Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and officially removed from Office. Dilma and her supporters continue to argue that she is innocent of any wrongdoing for her alleged role in transferring money from state-owned oil company Petrobras to hide a Budget deficit as part of an effort to bolster her reelection bid and to elicit funds for her reelection campaign as well as her attempt to shield her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from prosecution. As her impeachment is largely the result of political retaliation, Rousseff is more likely than not a victim of corrupt public officials who are abusing anti-corruption laws to seize power, but Dilma is now the past. Brazil needs to move forward with new leadership.
Brazil currently faces two major threats: economic recession and a political crisis fueled by the state of the economy and corruption. With 60% of Brazil’s Congressmen facing accusations of corruption, Dilma’s fall does little to solve massive corruption in Brazil. Clearly, corruption from the Rousseff administration could not be tolerated, but newly installed President Michel Temer and his allies are far worse. For violating campaign laws alone, Temer already cannot seek public office again for another eight years. As the ultimate lame duck President, Temer’s capacity to effectively govern is limited to managing Dilma Rousseff’s policies and ushering in new elections, which is not what Temer has planned.
School is starting for millions of college students and school children across the United States and around the world. Unfortunately, 72 millions youths throughout the globe do not have access to basic education while millions of students in developed countries, such as the United States, lack access to quality education, which means their ability to access opportunities, which might be available to them, will be limited. They will, in turn, be less likely to prosper in life. That said, a lack of quality education does more than simply deprive students of marketable skill sets; it also stunts them as people.
Hard skills like reading and arithmetic are generally considered the fundamental blocks of a quality education; however, schooling also provides a social learning environment. If we fail to address the need to create better “socializers” in education, society misses out on the “soft skills” that are needed to resolve social issues and conflicts. Given the growing civil discontent and the numerous armed conflicts seen around the world, there is a clear need for community leaders who have the “soft skills” that allow them to develop novel solutions to the world’s problems. The word needs more people with strong character to tackle the challenges of the modern age.
Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, provides medical care in some of the most desperate places on Earth. This often means sending workers into warzones where they can easily become ‘collateral damage’ or come face to face with homicidal militants, yet the organization does take steps to protect its workers. This is why the organization was compelled to issue blistering condemnation against the United States for its wrongful bombing of the Kunduz, Afghanistan hospital in 2015. It is also why the organization had to end operations in Northern Yemen under Saudi-Coalition bombardments, which have provoked harsh criticism of the US and its regional allies.
That said, the parents of humanitarian aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was tortured, raped, and killed while held captive by the Islamic State, have revealed that the leadership of Doctors Without Borders believes the organization had no “moral responsibility” to negotiate their daughter’s release, even as they secured the release of their own staff members. Mueller was not a MSF employee or contractor while she was not authorized to travel with her co-captives. Mueller made the decision to tag along with her boyfriend, who was contracted by Doctors Without Borders, so the organization probably should not be held legally responsibility for its failure to prevent unauthorized travelers from utilizing their vehicles in warzones.
Apple has ranked as the highest valued company in the world for years. In a bid to avoid paying its share for government services, which help keep the American and European economies stable for companies like Apple, Apple had allegedly made a special deal with Ireland to reduce its European tax burden to 2%. Although many argue international businesses should only be taxed where they earn their profits, Apple is also deferring US tax payments, which provides Apple with a monetary benefit akin to an interest-free loan not enjoyed by other US taxpayers, by declining to repatriate its overseas earnings. Apple has, however, utilized the US Treasury, at the expense of US taxpayers, in its defense against a $14.5 billion tax judgment.
To prevent free riders from utilizing “intra-national” competition to suppress tax rates and tax revenue to unsustainable levels, European Union members have agreed to bar tax-advantages and other state-aid that is not available to all businesses. Doing so prevents EU countries from undermining each others’ regulatory and tax capacity. This is similar to how commerce between the States in the United States is supposed to be protected. European Union members have also agreed to enforce this prohibition by requiring member nations to reclaim any taxes that should have been paid. These are the rules. The US Treasury should defend against the unfair targeting of US-based companies, but it must also hold companies like Apple accountable for taxes owed.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men…." wrote John Dalberg-Acton on April 5, 1887 in a letter to Mandell Creighton. While Lord Acton’s observation was aimed at the widespread view that the King and Pope were presumed to be above wrongdoing, his words resonate far and wide today in a world where the powerful appear to believe they are entitled to absolute impunity from their wrongdoing. As Lord Acton recognized, corruption is a product of human nature; therefore, the only means of overcoming corruption is to prevent the consolidation of power under one absolute leader.
Kings hold absolute political power in a monarchy and Popes hold absolute spiritual power in the Church, but they do not necessarily have absolute power. After all, power takes many forms, including political, academic, economic, ideological, theological, technological, and military power. By creating a strong legal system, educating people, and fostering a broad-base middle class, for example, separation of power can be ensured to a large degree. Unfortunately, abusive leaders and other power seekers continually strive to legitimize, consolidate, and solidify their power, which is why the Peoples of the world must recognize and confront the threat of corruption.
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