1.  If Marissa Alexander “stood her ground,” then why is she is jail?
While the debate about Florida’s Justifiable Force (aka “Stand Your Ground”) law rages on, the debate seems to be missing the story of what happens to people that really feel that they must use force to defend themselves.  One of those people is Marissa Alexander.  The 31-year-old mother is sitting in a jail cell in Duval County, the same county where Angela Corey (Trayvon Martin’s “special prosecutor”) heads up the local State Attorney’s office.  Although Marissa didn’t hurt or kill anyone, has a documented history of being a victim of domestic violence and was a lawful gun owner, she faces 20 years in prison for what she claims was a warning shot to defend herself against an abuser.  Is a mother of three really about to go to prison for 20 years for defending herself while not hurting anyone?  Find out on our show tonight as we talk to Marissa’s ex-husband and current advocate Lincoln Alexander and her sister Helena Jenkins.  You can also check the Change.org petition here.
2.  Do the rich pay their fair share in taxes?  If not, should they?
This week is tax week, and it is one of those times that we are reminded of just how much we pay in taxes.  Congress almost voted on the “Buffet rule” this week, inspired by billionaire Warren Buffet’s plea to his rich friends to pay a little more of what they owe.  But do the rich really skirt their responsibilities?  Do they really pay their fair share?  Find out as we talk to friend of the show,  economist Marshall Auerback and as well as the American Enterprise Institute’s Alex Brill.
3.  Remembering the BP Oil Spill
This week marks the two-year anniversary of the British Petroleum Oil Spill.  And while most Floridians are happy that they don’t have to swim in sludge, we aren’t quite sure what the long term impacts of the spill will be.  Join us as we talk to Dr. Doug Inkley, Wildlife Biologist and friend of the show Captain Dan Kipnis as we look at the long term impacts.

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By Subhash Kateel

Anytime I talk about a rich person or corporation that really sucks, I get a bunch of negative feedback.  I am usually reminded how said corporation or rich dude “does a lot” for the community and gives “tons” to charity.  That’s when I point out that drug dealers “do a lot” and give to charity too (a point I will repeat as often as needed).  As the Florida Republican primaries kicked into full gear and I try really hard to give a damn,  a whole set of conversations are popping off about how Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than much of the country.  Predictably, those conversations are promptly followed by some reminder of how much Mitt gives to charity.

