Archive | Corporate Skeptics

Greatest trick of the rich? Making us believe they pay all the taxes

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liz west (CC BY 2.0)

 

Dylan Matthews via Vox:

Typically when politicians fight about taxes, they fight about the income tax. That is to say, they fight about the tax that rich people hate — not the taxes poor people hate.

This leads to a really perverse dynamic, wherein the taxes the privileged pay are worthy of attention and the ones the poor pay are ignored. It paints a picture where the government is being supported on the backs of the wealthy, and the poor and middle class are free-riding. It leads to plans for various kinds of tax cuts and tax reforms that matter massively for the rich and very little for the poor.

The issue here is the ceaseless focus on the federal income tax. A report from the Joint Committee on Taxation found that most Americans (65.4 percent of filers) pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes.

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3 Reasons To Go Against The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

This article was originally published on HoneyColony.

 Against The Flow

Frankly, I am tired of people raving about how wonderful the Flow Hive invention is and posting it on my Facebook wall every other day. The viral-ity of this fundraising campaign has been astounding. During my travels in Central America, I even had a Belgium restaurant owner in Nicaragua ask me whether I’d heard about it.

“I love honey. This is amazing,” you read over and over again in the comments from people worldwide who have no clue about beekeeping. The gadget allows you to harvest honey without opening the hive, and Australian inventors Stuart and son Ceder Anderson promise that there is “no mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment, and [that] the bees are hardly even disturbed.”

But just because no disturbance is seemingly occurring to the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not happening. How arrogant humans can be.

The Flow Hive has already raised upwards of $10 million and counting.… Read the rest

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The Persistence of the Office

Google's campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Google’s campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Susie Cagle Via Pacific Standard:

Google is growing. The company recently unveiled plans for expanded headquarters it hopes to build in Mountain View, California: a “sprawling sci-fi campus” that is “unlike anything built before it.” The structure looks aggressively inspired, bordering on nonsensical. There are glass canopies and cars that look like bananas.

In a way, though, the most exceptional thing about Google’s offices is that they exist at all. Google and other tech companies build and maintain massive campuses, while other companies are expanding their telework ranks—and using the products of tech companies to do it.

The industry that makes it possible for other companies to employ teleworkers is putting massive resources into developing and maintaining its own office culture.

Telework is growing every year. It’s what many predicted as the work of the future—nimble and flexible production unconstrained by time or place.

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Middle schoolers: Uncle Sam wants you

August Say, 12, holds out his arm to determine where he should stand in class in the new Dragon Leadership Corps at his middle school in Bowling Green, Ohio.

August Say, 12, holds out his arm to determine where he should stand in class in the new Dragon Leadership Corps at his middle school in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Seth Kershner via In These Times:

Last year, Henry F. Moss Middle School in Bowling Green, Ohio, offered students a brand new course. And, as a headline in the local newspaper proclaimed, this was “not your traditional class.” For starters, the teacher—an army sergeant—had told the Bowling Green Daily News that one of his goals was to expose these seventh- and eighth-graders to “military values” that they could use as “building blocks” in life. To that end, students in the class earn military style ranks, engage in army-style “PT” (physical training) and each Wednesday, wear camouflage pants and boots.

This is the Moss Middle School Leadership Corps, part of the growing trend of military-style education for pre-adolescents.

Middle school military programs are younger cousins of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), a Pentagon program taught by retired military officers and present in more than 3,500 high schools nationwide.

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Robots vs. the Underclass

Justin Morgan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Justin Morgan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via John Judis at National Journal:

Ever since General Electric installed the first industrial robot in 1961, Americans have been worrying that automation could destroy the country’s labor force. During the Great Recession and its aftermath, these voices grew even louder. “We’re not going to have a jobless recovery,” business writer Jeff Jarvis predicted in 2011. “We’re going to have a jobless future.” “Smart machines won’t kill us all, but they’ll definitely take our jobs and sooner than you think,” Mother Jones warned in 2013.

