Archive for Verizon

If Corporations Are People Too, Why Do They Get Taxed Differently Than People?


We the Corporations

Perhaps the easiest way to put the argument to bed as to whether or not "corporations are people, too, my friend," is to pass a clarification law stipulating that corporations are in deed people. (I know, it's crazy and we know they aren't, but let's for a moment say they are.) What would the next step be?

Well, for starters, we would have no, repeat no, federal deficit and individual taxes would drop precipitously. Why? Because PEOPLE don't get the advantages and tax loopholes of the Federal Corporate Tax Rate that allows them to skate on their tax obligations to this country. They would just pay the federal individual tax payer rate, like all of us "people," which they will then be.

Gone would be all those corporate write-offs, jets, yachts, huge parties and outings. Those huge offices and off-shore holding accounts. We could say bye-bye to tax credits for sending business overseas. If individuals don't get those benefits, either will the new "individuals." Oh, and too big to fail? That's gonna be gone too as no individual is too big to fail.

So what are we talking about when when we start saying that corporations are people too? We're talking about the entire rehauling of big business and a simplification of the tax laws. When they start paying their individual taxes they can start enjoying the individual freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.

If they want free speech they won't need Citizen's United. As people, they will have that. If they want freedom of religious beliefs as in the two cases approaching the Supreme Court, then as individuals they will have that. But with those rights, come restrictions and penalties -- including jail and fines for abuses.

Think about how quickly the national debt would turn into a surplus (promoting tax rebates and lower individual rates) if corporations paid their "people" tax rates, not corporate tax rates. In 2012, the following companies paid either ZERO federal taxes or actually got REBATES from the government - Wall Street Journal:

tax avoidance corporations

  • General Motors
  • Verizon
  • Ceasar's Palace
  • Prudential Insurance
  • Ameren
  • Lear Jets
  • American Airlines
  • JC Penny
  • Boeing
  • General Electric

Think about it for a moment. Is something wrong with this picture? Why should companies have all the benefits that people have, but not the responsibilities? People pay their fair share in order to enjoy a fair voice and be protected under the laws.

So big companies, you want to be treated like people, act like it.


It's A Bird. It's A Plane. It's Instacurity And It's An Epidemic


people on cellphones 2

Instacurity. By the time you look it up, it'll probably be too late. It's by far, the fastest growing disease in the states, hell, in the world. By the time you finish this post, you or someone you know will come down with it.

Instacurity's not fatal, but it is debilitating. It's also contagious as the flu. It'll catch up with you before you ever realize you're becoming infected. Face it, it's more rampant than "the walkers" stalking the survivors surrounding the Walking Dead compound.


Yesterday I had a business dinner at a well known Beverly Hills eatery. I was fine when I arrived. Actually feeling quite buoyant, looking forward to this book interview. Aware of my surroundings and knowing that "the illness" strikes across all socio-economic lines, I was vigilant. I kept my attention scanning the room for possible carriers. And sadly, even before my meeting showed up, I realized I couldn't go through with it. The infected far outnumbered the healthy. I was right smack in the middle of ground zero. I had to escape to have any chance of avoiding this affliction.I put down my water glass, stowed my linen napkin, and darted for the door.

busy restaurant

Before I could reach the exit, I found myself face to face with the man I was there to be interviewed by. It was bad enough that he was tweeting on his cellphone and bumped into me, but it made it impossible,when he finally looked up and said, "Hey, it's you. Good timing. I just gotta finish this. A friend of mine just got a flat tire." I was stuck. I was caught. I had no escape.

At the table we exchanged pleasantries when suddenly his phone vibrated and he apologized,"Oh, I hope you don't mind. I just gotta take this. She misplaced one of her nuts" His fingers danced across his iPhone screen before I could answer, but I was thinking I knew where the missing nut could be found.

Just as he looked up to me, my cellphone rang. I didn't answer it, but noticed on the screen, I had five tweets. What could I do? The interviewer shrugged and told me to go check 'em out.

I clicked on to see who they were from. And before I could read the third one, I realized... I had it. I was infected. I had the disease. I had instacurity.

If you want to know more, if you want to see if you have it, and if you want to educated yourself or try to inoculate yourself, watch this. All I can say is, good luck.


