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Now You Know

Teach Your Children Well?

California approves controversial new sex education curriculum, spotlighting a central question:

Who decides what your children learn & when?

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WHO’S DECIDES?

  • States (elected or appointed Boards of Ed) set curriculum standards & suggest framework on how to achieve these goals.
  • Districts will adopt state’s framework or develop their own.
  • Teachers create lesson plans & activities. EX: State sets reading standards; district requires 5th graders read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank‘; teacher assigns reading.
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CA’S NEW SEX ED

  • Board of Education voted on 700-page framework for statewide health curriculum for the next 10 yrs. Topics incl. smoking, depression & sex education.
  • Sex ed. is controversial. Ex: guidance for teachers on how to talk about gender identity to kindergartners and a suggested book about sex for high-schoolers critics call “obscene.”
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“It’s just scary what they are going to be teaching. It’s pornography.”

Patricia Reyes, mother to 6 children, is against the new curriculum. While the public had a chance to weigh-in on the proposal, the Board of Education, appointed by the governor, had the final vote. The framework passed but the Board suggested several books for removal from suggested curriculum, including one that apparently described sex to kindergarten - third graders.
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“Withholding medically accurate, scientific information from them actually causes more harm and does not actually protect innocence.”

Michele McNutt, a registered nurse, has two daughters in public schools and supports the new curriculum arguing specific, accurate information some may argue is "graphic" will help her children and other students make good choices.
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Important To Know:

  • State framework provides guidance to school districts on what to teach; it is not required.
  • Districts that don’t adopt framework can create their own sex ed. to meet state standards.
  • Students can opt-out of some lessons, but not ones on legal issues approved by state (ex: gender identity discrimination, same-sex marriage).
Now You Know

Half of U.S. states require sex education in schools. All but seven states allow parents to opt-out on their child's behalf. What do you think about sex education in public schools? How much say should the public have over what is taught in public schools?

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ON THE MOVE

Over the last week, the U.S. Navy has made its presence known.

Do you know where your warships are?

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SOUTH CHINA SEA

  • Two guided missile destroyers were sent to patrol near disputed islands “to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways as governed by international law” on Monday (U.S. Navy 7th Fleet).
  • Backstory: China continues to claim territory & waterways the U.S. and others dispute. U.S & China engaging in trade talks.
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MIDDLE EAST

  • Early deployment of carrier strike group (approx: 7,500 sailors, aircraft carrier & several ships)
  • “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack…” Nat’l Security Advisor John Bolton.
  • Backstory: U.S. cites unspecified threats; 1-yr anniversary of U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal.
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SOUTH AMERICA

  • Navy hospital ship will deploy in June in response to humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
  • “The rising desperation in Venezuela has fueled a mass exodus, the likes of which we have never seen in the Western Hemisphere.” VP Mike Pence.
  • Backstory: Opposition leader Juan Guaidó challenges current leader Maduro; future uncertain.
Now You Know

The first official U.S. Navy Squadron set sail 1776; in 1777 it had 31 ships. Now the fleet boasts over 289, according to publicly available data.

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Highest Civilian Honor

PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM

Pres. Trump awarded the honor to golfer Tiger Woods.

The backstory on who qualifies for the award, and why it matters.

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“…tonight we are in the presence of a true legend.”

Pres. Trump about Tiger Woods who he calls a "global symbol of American excellence, devotion and drive" for his athletic & charitable achievements. Woods just won the Masters for a fifth time, coming back from professional injuries & personal challenges, including high-profile infidelity as well as an arrest for driving under the influence. He's considered the 2nd greatest golfer of all time (after Jack Nicklaus who also received the honor).
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Tiger Woods

“You’ve seen the good and the bad, the highs and the lows…I’ve battled.”