If you look at his income tax returns, it is technically true.  He gave about $7 million (of his +$200 million net worth) over two years to tax deductible charitable institutions.  But as a few news outlets point out, a significant amount of that charitable giving resembles the ten percent tithe he is suppose to give to his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or the “Mormons” for short).  In case you don’t know, tithing is a centuries old religious practice requiring a person to give ten percent of something-livestock, grain, money or stocks- to a religious institution.  It has equivalents in Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism.  Way back in the day (until about the 19th century), when the church and the state often intertwined, tithing closely resembled taxes.
So is it sincere to consider tithes the same as charity?  That really depends on your religious and social beliefs. The funny thing is, some of my pro-Mitt friends that are the least religious are among the first to cite his charitable giving while defending his uncharitable tax rate.  Charity today implies that you voluntarily choose to give to something you believe in.  But historically, tithes were more a requirement, often enforceable by law (like when England raised money to fight the crusades).
Although most Americans in 2012 are not required to pay tithes (it was actually abolished in parts of Europe), in some churches it is still far from voluntary.  For Mormons, you must pay the ten percent in order to remain in “good standing” and participate in church practices.   If you’re Catholic, not tithing amounts to little more than being subjected to a sleep-inducing lecture by a priest at the end of Catholic mass. To be fair, although the Mormon Church is pound for pound one of the richest, it also boasts impressive charitable institutions and social welfare networks.  A Mormon friend once joked that for all the anti-socialist republicans in the LDS church, if it were a country, it would run more like Sweden than the United States (with a little more prayer and cake and a little less alcohol). 
In addition, even though Americans of all income brackets give a lot to charity, much of that giving is also through their religious institutions, making their giving not much different than Mitt’s.  But it doesn’t change the fact that if Mitt didn’t pay his ten percent, he would probably get more than a stern talking to from a Church elder.
It also doesn’t change the fact that even Mitt’s charitable giving reeks of someone making more of an investment decision than a donation.   For example, almost half of his donations were in appreciated assets (e.g. stock in Domino’s pizza).  Donating appreciated assets versus cash is an accountant’s trick that enables Mitt to deduct the higher value of the stock (rather than how much he paid for it) from his taxes rather than paying capital gains taxes on the increased value of the stock.  Smart bookkeeping?  Yes.  A sign of selfless giving? Eh… 
There are still people that point out that rich Mitt still gives a higher sum (even if not a higher percentage) to charity than the average American, so it must still be taken into higher consideration.  After all, charity-wise, it just pays for a lot more.  Once again, accepting that notion depends on your social and religious beliefs.  If you believe in Jesus, for example, you would notice that Jesus says very little about gay marriage or abortion, but specifically says in the Gospel that the poor giving out of their poverty is a higher attribute that the rich giving out of their abundance.
Does this make Mitt’s giving illegal?  No. As a general rule, I assume that the super-rich try to change the law before trying to break it.  As far as Mitt and our tax laws, that seems to be true.  But does Mitt’s giving count more than the cash-strapped working mother who saw the Haitian earthquake on TV, and dipped into her pockets to give immediately?    Does it matter more than the father who has two full time jobs and still volunteers at the local soup kitchen?
Growing up, virtually everybody I knew helped those around them that needed it, regardless of how much they themselves had.  You had the grandmother on a fixed income that still fed kids in the neighborhood that didn’t have much.  You had the atheist kid that hated church but still became a Big Brother.  You had the families that were struggling to survive and still took people in that lost their jobs or been evicted from their homes. You had the church folks that volunteered twice a week at charity events, bringing their bratty kids with them because they couldn’t afford childcare.  Studies show that, if anything, the poor give more of their money to charity than the rich. But the most charitable people I knew growing up didn’t even think about or wouldn’t even know how to deduct the things they did from their taxes.  If anything, some folks would feel embarrassed if anyone made a big deal of the things they did in the community.  Anytime they would get an accolade, they would simply say, “I’m just doing what people are suppose to do for each other.”
That doesn’t mean that all of the super-rich are super-greedy.  Nor does it mean that all of their charity work is a massive tax evasion scheme.  But as the public gets smart to the fact that the super-rich often get more welfare than the rest of us, there will be a public relations push to promote the “good things” the 1% do.   There are probably plenty of good super-rich people out there, but the super-rich don’t get to become super-good just because they do things that the rest of us feel that we are “suppose” to do anyway.   

Don’t forget to tune in to Let’s Talk About It! every Wednesday at 7pm right here.

Family!  If you missed the show, our blog will be up soon but if you missed the show, download it  here , or press play below…

1.  Are Casinos a Good or Bad Bet for Miami?  Listen to entrepreneur Norman Braman,  Dr. Gregory Bush (Prof. at University of Miami and blog Common Sense Miami), Oliver Gilbert III (Councilman of Miami Gardens and Member of Miami Dade Black Caucus), Mayor Cindy Lerner (Pinecrest) Prof. Robert Jarvis (Nova School of Law), Barry Johnson (Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce),  and make your decision.  Click here to download or press play below.

2. Should Corporations pay more for lobbyists than they do in taxes?  Listen to Tam Doan from the Public Campaign talk about their report as mentioned by Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren on the Daily Show two nights ago.  Click here or press play below

3.  Finally listen to Lynn Purvis of Occupy Palm Beach give an update on the GAIM conference and Jeff Weinberger of Occupy Fort Lauderdale update us about their anti-foreclosure work.  Click here or press play below.

Don’t forget to check back next Wednesday at 7pm to listen to our show!

In case you missed it, we had a great show with some real convo on the anniversary of the Iraq War and on the heels of a military intervention in Libya.  We spoke with Mike Prysner, Iraq war veteran and co-founder of March Forward!, a national organization of veterans and service members fighting to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We also spoke with Ian Thompson, an Attorney with Partnership for Civil Justice.  Perhaps just as lively was the conversation amongst the co-hosts on whether the intervention in Libya was the right or wrong thing to do.

But before that we talked about the push for a law to limit overall tax revenue be tied to inflation and population increases.  They call it TABOR (taxpayer bill bill of rights).  We talked TABOR with Carol Hedges, Director of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute who feels that TABOR tanked Colorado.  And we had a back and forth between Karen Woodall of the Florida Center For Fiscal and Economic Policy and Allen Douglas of the National Federation of Independent Business about whether TABOR was good or bad for Florida.

Check the show out by downloading here or press play below