party time for corporate tax evaders, cherry blossoms wallpaper, a case for tenure

March Madness for Corporate Tax Dodgers – Top seeds in the Tax Haven Tourney: banks and power companies

– General Electric made $10.3 billion in 2009, but received a $1.1 billion tax rebate.

– Forbes said about Bank of America in 2010: “How did they not pay any taxes on $4.4 billion in income?”

– Oil giant Exxon made a $45 billion profit in 2009, but paid no taxes in the United States.

– Citigroup had 4 quarters of billion-dollar profits in 2010, but paid no taxes.

– Wells Fargo made $12 billion but purchased Wachovia Bank to claim a $19 billion tax credit.

– Hewlett Packard’s U.S. income tax rate was 4.3% in 2008 and 2.3% in 2009.

– Verizon’s 10.5% tax rate, according to Forbes, is due to its partnership with Vodafone, the primary target in UK Uncut’s protests against tax evaders.

– Chevron’s tax rate was 1% in 2008.

– Boeing, which just won a $30 billion contract to build 179 airborne tankers, got $124 million back from the taxpayers in 2010.

– Over the past 5 years Amazon made $3.5 billion and paid taxes at the rate of 4.3%.

– Carnival Cruise Lines paid 1% in taxes on its $11.5 billion profit over the past 5 years.

– Koch Industries is not publicly traded, so their antics are kept private. But they benefit from taxpayer subsidies in ranching and logging.

– In 2008 CorporateWatch said Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp paid “astoundingly low taxes” because of tax havens.

– Google “cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years by shifting its money around foreign countries.

– Merck, the second-largest drugmaker in the U.S., last year brought more than $9 billion from abroad without paying any U.S. tax.

– Pfizer, the largest drugmaker in the U.S., erased $10 billion in taxes with an “accounting treatment.

Tax madness is happening as state governments are slashing services for children the elderly, the poor, children and the disabled. Many of these states are claiming they have to make drastic cuts to meet their budget requirements, but they are also cutting corporate taxes. The Human Cost of Slashonomics.

cherry blossoms wallpaper

CIA Psychologist’s Notes Reveal True Purpose Behind Bush’s Torture Program

Bush administration officials have long asserted that the torture techniques used on “war on terror” detainees were utilized as a last resort in an effort to gain actionable intelligence to thwart pending terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests abroad.

But the handwritten notes obtained exclusively by Truthout drafted two decades ago by Dr. John Bruce Jessen, the psychologist who was under contract to the CIA and credited as being one of the architects of the government’s top-secret torture program, tell a dramatically different story about the reasons detainees were brutalized and it was not just about obtaining intelligence. Rather, as Jessen’s notes explain, torture was used to “exploit” detainees, that is, to break them down physically and mentally, in order to get them to “collaborate” with government authorities. Jessen’s notes emphasize how a “detainer” uses the stresses of detention to produce the appearance of compliance in a prisoner.

Some of the general information about how a military program to help soldiers build up a resistance to tortire was reverse engineered to perform toture was already known. These revelation go into more detail. As one would expect the program was a failure. In the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, he just started making up intelligence to supply his torturers with enough information to stop torturing him. Some captives who had been cooperating were thought not to be cooperative enough, so a torture regime was started, and than they produced no actionable information. Thus losing opportunities to gather information that might have been helpful in fighting al-Qaeda.

black and white city towers wallpaper

While most of the arguments against tenure for college professors comes from the far Right and Randians, there have been some arguments against it some the liberal side of the aisle as well. Like anyone who has attended a university or community college I had a few not so great professors. They were people who were intellectually well versed in their field, but lacked the knack for teaching. It seemed as though teaching was something they had to put up with so they could do what they really wanted to do, research. Having had this experience there are probably a few of us who are not imune to at least reforming the tenure system. Only tenure is not the big problem some say it is. Fewer and fewer teachers get tenure or even become eligible for it. Like many of the crises the Right gets in its cross hairs, it is largely a made up crisis, In Defense of Tenure – It might be under attack, but academic tenure is essential to preserving academic freedom.

I inhabit two worlds. The first is where I work most of the time—the American academy or, more specifically, a state-funded university. What do I see here? A full-time faculty dwindling in numbers and whose salaries are flatlining; rising ranks of “contingent” and contract-based teachers who have little job security; and stressed students who face rising tuitions and ballooning class sizes.

[  ]…Schrecker is spot-on arguing that the right—especially that element hopped up on populist resentment against elites—poses the biggest threat to academic freedom today. She’s even better when she conjoins this argument with the theme of “corporatization” that appears in her subtitle. Which brings us back to the tenure issue. For some time now, universities have imported corporate labor practices and have part-timed the American professoriate in order to get around tenure. The numbers here are crystalline: As of 2007, about 50 percent of the teachers in America’s universities were part-time faculty, while just more than 18 percent were full-time non-tenure track.

It’s not just the numbers that matter. Schrecker reminds readers of the human dimension of teaching part-time: “the lack of offices, telephones, mailboxes, coat hooks, supplies, or access to photocopying or computers.” Everything about “their working conditions shrieks second class.” For students, this means professors who can’t even find a place to meet with them to confer about how to perform better in class. But more troublesome are the stories of contingent faculty who have lost their positions precisely because they lack academic freedom. There’s Maureen Watson, who had taught part-time at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, for 12 years. “The administration, which had been pressing the faculty to stop flunking so many students,” terminated her appointment with no due process because she insisted on grading honestly.

Mattson is brutality honest is attacking excesses across political lines. The ivory tower itself is guilty of eating it’s own at times. Outside influences – the corporazation of higher learning – is a compelling reason to save the concept of tenure. For those that have not seen Inside Job, a major part of the documentary goes into how outside academic experts lent their names, reputations and expertise to legitimatizing the irresponsible business practices and deregulation that caused the Great Recession.

Grand Beach Lake Winnipeg, c.1914, photo L.B. Foote PA

1914 was the year of the Ludlow Massacre in which the National Guard caused the deaths of 19 striking coal miners. The Panama Canal was inaugurated the same year, 33,000 Canadian troops were sent off to fight WW I and  Benito Mussolini was expelled from the Italian Socialist Party.

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