  • Youngest to win the Masters (1997) at 21; first African-American & Asian-American to win.
  • One of the oldest athletes to win the Masters (2019) at 43.
  • For 20 years, Woods’ TGR Foundation has provided $$ & programs for teachers & students.
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Origins of Award:

  • 1945: Pres. Truman wanted a way to honor civilians during WWII.
  • 1963: Pres. Kennedy expanded award to include cultural achievements; his chosen recipients were still honored after his assassination. Pres. LBJ also honored Pres. Kennedy w/the award posthumously.
  • POTUS has discretion on who gets award.
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How Do You Qualify?

“especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The White House. Pres. Trump awarded 7 Americans the Medal of Freedom last November, including several posthumously, like Elvis Presley & Babe Ruth.
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Past recipients include: Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Rosa Parks, Gloria Estefan, Gloria Steinem, Pat Summitt (well-known Univ. of Tennessee women's basketball coach) & Joan Cooney, TV producer, who helped create "Sesame Street."

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24 & COUNTING…

If you can’t keep track of who’s running for President, you’re not alone!

Here’s a closer look at the two dozen candidates currently in the race.

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6 WOMEN

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • Marianne Williamson (self-help author)

CONTEXT: No woman has ever served as president, but 15 other women have run for the office.

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3 VETERANS

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN) – served in Afghanistan
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) – served in Iraq
  • Rep. Seth Seth Moulton (D-MA) – served in Iraq

CONTEXT: 29 presidents served in the U.S. Military.

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5 MAYORS

  • Fmr. Mayors: Cory Booker (D-Newark, NJ), Julián Castro (D-San Antonio, TX), & John Hickenlooper (D-Denver, CO),
  • Current Mayors: Wayne Messam (D-Miramar, FL), & Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN)

CONTEXT: Three mayors went on to become president.

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3 GOVERNORS

  • Fmr. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
  • Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA)
  • Fmr. Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA)

CONTEXT: 17 governors went on to become president, most recently Pres. George W. Bush.

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7 CURRENT SENATORS

  • Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO)
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

CONTEXT: 16 senators went on to become president, most recently Pres. Barack Obama.

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4 CURRENT MEMBERS
House of Representatives

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), & Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

CONTEXT:  19 House members went on to become president, most recently, Pres. George H.W. Bush (who served as CIA Dir. & Amb. to China before his presidential run).

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5 Would-Be Oldest U.S. Presidents

  • Fmr. VP. Joe Biden (currently 76)
  • Fmr. Sen. Mike Gravel (currently 88)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (currently 77)
  • Pres. Donald Trump (currently 72)
  • Fmr. Gov. Bill Weld (currently 73)

CONTEXT: In 2017, at 70, Pres. Donald Trump became the oldest sworn into office for a first term.

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4 Would-Be Youngest U.S. Presidents

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg (currently 37)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (currently 38)
  • Rep. Seth Moulton (currently 40)
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (currently 38)

CONTEXT: In 1901, Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest U.S. president when he was sworn into office at 42 after assassination of Pres. McKinley.

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As of today, there are two Republican presidential candidates (fmr. MA Gov Bill Weld is challenging Pres. Trump for the GOP nomination) & 22 Dem. presidential candidates. Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz, an independent, remains undecided about officially entering the race.

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Endangered?

 

 

 

The tallest mammals…have a shrinking population.

Should giraffes join the list of America’s endangered species?

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“There’s a big concern that it’s becoming the new ivory.”

Tanya Sanerib, Center for Biological Diversity, who helped write a petition with other conservation groups in order to add giraffes to America's endangered species list. The petition, filed 2 years ago, cites a 40% decline in giraffe population due to hunting and shrinking habitat. In the last decade, the U.S. imported 20,000+ giraffe "products" such as bone carvings & 3,700+ trophies.
Now You Know

How You Make “The List”:

  • Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service maintain federal lists of threatened wildlife.
  • Anyone can petition either agency to nominate species.
  • Endangered Species Act: Gives federal money (your tax $$) for conservation & restricts imports to limit the market for the animals and their “products.”
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“…it is a bad bargain for the giraffe.”

