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September 27, 2012

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Page 4 Free Press Thursday, September 27, 2012 h quest from anti-Islamic video Uprisings in the Middle East, sparked in Libya and Egypt have called into question the notion of free speech and its consequences. One of the big factors in the upris- ings, according to the U.S. government, has been a low-budget video made by a California filmmaker. The video was uploaded to YouTube a couple of months ago but only recently reached the region, and depicts the Muslim prophet Muham- mad in a negative light. Some protesters have spoken out against the government, despite its denouncing the film and af- firming no association to it in any way. YouTube, which hosts the video and blocked it in Libya and Egypt, is a private corporation, unassociated with the U.S. government. Videos posted on the site must conform to certain guidelines, that long list of things most of us don't bother to read when agreeing to a website's terms of conditions. But, if a video doesn't meet those terms, its content is flagged and will likely be taken down. The First Amendment provides protec- tion of freedom of speech, and ensures that government doesn't prohibit a citi- zen's right to that speech. Companies like YouTube, Facebook and Google, howev- er, arecorporate entities that aren't meant to be seen as guardians of free speech; it's not their first responsibility. Instead, those businesses are seeking a profit, provid- ing services thatattract vast numbers of online users who abide by their terms and conditions. Businesses online aren't meant to be enforcers of free speech, but rather owners of their own digital property. With this video, freedom of speech is under scrutiny once again and, thank- fully, time after time the Supreme Court has defended it. Enjoying the right of free speech comes with responsibility and tolerance for different opinions. Though many disagree with the message of West- boro Baptist Church, their right to free speech, in the form of public protests, must be protected. Freedom of speech also covers those who choose not to speak. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoef- and come home to family in the eve- fer, not to speak is to speak. Not to act is nings. to act. But, to spin a well-known phrase, with The freedom of choice and speech, the great power of freedom of speech that's the prime right guaranteed to us in comes great responsibility. There are the Bill of Rights. consequences to speech. If we're able Countries in the Middle East oper- to make public statements, we must be ate under a different set of government responsible to defend them and admit our models, many of which are theocratic in faults, should they come along. Many of nature. Religious leaders not only have an us can recall moments where friends, or influential role in the community, but in ourselves, have put messages on Twitter the government as well. or Facebook in an angry rush. In addition to unrest prompted by the As more information about the at- video, unemployment in the area alsotacks in Libya and Egypt arise, we can be needs consideration. The unemployment thankful for disagreements, particularly rate in Libya is somewhat difficult to civil ones. It's not our way to react vio- track down, but in the last known report lently to films. Even when the 2006 British in 2009, it was 20.7 percent. For citizens film "Death of a President" depicted the under 20 years old, however, it was fictional assassinatioh of President Bush, around 50 percent. Unemployment rates there weren't demonstrations against it. in Egypt have hovered between 8 and 12 Most chose to ignore the movie, if they " percent since 1999. even knew about it, opting for the more It must also be emphasized that the entertaining Robin Williams flick "Man of entire population of Libya or Egypt, or the Year." other countries involved in the unrest, It's our hope the United States contin- aren't taking part in the protests. Most ues to set the standard for free speech in of the country's citizenry have day jobs the world. Write to the Point There's more to Mitt Romney's controversial 47 percent comment than,meets the eye By JOHN McCALLUM Editor There is some light to be shined on Mitt Rom- nev's com- ments about ~ 47 percent of Americans before those comments are consigned to the historical dustbin. John McCallum holds, 60 percent paid federal pay- roll taxes supporting Medicare and Social Security, as well as federal excise taxes, state and local taxes and property and income taxes. More .... ~: than 38 million households didn't ~ ~i~[ earn enough money last year to have ~i~ .