When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Google Reader out of business as of July 1st

A reminder to those who may have let time slip away--Google Reader is being shut down Monday, July 1, 2013. What's a good replacement that will allow you to easily import your subscriptions from Google Reader before July 1st? I am trying out both the Digg and Feedly readers--and they both seem fine, so I recommend them to you for your consideration:



For those who just want to download their data from Google Reader (which you must do before July 1st): here are the instructions.

Lifehacker has a full review of alternative readers here. Good reading and goodbye Google Reader!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

NSA Surveillance: probably not very effective at stopping terrorism--but boy is it lucrative!

We know US government security work is lucrative--for the growing bureaucracy, its contractors, and workers (as the case of Edward Snowden tells us) and I'm sure the political contributions are huge which flow from the variety of business interests benefiting from all the feeding at the public trough, however none of that assures program "effectiveness"--so what is the ROI on our billions wasted on "security?"

Surveillance helped stop plots against NYSE and New York subway, official says - U.S. News

Money Quote: "Joyce said, however, that he could not pinpoint how important the surveillance programs were to stopping the (terroristic) plots."

Probable Meaning: "not very important" (but boy are they lucrative!)


Friday, June 28, 2013

NSA Chief Says? -- they are making it all up

Yes I watched the "dog and pony show" (otherwise known as The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) last week and I don't know anyone who watched it who believes this was anything other than a whitewash full of BS--(Rep. Mike Rogers et al were pathetic in their boot-licking)--

N.S.A. Chief Says Surveillance Has Stopped Dozens of Plots - NYTimes.com: " . . . The hearing was aimed at bolstering public support for surveillance programs after leaks by Edward J. Snowden . . . At the hearing, Mr. Thornberry asked Mr. Joyce whether the stock exchange attack was a “serious plot” or just “something that they kind of dreamed about.” Mr. Joyce replied, “I think the jury considered it serious, since they were all convicted.” However, Joshua L. Dratel, a lawyer for Mr. Hasanoff, called Mr. Joyce’s portrayal “astonishing” because none of the defendants was charged with the stock exchange allegation and there was no jury trial in any of the cases. . . . "

So much for the credibility of the NSA and FBI witnesses before the House Committee. As one commenter to the New York Times article cited above stated: "Saying doesn't make it so."

After this Congressional charade, I am beginning to give Edward Snowden the benefit of doubt, and take all of his assertions very seriously. At this point, he has more credibility than the NSA et al.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

How Terrorism Really Works

Wonder why al-Qaeda hasn't attacked the US since 9/11? It doesn't need to: the Bush administration and Obama administration, Congress and the Courts, became "tools" of al-Qaeda and have done more damage to the US than Osama bin Laden could have ever hoped. 100 years from now, this is how historians will say the US government lost the "war on terrorism"--

Dirty Bomb Blows Liberty - WSJ.com: "Here's how terrorism really works: Slaughter people on national TV, and watch a nation that prides itself on freedom as it shackles itself."


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

European Parliament Debate on US NSA Data Surveillance (video)

NSA surveillance has ramifications far beyond the US--well worth watching this C-SPAN video: (at link)
video link to European Parliament Debate on US NSA Data Surveillance
click on photo or link below for video

European Parliament Debate on NSA Data Gathering Programs - C-SPAN Video Library: "Members debated the implications of National Security surveillance of telephone and Internet records."


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

National Security Agency, The Spy Factory (video)

Watch The Spy Factory on PBS. See more from NOVA.
NOVA | The Spy Factory

Examine the high-tech eavesdropping carried out by the National Security Agency. Aired February 03, 2009 on PBS


Monday, June 24, 2013

3 NSA veterans support Snowden - "feel vindicated"

3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so: "Today, they feel vindicated. They say the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who worked as a systems administrator, proves their claims of sweeping government surveillance of millions of Americans not suspected of any wrongdoing. They say those revelations only hint at the programs' reach."


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Edward Snowden lands in Moscow, likely bound for Ecuador (video)

Edward Snowden lands in Moscow, likely bound for Ecuador - CBS News: "A former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing highly classified surveillance programs has landed in Moscow after fleeing Hong Kong.

Anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which claims it is helping Edward Snowden evade extradition to the U.S., said late Sunday in a statement that Snowden "is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.""


Snowden Leaves Hong Kong: The Plot Thickens

I have no idea where this saga is leading and little do we know what has been transpiring "behind the scenes."  Obviously Snowden has a "support network" which is global in scope--

Hong Kong lets Snowden leave in move bound to infuriate U.S. | Reuters: "A former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, charged by the United States with espionage, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday because the U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with the law, the Hong Kong government said. Edward Snowden left for Moscow on Sunday and his final destination may be Ecuador or Iceland, the South China Morning Post said, a move that is bound to infuriate Washington. . . ."