Safari Club International, a non-profit that promotes hunting & wildlife conservation, says placing giraffes on the endangered species list will lead to "reduced habitat protection, less funding for anti-poaching and fewer benefits for the rural people..." They argue legal hunting helps local economies & conservation efforts, and that 98% of U.S. "hunting imports" come from countries with legal hunting, where giraffe populations are thriving.
Now You Know

Conservation groups say fewer giraffes are left in Africa than elephants: an est. 97,500 vs. 160,000+ compared to 30 years ago. BTW: Giraffes eat, on average, 75 lbs of food a day. Their predator, a male lion, eats between 17 & 18 lbs a day.

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Should We Amend The Constitution?

Today, Congress will hold the first hearing on the Equal Rights Amendment in 36 years.

Will it become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

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“Women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

On March 22, 1972, Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment in order to make gender equality a fundamental right. Ultimately, it was NOT added to the U.S. Constitution because not enough states ratified (approved) it.
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Equal Rights Amendment

  • Introduced in 1923, three years after women got the right to vote.
  • Congress passed it in 1972 & gave the states 10 years to ratify.
  • By 1982, it fell 3 states short of the 3/4 of states required to add to constitution. Still, states have considered it over the years.
  • To date, it has been ratified by 37 of the 38 states needed, but some rescinded their ratification.

 

 

Now You Know

Do We Need It?

  • Arguments on both sides.
  • Equality of the sexes is NOT guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, although the 14th Amendment guarantees “equal protection” of the laws to all.
  • Equality of the sexes is protected under a series of state & federal laws (ex: Equal Pay Act). Laws can be overturned more easily than constitutional amendments.
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“Every constitution written since the end of World War II includes a provision that men and women are citizens of equal stature. Ours does not… We just have the equal protection clause, which everyone knows was not meant in the 1860s to change anything with regard to women’s status. Women didn’t get to vote until 1920.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2005.
Now You Know

“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”

The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 2011 when asked whether the 14th Amendment (equal protection clause) outlaws sex discrimination.
Now You Know

Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 2018. 13 states (AL, AZ, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, MO, NC, OK, SC, UT, VA) have not. Ratification efforts recently failed in VA earlier this year; other states are considering it.

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A TOTAL DRAG

Both Democrats & Republicans want to fix a challenge facing 1 out of 5 Americans and impacting the entire nation:

Student loan debt.

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How Big Is The Problem?

Bigger than car loan or credit card debt: $1.5 trillion

“It’s a drag on the economy. It’s money not being spent on building up savings, buying homes, or starting businesses.”

Sheila Bair, fmr. chair of FDIC, said in 2016 speaking about parallels of student loan debt & the mortgage crisis: easily accessed loans not easily paid back.
Now You Know

“We’re not just talking about kids and millennials. It impacts a large swath of our population.”

Persis Yu, attorney for the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center. Recent college graduates carry the most student loan debt, but 60 years old+ are the fastest growing age group of borrowers. The avg. amount of debt by college grads? Just under $40,000.
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POLITICAL SOLUTIONS?

  • Monday: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a plan to forgive the first $50K of student debt (a big deal since most carry under $50,000 of loans); paying for it by taxing wealthy.
  • Pres. Trump’s admin proposed limiting federal $$ for college loans, streamlining repayment options & forgiving student loan debt in some cases after 15 years.
Now You Know

Something To Consider:

  • Tuition has more than doubled in the last 20 yrs – increasing 8x faster than wages (Forbes).
  • A critique of both Republican & Democrat plans: strategies don’t incentivize colleges to offer cheaper tuition.
  • Why It Matters: Tuition can continue to increase, along with debt, with no end in sight, despite help for borrowers.
Now You Know

Those with a college degree have a lower unemployment rate than those with a high school diploma, just one reason some argue student debt is "good" debt to carry. Several presidential candidates have proposals for alleviating the burden. Read more about their plans on our source page.

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IMPEACHMENT 101

To Impeach Or Not Impeach?

