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Author Archives: WSS News

BOTTOMLINE: FERGUSON “How to Get Away With Murder”

Publishers Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

Ferguson, Missouri… the past (the thought), the present (the word), and the future (the echo) cannot be nor do they belong in the same room, space, or thought! There must be distance between them or chaos and confusion will reign.

Even if the Ferguson Grand Jury had indicted Officer Wilson, that would not solve the problem. If Officer Wilson were tried and found guilty, that would not solve the problem! Ferguson is only a symptom.   The fact that the Grand Jury found no reason to even have a trial is in fact an example of the real problem. It is truly the merging of the thought, the word and of the echo. It says that “We, society, the instituters and shepherds of institutional racism, so fear retaliation from All Blacks (The Thought) that we, society prepare for All Blacks to act anti-socially by treating them or their children, or children who look like their children, as if they have all ready acted so (The Word) to the point where indeed some Blacks will follow the script and retaliate… (The Echo)!

As a result of Some Blacks retaliating against racism by burning down and looting businesses that serve their community, public safety officers’ respond by letting them do so. As if to say, “If you get mad because we shoot your bad-assed kids, we will get mad and let them burn your community down.”

Ferguson is a symptom of a much deeper problem in America. The problem stems from the lingering echoes of the good ole days of official and lawful racism; institutional racism that despite not being lawful, is still official and alive and well!

The statistics describing Black males not only prove that racism is alive but also represent an undeclared State of Emergency. Black males are disproportionately represented in school suspensions and expulsions, in arrests and sentence as well as being unemployed.  Black males are identified and branded early as potential trouble makers and taken through the process to guarantee that the prediction comes true.  History shows that Institutional Racism is indeed, “How to Get Away with Murder.”

Ferguson is a symptom!  The solution will come only after a real examination of the problem. Our institutions harbor racism and encourage racists! The only way to have change is to make change!

 

SAVE Program Allows Firefighters to do more for Families

Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore, flanked by firefighters from his city and Rancho Cucamonga at Riverside Fire Station 14, announces Riverside’s participation in Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE), which provides immediate short-term relief to fire and disaster victims.

Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore, flanked by firefighters from his city and Rancho Cucamonga at Riverside Fire Station 14, announces Riverside’s participation in Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE), which provides immediate short-term relief to fire and disaster victims.

RIVERSIDE, CA- When first responders answer the call in a fire or disaster, the job doesn’t end when the fire is out. Many times, firefighters wind up comforting families that have suffered a great loss. Firefighters always wish they could do more. Now they can.

Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) allows local firefighters to give on-the-spot aid to families and individuals who suffer substantial property loss in a fire or a major disaster. Created and funded by the non-profit California Fire Foundation, SAVE provides departments with Mastercard gift cards that can be activated right at the scene.

“As firefighters, we often have the sad duty to be with people on the worst day of their lives,” said Lou Paulson, chair of the California Fire Foundation and a retired Contra Costa firefighter. “By offering SAVE cards to those who have lost so much, firefighters are able to help people take the first step toward rebuilding their lives.”

At a news conference at Riverside’s Canyon City Fire Station # 14, Inland Empire fire departments announced their participation in the unique partnership. The Riverside CityRancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino City Fire Departments are among 30 departments statewide that have agreed to participate in SAVE. The $100 Mastercard SAVE cards are carried by incident commanders to residential fire and disaster calls. If the occupancy loss is 25 percent or more of total value, a SAVE card can be activated right at the scene.

SAVE cards were issued to 30 California fire departments in late August, following a successful test of the program in the Sacramento area. To date, more than 45 families touched by tragedy have been helped through the program.

SAVE is open to all California fire departments, paid and volunteer, subject to an agreement between the Foundation and employer and employee representatives. The Foundation continues to raise funds and seek additional sponsorships to bring SAVE cards to more communities and, eventually, increase the face value of the cards. Individuals interested in contributing can go to SAVE.cafirefoundation.org.

“Black Friday Blues”

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By Frank Clemente

Shoppers will be lining up at the crack of dawn on “Black Friday” for spectacular deals. What they don’t know is that the best bargains have already been taken – not by other shoppers, but by some of America’s largest corporations.

Walmart, the biggest corporation in America, with revenues of almost half a trillion dollars, gets a $1 billion tax break each year on average by exploiting federal tax loopholes, according to a new report from Americans for Tax Fairness. Taxpayers, even those lined up in the early morning darkness at giant retailers like Walmart, pay the price.

How? First, the more big corporations dodge paying their fair share of taxes, the more American families and small businesses have to make up, or else there is less money available for critical investments, such as rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, improving education and making college more affordable, or finding new medical cures.

When Black Friday shoppers check the prices, they’ll never see these hidden costs of tax avoidance. But when Americans figure out what’s going on they’ll have a bad case of the Black Friday Blues.

The $1 billion Walmart “saves” by ducking its fair share of federal taxes is a low estimate. It doesn’t count the taxes Walmart is avoiding on $21.4 billion in profits held offshore. Walmart has paid nothing to the U.S. Treasury on those earnings because corporations can indefinitely postpone paying U.S. taxes on offshore profits until they are brought back to America.

The retail giant is also working with other large corporations to deeply cut U.S. corporate tax rates. So while American families and small businesses continue to recover from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge corporations making record profits are trying to rewrite the law so they pay much less in taxes.

If these corporations are successful, they will blow a $1.3 trillion hole in the federal budget over the next 10 years. Walmart alone will pocket $720 million a year on average – in addition to the $1 billion it already “saves” from current tax loopholes.

Big companies know that cutting corporate taxes isn’t popular with the public. Americans are outraged that profitable companies like General Electric, Verizon and Boeing – as well as 23 others – paid absolutely nothing in taxes over the past five years, according to the watchdog group Citizens for Tax Justice. Polls show that American families oppose lower corporate tax rates; instead, they want a more equitable tax system in which corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.

Fighting for an unpopular cause like lowering corporate tax rates could hurt corporate brands with the public. So Walmart and other companies pay large industry coalitions to do the work of waging media campaigns and cajoling members of Congress. Walmart is the only big box retailer that gives to all three of the industry groups that are trying to put a good face on bad policy – the RATE (Reforming America’s Taxes Equitably) Coalition, Alliance for Competitive Taxation and the Business Roundtable.

These organizations decry the 35 percent tax rate corporations are supposed to pay on profits when they know full well that they actually pay far less. Profitable corporations paid U.S. income taxes amounting to just 12.6 percent of worldwide income in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Walmart itself sends 74 lobbyists to twist arms on Capitol Hill, and tax issues are its No. 1 priority. It has spent $32.6 million lobbying over the past five years. It also tries to buy access to lawmakers by contributing heavily to their campaigns – giving $6.1 million since 2009, disproportionately to members of the two Congressional tax-writing committees.

Walmart wants to convince shoppers to flock to its stores on Black Friday to take advantage of low prices. What it doesn’t want you to know is that those prices come at a high cost of taxes dodged.

If large corporations succeed in slashing corporate tax rates, the effects on our country will be severe. For millions of American families and small businesses it will mean higher taxes, fewer services or a higher national debt.  Today’s “Black Friday blues” could turn into a full-blown economic hangover.


 

Clemente is executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 425 national and state organizations.