We kid you not

Issue 

Good point, Peter, why not?

"If [Tony Abbott] will add 1.7 per cent to the corporate tax rate to pay for maternity leave, why not another 1.7 per cent to improve Aboriginal health, and another 2.7 per cent for hospitals to trump Rudd's policy?"

—A furious Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter Hartcher in a March 9 piece slamming Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott's proposal to tax big business to fund maternity leave. "This is madness", fumed Hartcher, pointing out that this would undo 16 years of "reform" in which successive Labor and Liberal governments slashed the corporate tax rate from 48% to just 30% — a massive shift of wealth to the rich.

What really is mad is that it has taken the far-right "Mad Monk" to be the first leader of the two main parties in nearly two decades to propose a reversal to this trend — while the Labor government, which claims to defend "working families", complains that this is unfair to the bosses.

Increasing the corporate tax rate in order to fund socially progressive policies that improve the lives of ordinary people sounds like a step in the right direction. Why stop at maternity leave indeed?

3000 companies cause trillions in eco-damages each year

"The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world's biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found ...

"The study, conducted by London-based consultancy Trucost and due to be published this summer, found the estimated combined damage was worth US$2.2 trillion (£1.4tn) in 2008 — a figure bigger than the national economies of all but seven countries in the world that year."

— A February 18 British Guardian article.

Apple admits child labour behind iProfits

"At least eleven 15 year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories that supply Apple ...

"In its report, Apple revealed the sweatshop conditions inside the factories it uses... In 2008, Apple found that a total of 25 child workers had been employed to build iPods, iPhones and its range of computers."

— A February 27 Telegraph.co.uk article.

CIA accused of poisoning French village with LSD

"In 1951 a quiet village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were committed to asylums and hundreds afflicted.

"For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now an even more extraordinary explanation has emerged, with evidence suggesting the CIA peppered food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind-control experiment at the height of the Cold War."

— March 12 Sydney Morning Herald article.

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