As Democrats debate what to do in the wake of the release of the Special Counsel’s report, here’s what you should know about impeaching a U.S. president.

Now You Know

“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. The founders purposely left 'high crimes" open-ended for Congress to decide. Consequently, the power of removing the U.S. President falls to the people's representatives.
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How It Works:

  • The House of Representatives can vote for impeachment, but only the Senate can convict.
  • House Judiciary Cmte. drafts “articles of impeachment” (charges); simple majority is needed to impeach in the House.
  • The Senate holds impeachment proceeding (trial). Conviction (removal from office) requires a 2/3 supermajority (67 of 100).
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KNOW THIS:

  • No U.S. president has EVER been impeached AND removed from office; 2 have been impeached by the House.
  • Pres. Bill Clinton (1998) impeached for obstruction of justice & lying under oath; 22 votes shy of Senate conviction.
  • Pres. Andrew Johnson (1868) impeached on 11 charges; 1 vote short of conviction by Senate.
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Did You Know?

  • Pres. Richard Nixon wasn’t impeached. The House Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment, but he resigned before the full House voted.
  • Pres. Bill Clinton served for more than two years after he was impeached by the House. Republicans lost public support & seats in the House during the impeachment process.
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“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a letter to House Democrats Monday before a conference call. As Pres. Clinton's example shows, pursuing impeachment has potential political risks 18 months ahead of another election.
Now You Know

Impeachment is not limited to the Executive Office. While no U.S. president has ever been officially impeached AND removed from office, 8 federal officials (all judges) have. Do you think Democrats will attempt to impeach Pres. Trump? Should they?

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DREADED DAY

$2,833

Average tax refund *so far* this year according to the IRS.

Why that number matters and how April 15th become such an infamous day in America.

Now You Know

What to Know:

  • April 15th tax deadline dates back to 1955. It’s more or less, an arbitrary date.
  • Historically, last year’s taxes have been due in March/April to give folks time to prep.
  • Taxes are NOT certain like death (sorry Ben Franklin); Americans voluntarily file taxes as part of our “civic duty.” If you don’t? Expect penalties or even prison time.
Now You Know

Your Tax Refund

  • Avg. amount of refund is $2,833 – about $30 less than last year.
  • That’s approx. $6B fewer refunds.
  • Why It Matters: The avg. refund did not drop significantly as some expected with new tax policy. But latest data shows, total amount of $$ returning to public IS lower, so likely fewer receiving refunds.
Now You Know

Why It Matters:

“…refunds influence the timing of household spending.”

UBS analysis on retail spending. There's some debate about the overall impact of tax filings/refunds. Some believe fewer refunds will undoubtedly impact the economy in the short term as people feel less "rich." Others say Americans benefited from the new tax policy throughout the year.
Now You Know

In an ideal scenario, you would NOT get a tax refund (even though it feels good when you do!). Receiving a refund means you overpaid in taxes during the year; you're only getting your own money back, although it's without interest!

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BORDER BATTLE

Fast-moving developments at the U.S. Southern Border this weekend as a new leader takes over America’s Dept. of Homeland Security.

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FRIDAY

“Our resources are extremely strained … Just this year, fiscal year 2019, we have identified 193 ‘fake families’ — people who are just teaming-up, kids with them, to come through because they know that they can get a court day later and be able to get released.”

Gloria Chavez, U.S. Border Patrol, speaking to Pres. Trump during his visit to the Southern Border.
Now You Know

On The Same Day…

  • Justice Dept.: it may take up to 2 years to review cases of children separated at the border between 2017-2018.
  • Most of the children have been reunited with families, but not necessarily to their parents.
  • ACLU says the time frame to review cases is unacceptable.
  • Gov’t Watchdog: Number of children separated still unknown.
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SATURDAY

  • President Trump announces on twitter “another 750 agents” headed to U.S. Southern Border.
  • Customs & Border Protection details a suspected smuggling operation. A minivan with 11 people did not stop when asked by border patrol. Chase followed; 2 people ejected from vehicle died. The driver was a U.S. citizen; identities of others not released.
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SUNDAY

  • Pres. Trump announced Kevin McAleenan, Customs & Border Protection commissioner will now lead Dept. of Homeland Security.
  • Why This Matters: McAleenan recently held a press conference to garner national attention for what he called “unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis” due to a surge of illegal border crossers.
Now You Know

While the numbers of border apprehensions have grown in recent months, we still don't have the exact numbers of border apprehensions in March. The now acting head of DHS said ten days ago it was tracking to be the highest number in a decade.