But which jobs, exactly, are going to disappear? To hear many pundits tell it, the advance of technology is specifically threatening the middle ranks of the workforce. Automation, warned The Economist last October, will lead to “the further erosion of the middle class.” “Robots won’t destroy jobs, but they may destroy the middle class,” a Vox story was titled. The Associated Press produced a series of articles headlined, “What’s destroying the middle class?

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Chevron Whistleblower Leaks ‘Smoking Gun’ in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill

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This post was originally published on Common Dreams. More of Lauren’s posts here.

In what is being described as “smoking gun evidence” of Chevron’s complete guilt and corruption in the case of an oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, internal videos leaked to an environmental watchdog show company technicians finding and then mocking the extensive oil contamination in areas that the oil giant told courts had been restored.

A Chevron whistleblower reportedly sent “dozens of DVDs” to U.S.-based Amazon Watch with a handwritten note stating: “I hope this is useful for you in your trial against Texaco/Chevron. [signed] A Friend from Chevron.”

The videos were all titled “pre-inspection” with dates and places of the former oil production sites where judicially-supervised inspections were set to take place. The footage was recorded by Chevron during an earlier visit to the site to determine where clean samples could be taken.

According to Amazon Watch’s description of the tapes:

Chevron employees and consultants can be heard joking about clearly visible pollution in soil samples being pulled out of the ground from waste pits that Chevron testified before both U.S.

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Robert Reich: Colleges, Churches and Non-Profits Doing the Wealthy’s Dirty Work

Tax Credits (CC BY 2.0)

Tax Credits (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Reich on how non-profits have been bought off by the wealthy. No surprises there.

via AlterNet:

Not long ago I was asked to speak to a religious congregation about widening inequality. Shortly before I began, the head of the congregation asked that I not advocate raising taxes on the wealthy.

He said he didn’t want to antagonize certain wealthy congregants on whose generosity the congregation depended.

I had a similar exchange last year with the president of a small college who had invited me to give a lecture that his board of trustees would be attending. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t criticize Wall Street,” he said, explaining that several of the trustees were investment bankers.

It seems to be happening all over.

A non-profit group devoted to voting rights decides it won’t launch a campaign against big money in politics for fear of alienating wealthy donors.

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Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive

snowdenarchive

via Snowden Archive:

This archive is a collection of all documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have subsequently been published by news media.

Our aim in creating this archive is to provide a tool that would facilitate citizen, researcher and journalist access to these important documents. Indexes, document descriptions, links to original documents and to related news stories, a glossary and comprehensive search features are all designed to enable a better understanding of state surveillance programs within the wider context of surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) along with its partners in the Five Eyes countries – U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Our hope is that this resource will contribute to greater awareness of the broad scope, intimate reach and profound implications of the global surveillance infrastructures and practices that Edward Snowden’s historic document leak reveals.

The Snowden Archive is the result of a research collaboration between Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Politics of Surveillance Project at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.

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The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Screen Shot of black byproduct of rare earth mining pouring into the lake at Baotao. Via BBC.

Screen Shot of black byproduct of rare earth mining pouring into the lake at Baotao. Via BBC.

Tim Maughan via BBC:

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

From where I’m standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

Welcome to Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia. I’m here with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, and this is the final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories.

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Police Chief Magazine: Possible New Revenue Streams For Law Enforcement

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

In the April edition of The Police Chief magazine, Paul LaCommare, Commander of the West Covina Police Department in West Covina, California, discusses new ways for law enforcement to raise money in light of dwindling revenue streams.

This article was sent to us by a reader who said, “If war is a racket, policing is even more so…”

via Police Chief Magazine:

The common reaction to a budget crisis is reducing personnel and cutting services. The focus of this article is to provide police agencies with an alternative to personnel and service reductions. This alternative could help the survival of a city and maintain or expand police service through generating new revenue streams as a proactive approach to meet the fiscal crisis of today and the uncertain future of tomorrow.

Possible New Revenue Streams

A group of experts in the fields of city government, business, real estate, and entrepreneurship assembled in April 2008 to identify possible new income streams that could be initiated by law enforcement.

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