Tax-Avoiding Apple Being Assessed 13 Billion Euros Payment to Ireland

AppleIn 2014, Apple paid just $50 in tax for every million it made selling iPhones and iPads to most of the world outside America. That’s a tax rate of just 0.005%.

On a proportionate scale, if your workplace paid you $50,000 per year.. You would pay  $2.50 for your total annual tax bill. Two dollars 50cents!

he European Commission is putting multinationals on notice with its order to tech giant Apple to pay €13 billion in tax to Ireland. It’s signalling that it won’t bow to pressure from the US. Now other countries may follow with similar action. The Commission concluded Ireland granted Apple undue tax benefits. It found that selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1% on its European profits in 2003, down to 0.005% in 2014. This was significantly less than Ireland’s tax rate of 12.5%.
Here for the article.

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Genetic Studies That Show Two Subspecies of Lions May Help Stave Extinction

LionRecent studies point to two subspecies of African Lions. One group in in East Africa, the other in Central and West Africa and Asiatic lions. Understanding species at this level is vitally important in the fight against extinction. Genetic diversity includes the evolutionary potential, referring to the genetic blue print that allows a species to adjust to a changing environment. Link here for the full article.

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Yes, Clinton Foundation Gives Favors. So Do Almost All Politicians. Fix All of This!

Clinton-FoundationRichard Painter, a Republican ethics advisor in the Bush administration, argues (here for essay) that policymakers in both parties accept contributions from high roller donors who expect and typically gain favors. Rather than singling out the Clinton Foundation, even though it likely gives donors special privileges, fix the problem across the board. He explains how.

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Jimmy Carter Chastises Churches for Hypocrisy in the Face of Global Violence

JimmyCarterPresident Jimmy Carter recently blamed much of the world’s violence on religious hypocrisy. On June 21, he told the annual Human Rights Defenders Forum at The Carter Center that “we are at a turning point in history,” choosing between “peace and human suffering.” President Carter spoke about global violence, and more specifically, violence against girls and women.
Excuse the cruddy ads, but this website link has a synopsis. The Carter Center has the full speech transcript here.

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All Songbirds Originated from Australia and then Populated the Earth

songbirdThe songbirds that are common in gardens all across the world have a surprisingly distant origin. They all evolved from a common ancestor that emerged from what is now Australia around 24m years ago. How they managed to leave this isolated part of the world and spread all over the planet has long been a mystery to scientists.  See link for theory.

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Ralph Nader & Omar Barghouti Get Enduring Peace Awards

nader-and-barghoutiPromoting Enduring Peace has announced that it is presenting its 2016 Gandhi Peace Award jointly to Ralph Nader and Omar Barghouti.  The Gandhi Peace Award has been presented since 1960 to people who make outstanding contributions to world peace,  a sustainable ecology, and  social justice.
Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws, and has spoken for human rights. Barghouti is a Palestinian human rights defender and leader of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions BDS movement to bring economic pressure on Israel to end its oppressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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America’s Plugged-in Boys Are Not Graduating to Manhood

man-childQuestion: Where have America’s young men gone? Answer: To their video games. They are typically underemployed,  live with their parents, and have limited social life. Living in a virtual cyber world of fantasy games and fantasy sex (pornography), these “lost boys” live meaningless lives.  A sober article by First Things magazine and a tongue-in-cheek article by Estately ranking states with the most immature men highlight this sad situation.

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Why Do Prominent Evangelical Leaders Endorse Trump?

falwell-endorses-TrumpJonathan Merritt writes a perspicacious essay in Atlantic Magazine (Aug. 10, 2016) titled “Trump-loving Christians Owe Bill Clinton an Apology.” Merritt writes, “Character counts.” That was evangelicals’ rallying cry in their all-out assault against Bill Clinton beginning in 1993.In response to what they perceived as widespread moral decline… the allegedly draft-dodging, pot-smoking, honesty-challenged womanizer symbolized everything that was wrong with America.

Jump ahead to 2016 and some of the same leaders who denounced Clinton as unsuitable for the presidency due to immoral and tawdry behavior are now championing Donald Trump for president. Leaders who denounced Clinton for immorality two decades ago but today endorse Trump include James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Wayne Grudem, Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, and the Jerry Falwell dynasty. Clinton at least apologized. Trump boasts of his excess.

Merritt concludes, rightly, that “pious preachers, thunderous televangelists, and moralizing activists have sold America a bill of goods about their pure motivation for decades. But evidence indicates that evangelical political engagement is really about cultural influence, social dominance, and power.”

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The Meaning of War by Abraham Joshua Heschel


The Meaning of This War  (World War II)
by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), was born in Germany, barely got to America before the Nazi’s purge, and became an influential Jewish theologian whose writings and the witness of his actions continue to inspire. In this essay, written in 1944, Heschel points out the moral depravity that lead societies into the horror of war. Each sentence is laden with fiery prophetic truth. –AJ

EMBLAZONED OVER the gates of the world in which we live is the escutcheon of the demons. The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. There have never been so much guilt and distress, agony and terror. At no time has the earth been so soaked with blood. Fellow men turned out to be evil ghosts, monstrous and weird. Ashamed and dismayed, we ask: Who is responsible? Continue reading

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