Dec 21 2012

Weekly Digest – 12/21/12

Our weekly edition is a nationally syndicated one-hour digest of the best of our daily coverage.

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This week on Uprising:

* NRA Breaks Its Silence After Sandy Hook Massacre; Gun Control Advocates See a Turning Point for Change
* Georgia Begins Enforcing Show-Me-Your-Papers Anti-Immigrant Law
* Syrians Speaks Out on War, Rebellion, and Exile
* Documentary, We’re Not Broke, Details How US Corporations Hide Profits From the Tax Man

* * *

NRA Breaks Its Silence After Sandy Hook Massacre; Gun Control Advocates See a Turning Point for Change

After four days of deafening silence, the nation’s biggest gun lobby, the NRA, released a statement on Tuesday regarding the massacre of 20 children and 7 women at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut saying “we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders.” The NRA explained its silence saying they were allowing “time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”

The influential organization just had a press conference on Friday calling for armed police at every school. NRA spokesman Wayne La Pierre said “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

In fact the NRA’s Twitter feed went silent on Friday one day after reporting 1.7 million “likes” on their Facebook page. That Facebook page that was pulled from the web entirely and has been apparently replaced by a new page.

Historically silence in the wake of a high profile shooting has been standard practice for the NRA, which has generally waited out the controversy before delaying any new gun control legislation and trying to dismantle it in the process.

This behavior follows a philosophy laid-out in the 1970s when a radical group of gun rights advocates staged a coup and seized control of the NRA. An organization that once supported strict and responsible gun control was mutated into the behemoth lobbyist organization of today, devoted to the slaughter of any and all gun-control legislation.

Today the NRA is facing its biggest public relations challenge in the wake of the massacre, targeted harshly for its extreme gun policies by dozens of newspaper op-eds and statements by elected officials, TV commentators, and social media users. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia, both conservative Democrats and staunch gun-rights advocates, have declared a change of heart. “Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered,” Manchin said on Monday morning, “I don’t know anyone that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.”

Meanwhile, gun control advocates have been filling the NRA’s silence this week, calling for increased firearm regulation in the wake of the Newtown massacre. But, as Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, writes: “If President Obama is serious about meaningful action, he better act now. In several months, the sad truth is that people will have forgotten the victims of Friday’s tragedy.”

GUEST: Adam Winkler, Constitutional Law Professor at UCLA, author of Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America

Georgia Begins Enforcing Show-Me-Your-Papers Anti-Immigrant Law

With Mitt Romney’s weak showing among Latino voters in this past November’s Presidential election, the Republican Party is now scrambling to rework its position on immigration. Earlier this month former President George W. Bush spoke in Dallas saying, “As our nation debates the proper course of action relating to immigration, I hope we do so with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contributions of immigrants.”

Yet even as the total numbers of undocumented people decreases around the country and Republican leaders pay lip service to a softer immigration policy, Republican Governors at the state level continue to implement harsh anti-immigrant laws.

This week Georgia joined Arizona and Alabama as yet another state in the U.S. to allow police to request proof of citizenship from people they suspect of having committed a crime. The so called ‘show your papers’ law’ took effect in Georgia this week as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction that was placed on Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act HB 87 last year.

The law will allow police to investigate a suspect’s immigration status if they have any doubts about their citizenship. Critics have been voicing their concerns over the ‘show your papers’ laws as promoting racial profiling.

Arizona’s SB 1070 set the stage for 36 other states to try and pass similar anti-immigrant laws. Only 5 states, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah have succeeded in passing ‘show your papers’ laws.

GUEST: Adelina Nichols, Executive Director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights

Visit www.glahr.org for more information.

ERRATUM: Former President George W. Bush did not speak at the National Immigration Forum but at the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas on the same day as the strategy session.

Syrians Speaks Out on War, Rebellion, and Exile

The civil war in Syria continues to escalate with NATO announcing this week that the Bashar Al-Assad regime has been firing Scud missiles at rebel forces. While the government denies the report, NATO is predicting 1 million internally displaced refugees in the next six months.

Opposition forces throughout the country organized earlier this year as a result of meetings in Qatar into a new collective force known as the Syrian National Coalition. This group is made up of the Free Syrian Army, the National Syrian Army and others. In a blow to Bashar Al Assad’s regime, the European Union quickly recognized the Syrian National Coalition as “legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people.”

France has pledged $1.5 million dollars to the Free Syrian Army, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declaring, “The humanitarian situation in Syria is deteriorating. It is imperative that the international community act.” However, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev criticized the act, labeling it “completely unacceptable in international law.”

The war in Syria has been one of the most devastating in recent months in the Arab world. The British-based, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that 40,000 civilians have been killed and 380,000 have fled since protests began 20 months ago.

GUESTS: Jihad “Jay” Abdo, well known Syrian film, television and theater actor, active in a number of non-profits organizations, Fadia Afashe is an artist and a women’s rights activist from Damascus, Syria

Documentary, We’re Not Broke, Details How US Corporations Hide Profits From the Tax Man

One issue that is not being raised by lawmakers in the discussions over the so-called fiscal cliff is how corporations steal billions from the Treasury’s coffers simply by using off-shore tax havens. In fact, multimillion dollar American corporations are under fire in the UK for allegedly hiding their profits overseas in an attempt to avoid paying taxes on the business they do in Britain.

An association of independent booksellers launched a public campaign against Amazon.com in particular, saying they pay their taxes while the online giant skirts tax laws, reporting its profits through a Luxembourg company.

Companies like Amazon are increasingly turning to tax havens like Luxembourg, Ireland, the Cayman Islands, and other nations to divert their profits. For example, Apple paid only 1.9% in taxes over its recent quarterly earnings, using a complex network of offshore accounts to decrease the foreign tax rate it pays. A large and growing number of US corporations avoid paying US taxes using the same means.

Now, a powerful new film called “We’re Not Broke,” by directors Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes takes the complex world of corporate tax dodging to task to make the case that the US is not actually cash poor – it is simply losing out on billions of tax dollars from corporations that hide their earnings overseas.

In We’re Not Broke, the filmmakers lay bare the type of financial gymnastics US corporations engage in to avoid improving the American economy by paying their fair share of taxes. From esoteric corporate subsidiaries in Bermuda, to the halls of Congress where billions are cut from the social safety net, the film calls for tax fairness in the United States and links up with an activist group called US Uncut and the wider Occupy Wall Street Movement.

We’re Not Broke is now out on DVD.

GUEST: Karin Hayes, co-Director of We’re Not Broke

Visit www.werenotbrokemovie.com to order DVDs of the film.

Sonali’s Subversive Thought for the Day:

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.” — Bertrand Russell

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