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President Trump’s Taxes

As Americans approach the deadline to file their taxes…another attempt surfaces to see the President’s.

Why this time is different…
&
Why It Matters

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What’s the Latest?

  • Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) is requesting 6 years of President Trump’s taxes, but he’s not asking the Pres. for them.
  • His argument: Congress has the job of oversight (making sure programs work). The IRS audits the taxes of sitting elected leaders, but Congress doesn’t know if the IRS does a good job. Rep. Neal wants to check.
Now You Know

“This request is about policy, not politics; my preparations were made on my own track and timeline, entirely independent of other activities in Congress and the Administration. My actions reflect an abiding reverence for our democracy and our institutions, and are in no way based on emotion of the moment or partisanship.”

Chariman Neal, House Ways & Means
Read The Letter
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“While the committee has jurisdiction over taxes, it has no power to conduct its own examination of individual taxpayers… His request is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech.”

Lawyer William Consovoy who represents the President.
Lawyer's Letter
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BIG PICTURE

New attempt at an old request.

  • Democrats have wanted Pres. Trump’s taxes since before the 2016 election, to expose discrepancies in his reported wealth or conflicts of interest.
  • The IRS regularly audits the taxes of Presidents & VPs. Fun fact: their returns are required to be securely kept in orange folders.
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What You Should Know:

  • Your taxes are confidential, but the IRS can share your info in certain circumstances such as for background checks.
  • Legally, Pres. Trump does not have to reveal his tax returns.
  • Pres. candidates have voluntarily disclosed their tax returns (in some form) since 1980.
  • Lawmakers don’t have to release their taxes.
Now You Know

The Pres' attorney says if the IRS provides Congress with POTUS' taxes it will set "a dangerous precedent" using "tax returns as a weapon to attack, harass, & intimidate their political opponents." What do you think? Should every politicians (not just presidents) disclose their taxes?

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WHO OWNS WHAT YOU POST?

From covering crimes to celebrity headlines, social media plays a starring role in the news & our lives.

A closer look at what happens to your personal photos and video…once you hit “post.”

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YOUR RIGHTS

  • Under U.S. copyright law, you OWN the photos & videos you post.
  • *BUT* when you post them, you grant YouTube, Facebook and Instagram a broad license to use that content w/o your explicit permission (because technically speaking, you already granted it when you signed up & agreed to the terms and conditions).
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THEIR RIGHTS

HOWEVER, those licenses aren’t entirely unlimited. While YouTube, Facebook & Instagram can’t do whatever they want with it, they can:

  • use, reproduce, and distribute it
  • store, copy, modify, and share it

In other words, they can use your photos/videos to promote their biz, and share it with their biz partners.

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Closer Look At Those Terms & Conditions

  • worldwide = their rights exist globally
  • non-exclusive = their rights are shared with you and others
  • royalty-free = they don’t have to pay you a dime
  • transferrabble = they can share or sell their rights to others, like their successors or affiliates
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The Other Fine Print

  • Just as we agree for them to use our content when we sign up, we *also* agree to their “community standards” (ex: no nude posts). So, they can freely limit (ie: remove or block) content they deem in violation w/o a heads up.
  • Your First Amendment right to free speech applies to gov’t censorship – NOT social media b/c they are private companies.

 

Now You Know

Remember: even when you delete your content or even your account, your shared content on family/friends pages remains “alive” and well! Bottom Line: Once you post, it's hard to control your content.

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