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Big Polluters: Avoiding Taxes For The Good Of Society?

Money has a way of corrupting people even the most righteous and honest people on earth. It has a way of making people succumb themselves to unethical decisions for the purpose of greed. Money is not only a means of payment for items but it is also the root cause for the downfall of countless individuals.

Corporate oil companies are examples of individuals that have been severely lacking in good. In recent years, there have been a number of oil spills. The most recent one is the BP oil spill in the gulf. Even though blame cannot be placed on it for the incident occurring in the first place, BP needs to be held responsible for their lack of commitment to the environment to completely fund for the clean up of the mess. Oil is still present in the gulf one year later. Plants have all withered away and animals have either died or fled their once previous homes. There were numerous endangered species living in the locations most affected by the oil spill. Thousands of people have sacrificed countless hours and labor working for years to rebuild the populations of these species. Now their numbers are basically almost the same as before any effort was made to rebuild. All the hard work and time were for nothing.

Oil companies are not paying their fair share of taxes. BP just recently took a $10 million tax break in order to recover from the lost revenue of the oil spill. That amount alone would completely cover the entire budget of the EPA which is $9.5 million. The question that we have to ask ourselves is why are Americans allowing BP to go about business scotch free while others are suffering under their hands? The EPA had to undergo budget cuts just to stay afloat. The U.S. definitely needs the EPA more than we need another oil company. The EPA is what keeps the environment from becoming worse than it is already.

Thousands of potential tax revenue are not filed because oil companies have found numerous tax loopholes that consequently allows them to pay less than they were originally supposed to. Americans could have used that money to save thousands of jobs like teachers, police officers, firefighters who are now currently working for low pay or have been laid off. It should not be considered ethical that oil company executives are receiving bonuses and are taking lavish vacations while millions of people are working just to get by. These executives are no different than anyone else in the U.S. Therefore, they should be treated the same way as everyone else. Like everyone else, they should file their taxes honestly and fairly without finding loopholes in the tax system.

Money has become such a priority for the majority of the oil companies that they are willing to lie and cheat to make certain that they pay the least amount of taxes. It has brought about a change in the mindset of oil companies in regards to what is more important, from making ethical decisions that work towards promoting the common good of society to making decisions that produce as much money as humanly possible.

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Tim DeChristopher: What Millions Dream About

Not many people are extremely passionate for something they love. It is even more unlikely that many people would submit themselves to jail and give up their own freedom for the things they are passionate about. However, there are people who would do just that. One such person is Tim DeChristopher.

Tim DeChristopher is a 29 year old undergraduate economics student from the University of Utah. He is an environmental activist. On December 19, 2008, DeChristopher infiltrated a federal government oil and gas lease auction which was the final auction under the Bush administration. By pretending to be bidder number 70, he bought up to 13 leases totaling to 22,500 acres of land around the Arches and Canyonlands national parks. When security had finally pulled him out of the auction, DeChristopher ended up with $1.7 million in leases he had no way of paying for.

Of course, DeChristopher was arrested on the spot. He was charged with a federal crime of disrupting a government held auction. On March 3, 2011, DeChristopher was found guilty at a Salt Lake City federal courthouse on 2 felony counts by a jury consisting of 8 men and 4 women for disrupting a government auction. During his trial He was sentenced to 10 years in jail and $750,000 in fines.

Later when people asked him why he did it, he responded that his actions were a form of protest against the federal government. The protest was sparked when the government violated environmental laws by holding the auction. In these laws, they stated that lands that were being auctioned off were first and foremost reserved for the sole purpose of building parks. DeChristopher knew that by doing nothing, these lands would be mercilessly used for corporate companies own selfish needs. Thus resulting in the devastation of these lands and possibly the surrounding lands.

When the government obviously did not care and were not going to do anything about it, DeChristopher took action to ensure that these laws were upheld. If no one else was going to do it, who would? When asked DeChristopher does not regret doing what he did at the auction. Instead he is quite proud of himself for having done so. Without him, Arches and Canyonlands national parks would not be present today.

He recently was a guest speaker at Powershift 2011 which is an environment activist conference in Washington, D.C. At the conference 10,000 young individuals heard him say that even though they are saying what they are going to do, are they really going to follow through with what they say? This statement was meaningful in which it encouraged the individuals to reflect on themselves and actually take measures to make a difference in the world instead of saying what they are going to do. Instead of it all being just talk, it should be all action.

Tim DeChristopher is a hero in which he took action to protect the thing he loves which is the environment from the people who are harming it. He was not just all talk. He actually had the guts to do something. DeChristopher was not concerned with the fact that his actions would no doubtably result in his arrest and jail time. He did what millions of people only dream about.

Below is the speech that Tim DeChristopher made during Powershift

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Lindsay Lohan: A Danger To Society

Evil is the enemy of good. People can either be considered evil or good. One such evil person is Lindsay Lohan. She as an actress embodies the image of evil. Once a sweet and innocent actress, Lindsay has turned into a full blown drug addict and alcoholic.

Lindsay’s first major breakout role came in 1998 when she starred as the twin daughters of divorced parents in The Parent Trap. From that point on, she continued to star in a series of very successful movies. Among these movies are Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, and Herbie: Fully Loaded. In May 2006, Just My Luck opened in theatre starring Lindsay as one of the main leads.

