As Predictable as 'Death and Taxes,' GOP Pushes Billionaire Estate Tax Cut

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As Predictable as 'Death and Taxes,' GOP Pushes Billionaire Estate Tax Cut

"Nothing illustrates more how much the political system is rigged in favor of the wealthy," warn critics of the bill

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer | CommonDreams.org

 

In another boon for U.S. billionaires, Congressional Republicans are planning to ring in this year's Tax Day with a vote to repeal the federal estate tax.

Under the bill (H.R. 1105) offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), estates—no matter how large—would not be taxed, whereas under current law, a deceased person’s assets must be worth more than $5.43 million before they are subject to the tax.

Further, the legislation would also repeal a generation-skipping transfer tax and lower the top marginal gift tax rate. In an email to Common Dreams, Scott Klinger, director of Revenue and Spending Policies at the Center for Effective Government, said the bill is really "repeal on steroids—it would allow vast amounts of wealth to pass from one generation to the next."

 

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Here's an Inspiring Weapon of Mass Instruction from Argentina

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“Raul is one of those great, crazy people that is needed in society,” says a friend of Buenos Aires eccentric Raul Lemesoff.

“I’ve known Raul for 4 years and I still don’t know who he is,” says another.

“He’s a very un-well-adjusted person to this society,” jokes a third.

The man they are describing is the artist behind ‘Weapons of Mass Instruction,’ a genius moving exhibit which aims to spread love, laughs, and a joy of learning. Raul converted a 1979 Ford Falcon into a tank armored with 900 books on science, poetry, politics and more. He cruises the streets of Argentina‘s capital giving them away for free, hoping to educate and encourage people to read more. “My primary targets are the youngest, the kids,” says Raul.

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Judge Orders Feds to Release Over 2,000 Photos of Torture and Abuse by U.S. Military in Iraq and Afghanistan

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published on April 15th 2015 by occupydemocrats.com by Carlos Miller

After a 10-year legal battle, U.S. district judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled last Friday that the U.S. government must release more than 2,000 Torture photos showing the abuse and mistreatment of people detained by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush Administration.

As reported by the award-winning Photography Is Not A Crime police accountability blog, the federal government “is required to disclose each and all of the photographs” in response to a Freedom of Information Act Request from the ACLU, as the government failed to prove that “disclosure would endanger Americans.”

 

The federal government has tried to suppress these photographs, even going so far as changing the FOIA law in secret with the help of Congress in 2009.

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What’s the point? The failure of community activism

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Does protesting make any difference? AAP Image/Forest Activist Network

Posted on 15 March 2013, 11.03pm GMT on: The Conversation

Australians are rightly proud of their democratic traditions. They are also inclined to raise their voice in protest when faced with government, bureaucratic, or civil injustice. Environmental activists have been particularly noisy. But community activism can have unforeseen consequences, resulting in worse outcomes for the environment in the long run.

The success or failure of local environmental campaigns is rarely addressed. Reportage is usually centred around heated encounters between protesters, police and those seeking to enforce development or change.

What happens after the cameras have gone, when the final decisions come down, the bulldozers move in and people go back to their regular lives? This is not often discussed.

Protesting can leave individuals on both sides battered and bruised. The physical, financial and emotional toll is considerable. It can leave one asking “What was the point?”

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Chevron Whistleblower Leaks 'Smoking Gun' in Case of Ecuadorian Oil Spill

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Videos sent to Amazon Watch described as 'a true treasure trove of Chevron misdeeds and corporate malfeasance'

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.

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Fracking Boom Accompanied by Rise of Silent, Deadly Carcinogen in Homes: Study

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New study contradicts finding released earlier this year by Pennsylvania's DEP which said radon levels were nothing to worry about

by
Jon Queally, staff writer - CommonDreams.org

Researchers in Pennsylvania have discovered that the prevalence of radon, a radioactive and carcinogenic gas, in people's homes and commercial buildings that are nearer to fracking sites has increased dramatically in the state since the unconventional and controversial gas drilling practice began in the state just over a decade ago.

Both odorless and tasteless, radon is a naturally-occurring gas released from bedrock minerals beneath the ground and is found in millions of homes across the country. However, in a study published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives,scientists compared the results of state-wide radon testing in Pennsylvania to find a significant correlation between unusually high levels of the deadly gas in some buildings (mostly residential homes) and the proliferation of fracking in certain areas of the state.

 

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A Terror State Pointing Fingers.

A Terror State Pointing Fingers.

After withdrawing The Interview from public screening due to threats of terrorism, Sony was met with a wave of criticism from the US public, Hollywood, and the White House. Mostly, the overwhelming response is that Sony had bent to the will of terrorists (allegedly North Korea); due to the subsequent “War on Terror” after 9/11, the American public have become hyper-sensitized to the word “terrorism”, hence the extraordinary amount of outrage that cancelling the film produced.

It is quite right that Sony bent to the will of terrorism – a threat was issued and Sony agreed to the terms. Sony’s, and the writers’, directors’, producers’ etc., free speech was suppressed, so there quite clearly is reason for the outrage. But it must be noted that the American public have tasted just what a nightmare their government is to self-determination around the world, if not freedom entirely.

For this, I chose to focus on how the US have subverted elections or punished a populous for voting “the wrong way”. While a film would more-so run along the lines of free speech, there is a noteworthy parallel: a dominant power have made threats in order to influence the actions of a lesser power.

 

Nicaragua:

Post-World War Two Latin America was a horrific place, many countries falling victim to the prying eyes of US foreign policy planners, who

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How Arms Companies Fuelled and Exacerbated the First World War

How Arms Companies Fuelled and Exacerbated the First World War

Despite recent establishment efforts to sanitise it, World War One was not a glorious war. It was an immoral global conflict that led to an unparalleled level of death and destruction.

Very few benefited from the killing. It did, however, line the pockets of arms companies and their shareholders.

As the Arming All Sides project, supported by Campaign Against Arms Trade and On the Record, makes clear, they were certainly not dispassionate bystanders. In fact, the appalling conduct of these companies was instrumental in both fuelling the drive to war and shaping the conflict.

The scale of international tensions created new business opportunities for arms companies. Of course they were only happy to maximise these by purposely exaggerating, and in some cases fabricating, war scares with the aim of exacerbating and profiting from the arms race.

One example of this is Herbert Mulliner, the Director of Coventry Ordnance Works, who in 1908, with the support of journalists at the Daily Mail, worked to persuade the British government that Germany was secretly accelerating its naval programme. The scare worked; stimulating massive naval expenditure in the process and helping to create an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, making war more likely. Even Winston Churchill would later accept that the claims were entirely false.

The arms dealers interests were protected in no small part by the intimate relationship the companies enjoyed with politicians. In 1914 one Labour MP, Philip Snowden, told the House of Commons that with so many MPs being shareholders of arms companies, 'it is not possible to throw a stone at the benches opposite without hitting one.'

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