~," ~!i:i~ G~ any federal income tax liability and ~,,i" i'~i~ the rest were mostly low- to moder- ate-income families benefiting from specific tax deductions. "Those provisions include the exclusion Of some Social Security In surreptitiously recorded re- marks at a May $50,000-a-plate fundraiser obtained and published by Mother Jones magazine last week the Republican presidential candidate claimed 47 percent of Americans don't pay income taxes, support President Barack Obama and are "dependent upon govern- ment, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name it. That, that's an entitle- ment. And the government should give it to them." Romney's right on a couple of points. In a 2011 study the Tax Policy Center concluded 47 percent of Americans, actually 46.4, did not pay federal income taxes. But there's a lot we know about those people from that studv. Of those 76 million plus house- benefits from taxable income, the tax credit and extra standard deductions for the elderly, and the child, earned income and child care tax credit that primarily help low-income workers with children," Tax Policy Center scholar Roberton Williams wrote in 2011. In other words, almost half of those American households are too poor to pay or have enough exemp- tions keeping them from paying federal income taxes. They're not freeloading welfare recipients as some suggest. Second is Romney's claim all 47 percent support Obama. Politicfact. corn analyzed the center's data with a recent CBS News/New York Times poll and found that of households with incomes of $50,000 or less, 68 percent paid no federal income tax with Obama leading in' this group 58 percent to 37 percent. They also found that households with incomes of $50,000-$100,000,11 percent owed no federal income tax. Romney leads in this group 50-47 percent, and of households above $100,000, 2 percent paid no federal income tax, Romney leading here 57-41 percent. Also, among senior citizens, a group the poll found supports Romney 53-38 percent, 17 million paid no federal income tax in 2011 due to exemptions. Finally, the TaxFoundafionlooked at states with the highest percentages of non-income-tax paying residents and found states with the highest rates "are mostly ones that Romney has in the bag - Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina" while several states with the lowest rates are with Obama: Minnesota, Maryland and Massachusetts. So what we see is many millions of Americans paying federal income taxes will vote for President Obama while many millions of Americans paying no federal income taxes will vote for Romney. Finally, the remarks provide us with a true insight into Romney's belief system, and how he intends to govern the country should he win election. When the video became public Romney said he could have put his remarks more "elegantly," but I doubt that. He was talking to a private, intimate gathering of his own kind, people who paid as much for a plate of food as 50.1 percent of pursuit of happiness." To me it's That government is disappear- Americans make in a year. difficult to see how any of these can ing, thanks to the lobbying work of In Romney's view of the world be pursued withoutmechanisms for groups promoting the general wel- basic human needs like food, shel- fulfilling these basic human needs, fare of corporations - the $50,000- ter and health aren't natural rights, and one of those mechanisms is a-plate gang who think they're they're earned fights, government- government creating entitled to make a profit - over that The Declaration of Indepen-a level playing field for all to succeed of individuals. dence asserts there are "unalien- and extending assistance helping We're victims alright. And able" rights given to us by our those knocked down to get back maybe someday we'll see the "Creator" of "life, liberty and the into the game. light. /r,k TA'I'IOR, U.E TlqltlK C L BRI'PL COOL FREE PRESS Vol. 116-No. 23 Publisher Editor Press Production Manager Harlan Shellabarger John McCallum Randy Warwick Sales Reporters Pressmen Steve Barge Paul Delaney Mark Cordes Carol Campbell James Elk Ed Geary DeeAnn Gibb Becky Thomas Graphics Bookkeeper Front Office John Myers Debi Labish Rubi Geary Karen Robinette Rosa Lopez The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, James Eik. Bill lift, John McCallum. Harlan Shellabarger, Becky Thomas The Cheney Free Press is published every Thursday by the Free Press Publishing Company, William Ifft, president. Periodical postage paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. First Street, Cheney, Wash. 99004. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cheney Free Press, P.O. Box 218, Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. 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Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 email: cfp@cheneyfreepress,com online at www.cheneyfreepress.com Your Cheney Free Press editorial staff John McCallum Editor Main contact for anything regardin9 editorial coverage. Covers all Cheney High School sports. Eastem Washington University news. .imac @ cheneyfreepress.com Becky Thomas James Eil Paul Delaney Staff Reporter Staff Reporter Staff Reporter Covers all Cheney Covers all Medical Lake Covers all Medical Lake High government, community and government, community and School and Eastern Washing- school district news school district news as well ton University sports. Contact and events, as Airway Heights news. for miscellaneous sports. becky@c,~eneyfreepress, lames@cheneyfreepress~ pdelaney@cheneyfreepress. com corn com