From that point on, Lindsay’s life and career went downhill. After Just My Luck, Lindsay focused her attention on smaller roles in more mature independent films. During that time, she was hospitalized in 2006 for supposedly being “overhead and dehydrated”. Her relationship with the executives of the films that she was currently starring in were tense. One executive publicly called Lohan in a letter “irresponsible and unprofessional”. In the same letter, he also disclosed that Lohan would more than occasionally arrive late to set or not show up at all.

At this point, late night partying was a significant chunk of her life. As a result, Lohan began to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 2006. Late in January 2007, she checked herself in to the Wonderland Center rehabilitation facility and checked out on February 16. One by one, movie executives, not wanting to associate themselves with an out of control actress, began to replace Lindsay with more dependable actresses. In 2007, Lindsay was arrested multiple times for driving under the influence and was in and out of rehab.

Today, Lohan’s rap sheet is a mile long, mostly consisting of DUI and drug possession. She has been in rehab more times than can be counted. On August 23, 2007, Lindsay was sentenced for the first time to one day imprisonment for pleading guilty to cocaine use and driving under the influence. Recently in July of last year, the judge sentenced her to 90 days in jail for violating her probation. In the same court hearing, Lohan was pictured multiple times crying and pleading to her lawyer to do something. Also at this hearing, pictures showed the words f*** u printed on her middle left-hand fingernail. Those very words drew criticism from the public that Lohan was out of control and a danger to herself and to society.

Once a role model to young impressionable children, Lindsay with her long rap sheet has become an awful role model whom parents want their children to avoid at all cost. She has lost control of her life and her career. Currently, her career as an actress is down the tube until she can put an end to her addictions.

Hollywood has corrupted many young potential starts like Lindsay Lohan. Stars like Lohan were once full of potential who unfortunately were influenced by fame and the media. Consequently, they turned to drugs, alcohol, and parties. Currently, their lives are spiraling down unable to stop unless they themselves take measures to pick themselves up.

Below is a clip of Lohan at her July 2010 court hearing.

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Paul Rusesabagina: Refusal to Conform

In the darkest of days, a hero emerges from the darkness. A particular hero that did just this is Paul Rusesabagina. Despite enormous threat to his own life and amidst widespread bloodshed in the very nation that he called home, Paul chose to put the well-being of others before his own. In doing so, he refused to conform to the rules of his society.

 

The year was 1996. The day was April 6th. The country is Rwanda, a small African nation situated in the middle of the African continent. On that horrific day, a single attack on the plane carrying the Hutu Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana sparked a massive nation wide genocide between the nation’s two ethnic clans, the Hutu and the Tutsi. In the aftermath of the genocide, which lasted for 100 days, at least 800, 000 Rwandan men, women, and children were killed. Included in the death toll was not only Tutsis but also Hutu moderates who were seen as enemies of the Hutu government and critics of the genocide. No one was safe from the bloodshed. Unfortunately at the end of the genocide, the majority of the people who died were from a Tutsi background. Blood was smeared across the entire nation.

 

Prior to the emergence of the genocide, Paul Rusesabagina was an ordinary assistant manager of the Hotel des Milles Collines located in Kigali. While Paul himself is from a Hutu background, his wife is Tutsi. As the genocide commenced, Paul was appointed temporary manager of the hotel. The reason behind this sudden change of hands was because with Paul as manager, it would allow the former manager to flee the country. In addition since Paul was of Hutu descendent, he would be able to continue running the hotel without any difficulties.

 

Originally intending to just house his family in the very hotel that he worked in, the number of refugees that Paul housed as well as protected over the course of the chaos escalated. Each day that he continued housing the refugees proved to be more strenuous than the last. At the start of the genocide, the hotel had limited supplies of food, water, etc. available. As the days went by, its supplies were drastically depleting. Consequently, in order to proceed to house the refugees for how many days more, Paul was forced to ration the remaining supplies among the inhabitants of the hotel and find alternative supplies.

 

Along with the strain of trying to keep everyone alive, Paul also faced pressure from the Hutu government. Every day, Hutu soldiers/officials constantly pressured Paul to permit them access to search and seize Tutsi refugees. Wanting to protect the welfare of the refugees who placed their very lives in his hands and to prolong the search for another day, Paul continuously bribed the Hutu soldiers/officials with wine and money. Luckily after days and days of unsuccessful attempts to find safe passage to neighboring countries, Paul was able to obtain one for the refugees under his supervision, his family and himself. Ultimately, the 1268 refugees that were under his protection over the course of the genocide all survived the genocide thanks to the nurturance and determination of Paul.

 

As a result of his heroic act in 1996, Paul Rusesabagina received multiple international awards and prizes. Among the awards that he received was the Amnesty International’s Enduring Spirit, the Immortal Chaplains Foundation’s Prize for Humanity in 2000, and the Tigar Center’s Human Rights Award. On November 3, 2005 along with Oprah, Paul received the National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award.  On the 9th of that same month and year, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. Released in 2006, Paul’s memoir, An Ordinary Man, details his experience in the Rwandan genocide.

 

Even though countless number of people consider him a hero for risking his own life to save others, Paul regards himself as just an ordinary manager doing his job and no where close to being a hero.

 

Below is a clip of from the movie Hotel Rwanda, which details Paul’s experience during the genocide. The clip is when Paul and the refugees safely cross into a neighboring country.

 

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