AT&T Tapping Phones For DEA -- Especially iPhones



When the iPhone first came out, it ushered in a new generation of smartphone. People waited for days, stayed up overnight and stood in long lines to get their device. Sold exclusively through AT&T's service contracts, they were THE thing. You just weren't cool unless you had an iPhone. And now the DEA was thrilled you got one. Why? Because AT&T is in cahoots with the DEA and is selling your information to them. The phone giant is spying on you -- and doing it on their own and for profit.

You thought the NSA was snooping. Well you haven't heard the least of it. The NSA is a federal program, and arguably has the right to use whatever is at their disposal to keep us safe from national security concerns.


But now, through the investigative reporting of the New York Times, it seems our DEA division of the government has been farming out, subcontracting their work, to AT&T, a non-government, publicly traded company. AT&T took their own initiative to spy on you, then sell the information to the DEA.

Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are not listed on the participant list of this clandestine project known as The Hemisphere Project. It doesn't mean these other carriers don't participate -- just they haven't been identified yet in recently released documents.

The program:

The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.

The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.

The project comes to light at a time of vigorous public debate over the proper limits on government surveillance and on the relationship between government agencies and communications companies. It offers the most significant look to date at the use of such large-scale data for law enforcement, rather than for national security.

A series of 27 slides relating to the program and bearing the logo of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reveals how the information collection, by non-security cleared people was done and how it was disseminated. No legal oversight was implemented, This was a rogue operation and the DEA paid billions for it.

Though AT&T was the major culprit in this invasion of privacy, Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years, according to Hemisphere training slides.

The program was started in 2007, according to the slides, and has been carried out in great secrecy.

All requestors are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in any official document,” one slide says. A search of the Nexis database found no reference to the program in news reports or Congressional hearings.

So you may be wondering how these records were accessed --“administrative subpoenas,” those issued not by a grand jury or a judge but by a federal agency, in this case the D.E.A. And the records were stored by AT&T, not the federal government. Any employee, no matter what their level in the organization, could conceivably have access.

Our fourth amendment rights are once again being challenged. Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“I’d speculate that one reason for the secrecy of the program is that it would be very hard to justify it to the public or the courts,” he said. "While the database remained in AT&T’s possession, “the integration of government agents into the process means there are serious Fourth Amendment concerns.”

Maybe it's time that the war on drugs became a lesser priority and the war on poverty, education, equal rights, immigration, ecology, voter rights and human dignity started to trump this waste of money. Especially now that the Justice Department has said they won't be prosecuting legal marijuana users or businesses, we can focus this Hemisphere Project money into useful purposes.

text your fired

Don't just stand idly by texting or tweeting on your iPhone. Make a statement. If you're with AT&T and your current contract is up, make sure you chose an alternative carrier. Hit AT&T where it hurts -- unless you like having your calls traced and your privacy infringed upon.


NSA whistleblower: “Aggregated metadata can be more revealing than content.”


eye keyhole smaller

Do you feel comfortable with the surveillance techniques in question? Did you feel okay about the monitoring programs when the Bush administration was in charge of them? I don't see how anyone can say no to the second question and yes to the first.

I'm queasy about this NSA stuff, feeling vulnerable, especially thinking about a future that includes Republicans getting back in the White House. President Christie? President Paul? Would you trust them with (expanding) powers like these? Many of us may have more trust in President Obama, but what about someone more extreme, more power hungry?

None of this has surprised me, but it does make me very uneasy. What was that about sacrificing our privacy for security again?

privacy security liberty Ben Franklin

Think Progress:

[T]wo Democrats who have condemned the surveillance — Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) — say they have been unable to express public outrage over the measures, which are still classified. “I believe that when law-abiding Americans call their friends, who they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information,” Wyden said in a statement on Thursday. “Collecting this data about every single phone call that every American makes every day would be a massive invasion of Americans’ privacy.” Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed outrage over the revelations and pledged to introduce legislation limiting the government’s surveillance capabilities.

An hour after President Obama’s remarks, NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe told Fox News that “aggregated metadata can be more revealing than content.” “It’s very important to realize that when an entity collects information about you, that includes locations, transactions, credit card transactions, travel, plans, easy path, on and off toll ways all of that can be used to track you day to day to the point where people can get insight into your intentions and what you are going to do next,” he said. “It is difficult to get that from content unless you exploit every piece and even then a lot of content is worthless.”