaking federal law.5
“Consumers need to know that their safety and privacy are being protected by the companies they trust with their sensitive information,” Sen. Franken said. “ … Carrier IQ has a lot of questions to answer.”
We agree. Let’s get some answers.
1. David Kravets, “Researcher’s Video Shows Secret Software on Millions of Phones Logging Everything,” Wired, Nov. 29, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7555?akid=3106.9860530.W7Jucd&t=13
2. “Sen. Franken Demands Answers from Company Accused of Secretly Logging Location and Private Information of Millions of Smartphone Users,” Dec. 1, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7565?akid=3106.9860530.W7Jucd&t=15
3. Carrier IQ Wesite: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7592?akid=3106.9860530.W7Jucd&t=17
4. Sean Hollister, “Carrier IQ Tracking on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and More: The Story So Far,” the Verge, Nov. 30, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7593?akid=3106.9860530.W7Jucd&t=19
5. Andy Greenberg, “Phone ‘Rootkit’ Maker Carrier IQ May Have Violated Wiretap Law In Millions Of Cases,” Forbes, Nov. 30, 2011: http://act2.freepress.net/go/7567?akid=3106.9860530.W7Jucd&t=21
Abraham Lincoln saw our current crisis approaching from 1864. It’s time we all learned our history, so we can predict the future.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong it’s reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
— U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)
Mortgage CEO Gets 40-Month Sentence for $3 Billion Fraud, Homeless Man Gets 15 Years for Taking $100
This image illustrates how our country treats the rich-and-corrupt compared to the poor-and-honest — the 1% compared to the 99%. We live in a country where white collar criminals convicted of multi-billion-dollar fraud schemes get less than Three and a half years in prison, while a homeless men who takes a hundred bucks (and feels bad about it) is imprisoned for 15 years. The stories aren’t new (the first is from June and the second from 2009), but it hardly matters; you could sub in any of the numerous stories of white collar criminals getting away with enormous crimes, and of poor people being targeted because of their class, and you’d get a similar result. It’s as if there is one low for them and another for us.
For those who think saying you have a gun and robbing someone is worse than secretly stealing 3 billion, here are the results of the CEOs actions:
Allen was chief executive at Ocala, Fla.-based Taylor Bean & Whitaker, which collapsed in 2009 after the criminal investigation became public, resulting in its 2,000 employees losing their jobs. The fraud also contributed to the collapse of Alabama-based Colonial Bank – the sixth largest bank failure in U.S. history – after Colonial bought hundreds of millions of dollars in Taylor Bean mortgages that had already been sold to other investors.
Two other banks – Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas – lost nearly $2 billion after buying corporate paper from Taylor Bean that was not properly backed with collateral, authorities said.
Taylor Bean and Colonial also tried to obtain more than $500 million from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program but ultimately never received any funding from the program also known as TARP.
Now I think the number of jobs lost, and subsequent houses lost, broken marriages and other banks and businesses destroyed is far worse than any bank robbery.
If anyone you know still doesn’t understand what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry about, please point him to this
The Statement Released By The Wall Street Protesters
The Official Declaration of the Occupation of Wall Street read by Keith Olbermann October fifth, 2011, Transcript
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.
We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.
We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
To many in both business and government, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power is truly moved into the hands of the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis tells the untold and controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How is the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interest?
The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund’s devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund’s great grandson, Matthew Freud. Sigmund Freud’s work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society’s belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man’s ultimate goal.
The Century Of The Self Part 1-Happiness Machines:
Part one documents the story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays who invented ‘Public Relations’ in the 1920s, being the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.
The Century Of The Self Part 2-The Engineering of Consent:
Part two explores how those in power in post-war America used Freud’s ideas about the unconscious mind to try and control the masses. Politicians and planners came to believe Freud’s underlying premise that deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had led to the barbarism of Nazi Germany, and in response to this, they set out to find ways to control the masses so as to manage the ‘hidden enemy’ within the human mind.
The Century Of The Self Part 3-There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads, He Must Be Destroyed:
In the 1960s, a radical group of psychotherapists challenged the influence of Freudian ideas, which lead to the creation of a new political movement that sought to create ‘new people’, free of the psychological conformity that had been implanted in people’s minds by business and politics. This episode shows how this idea rapidly developed in America through “self-help movements”, into the irresistible rise of the expressive self: the Me Generation.
The Century Of The Self Part 4-Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering:
This episode explains how politicians turned to the same techniques used by business in order to read and manipulate the inner desires of the masses. Both New Labor with Tony Blair and the Democrats led by Bill Clinton, used the focus group which had been invented by psychoanalysts in order to regain power. Both set out to mold their policies to manipulate people’s innermost desires and feelings, just as capitalism had learned to do with products.