Progressive Breakfast for August 26

Morning Message

Now Burger King Renouncing U.S. Citizenship – Let’s Eat Somewhere Else

Burger King is the latest company announcing plans to renounce its U.S. citizenship in order to dodge taxes. It plans to buy Tim Hortons and then pretend Tim Hortons bought them so they can claim to be Canadian. ... The announcement is prompting calls like this petition you can sign by the Campaign for America’s Future that calls on Burger King’s CEO to keep the restaurant chain American or “I will dine elsewhere.” ... Every single step to Burger King’s success was backed and enabled up by our taxpayer-funded American system. ... And now Burger King wants to harvest that prosperity, take off from the country that made them what they are and stick us with the bill for those things. But they still want us to eat their food and hand over our dollars.

Will Burger King Have Its Way On Taxes?

Burger King to buy Tim Hortons and move its headquarters to Canada. US News & World Report: “Miami-based Burger King is reportedly in talks to buy the Canadian-owned Tim Hortons chain of coffee and doughnut shops. Consolidating the companies would create the third-largest fast food franchise in the world with over 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries. It would also allow the burger giant to shave its corporate tax rate by locating its headquarters north of the U.S. border, where corporate taxes are lower.”

Senator: Boycott Burger King as it eyes move to Canada. CBS News: “As Burger King eyes moving its headquarters to Canada to lower its tax bill, a Democratic senator is recommending a boycott of the burger joint. Instead, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said hamburger lovers should try out two fast food chains that haven’t ‘abandoned’ the United States – White Castle and Wendy’s. ‘Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,’ Brown said in a statement. … In his statement, Brown noted that ‘runaway corporations’ like Burger King have benefitted from U.S. policies that help companies grow but don’t want to pay their share of the tab.”

Writing at NYT’s “The Upshot,” Jared Bernstein says that cutting the corporate tax could make other problems grow: “Those who would get rid of the corporate tax basically argue that the smart move is to go with this flow: As long as so many more businesses are setting themselves up to avoid the corporate tax, don’t fight ′em, join ′em. The problem is that to do so risks turning the corporate structure itself into a big tax shelter: If income generated and retained by incorporated businesses should become tax-free, then guess what type of income everybody will suddenly start making? Taxes delayed are taxes saved, and with no corporate tax, anyone who could do so would structure their earnings and investments to be “corporate earnings,” untaxed until they’re distributed.”

Mourning And Calls For Change In Ferguson

‘Crying for Justice’: Thousands Mourn Michael Brown at Funeral. NBC News: “More than 4,500 mourners packed a Missouri church Monday for the funeral of Michael Brown, who was remembered as a ”gentle soul“ who predicted before his death that ”one day the world will know his name.“ Activists, politicians, celebrities and ordinary citizens came together to honor the 18-year-old who was shot to death by a police officer on Aug. 9, sparking two weeks of protest and re-igniting a national debate on police and race. His parents listened quietly and tearfully near a casket topped with a baseball cap as a parade of speakers shared memories of the teen and delivered thunderous cries for justice. … The funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis drew boldfaced names like filmmaker Spike Lee and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, relatives of other police-shooting victims, three representatives from the White House and strangers who stood in line for hours to pay their respects. ”

Al Sharpton rips ‘policing’ at Brown funeral. Politoco: “The Rev. Al Sharpton used his eulogy for slain 18-year-old Michael Brown on Monday to criticize the conduct of law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri, and to call for America to ‘deal with’ the kind of policing that has plagued the community in the weeks since Brown’s death. ‘America, it’s time to deal with policing,’ Sharpton said at funeral services for Brown at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, addressing a crowd of thousands that included politicians, civil rights activists and celebrities. ‘We are not the haters, we’re the healers.’ … ’‘America is going to have to come to terms with [the fact that] there’s something wrong, that we have money to give military equipment to police forces but we don’t have money for training, and money for public education and money to train our children,’ Sharpton said.”

WaPo’s Mark Berman asks, “What comes next for Ferguson?”: “Officials in Ferguson have promised that changes will follow what happened, that the maelstrom faced by the people in Ferguson will not simply be something to endure but something to prompt movement. … The city vowed to raise funds to get cameras for its officers and cars (although dozens of cameras have already been donated, according to CNN); encourage its officers to live in Ferguson (Wilson lived in the more affluent, largely-white city of Crestwood); and try to increase the number of black applicants to Ferguson’s police force. … People in Ferguson will see whether these changes come to fruition and if the promises of finding purpose in the wake of chaos are borne out. Yet they will also be watching to see what happens with Brown’s death and to see how these local and national authorities determine what actually happened. ”

At Truthdig, Eugene Robinson reminds us, “To be young, male and black in America means not being allowed to make mistakes”: “To be young, male and black in America means not being allowed to make mistakes. Forgetting this, as we’ve seen so many times, can be fatal. The case of Michael Brown, who was laid to rest Monday, is anomalous only in that it is so extreme: an unarmed black teenager riddled with bullets by a white police officer in a community plagued by racial tension. African-Americans make up 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, Mo., but there are just four black officers on the 53-member police force—which responded to peaceful demonstrations by rolling out military-surplus armored vehicles and firing tear gas. It is easy to understand how Brown and his peers might see the police not as public servants but as troops in an army of occupation. And yes, Brown made mistakes. He was walking in the middle of the street rather than on the sidewalk, according to witnesses, and he was carrying a box of cigars that he apparently took from a convenience store. Neither is a capital offense.”

Breakfast Sides

Federal appeals panel questions proof-of-citizenship rules for voters. LA Times: “With state and national elections looming, the rhetoric turned up a notch at a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing Monday as the Kansas attorney general argued that the federal government was interfering with his and other states’ right to tightly control who votes. Both Kansas and Arizona have passed state requirements that voters must prove citizenship through a passport or birth certificate before they can register to vote. Lawmakers in those states say the measure is to prevent voter fraud. That rule is stricter than federal ones, which require a voter to merely affirm citizenship in writing. This difference has led to a constitutional showdown over states’ rights to regulate their own elections as well as criticism of the way the federal Election Assistance Commission operates.

Michigan Unions Brace for Teacher Opt-out Decision. ABC News: “Organized labor and pro-business groups are waging an intense lobbying campaign directed at school teachers who are deciding this month whether to remain in their union, in the first real test of the state’s new right-to-work law. Many of the 112,000 active educators and school workers in the Michigan Education Association can now leave the union and stop paying fees under the law that took effect last year. Other major unions, covered by multi-year contracts, won’t reach the opt-out point until 2015 or later. With the teachers given a 31-day window in August to decide, representatives for the state’s largest public-sector union are imploring them to stay or risk losing their clout in how schools are operated.”

Mexican president calls for immigration reform. SFGate: “ Mexico’s president spoke of the need for U.S. immigration reform on a two-day visit to immigrant-friendly California, saying those who reject diversity and inclusion will ultimately be proven wrong. ‘We want to be a factor of cohesion, not division, with full respect for the sovereignty of the United States,’ President Enrique Pena Nieto said Monday. ‘This, at the end, is about — and only about — a matter of justice for those who contribute so much to the development of the American society.’ Pena Nieto was welcomed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who played up his immigration credentials in a speech that highlighted the close cultural and historical ties they share across borders.”