Obviously Snowden knows more than the rest of us as to where he is headed and why. I am surprised he left Hong Kong--I guess the Chinese government didn't want him around (perhaps they can handle only so much liberty in Hong Kong)--as Snowden is now a symbol of individual liberty against state power.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Edward Snowden's Sin: Exposing NSA Lies

Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero : The New Yorker: " . . . a couple of months ago, at a Senate hearing, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, one of the few legislators to sound any misgivings over the activities of the intelligence agencies, asked Clapper, “Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” To which Clapper replied: “No, sir.” (He added, “Not wittingly.”) At another hearing, General Keith Alexander, the director of the N.S.A., denied fourteen times that the agency had the technical capability to intercept e-mails and other online communications in the United States. Thanks to Snowden, and what he told the Guardian and the Washington Post, we now have cause to doubt the truth of this testimony. In Snowden’s words: “The N.S.A. has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”. . ."

Somebody is lying--Congress needs to find out who the liars are.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Silicon Valley Push Back on NSA Requests (video)

Video - Do Silicon Valley Companies Push Back on NSA Requests? - WSJ.com: "With more reports coming out about the government seeking user data from tech companies, some companies are trying to explain how they handle such requests. Jennifer Valentino-DeVries joins digits. "


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spurs vs Heat - Fans Weigh In (video)

Spurs vs. Heat: Fans Weigh In: "Fans take sides ahead of the N.B.A. finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat." (video above)

Prediction: Heat win it in Game 7 (9 pm - ABC TV)


The Loss of Trust in Government

Peggy Noonan nails it-

Noonan: Privacy Isn't All We're Losing - WSJ.com: " . . . . the surveillance state will in time encourage an air of subtle oppression, and encourage too a sense of paranoia that may in time—not next week, but in time, as the years unfold—loosen and disrupt the ties the people of America feel to our country. "They spy on you here and will abuse the information they get from spying on you here. I don't like 'here.'" Trust in government, historically, ebbs and flows, and currently, because of the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, Benghazi, etc.—and the growing evidence the executive agencies have been reduced to mere political tools—is at an ebb that may not be fully reversible anytime soon. It is a great irony, and history will marvel at it, that the president most committed to expanding the centrality, power, prerogatives and controls of the federal government is also the president who, through lack of care, arrogance, and an absence of any sense of prudential political boundaries, has done the most in our time to damage trust in government." (read more at  link above)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Biden vs Obama on NSA spying (video)

Biden in 2006 schools Obama in 2013 over NSA spying program -- Watch then-Senator Joe Biden from 2006 as he directly refutes each point made by his boss, President Obama, about the NSA surveillance program at his news conference last week.
Read more here: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06...

Thank you EFF for "framing the debate."


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Secret Courts Enable Unconstitutional Spying

In 2008, a ruling by a surveillance court said to be against Yahoo discouraged technology firms from fighting data requests from the government. (source infra)

How can you have a "Secret Court" issuing "Secret Court Orders" in a "free country?"

Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind - NYTimes.com: "In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo’s top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional. The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law. So Yahoo became part of the National Security Agency’s secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, according to leaked N.S.A. documents, as did seven other Internet companies.Like almost all the actions of the secret court, which operates under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the details of its disagreement with Yahoo were never made public beyond a heavily redacted court order, one of the few public documents ever to emerge from the court. The name of the company had not been revealed until now. Yahoo’s involvement was confirmed by two people with knowledge of the proceedings. Yahoo declined to comment. . . ."

Big Brother Lives! (through Secret Courts, Secret Court Orders, Dysfunctional Presidency and Executive Branch, Dysfunctional Congress).


Monday, June 17, 2013

Think You've Got Nothing To Hide? Better Think Again

Anytime you hear this mantra--it's OK to violate the Constitution (domestic spying etc.), because I have nothing to hide--you can be sure that the person is either naive, stupid, or has an agenda--

If You've Got Nothing To Hide, You've Actually Got Plenty To Hide | Techdirt: " . . . First up, we've got Moxie Marlinspike at Wired, who points out that, you're wrong if you think you've got nothing to hide, because our criminal laws are so crazy, that anyone sifting through your data would likely be able to pin quite a few crimes on you if they just wanted to. . . ." (read more at links above)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Obama: “All I Care About Right Now is Political Fund Raising”

OK, Obama really didn't say that, but actions speak louder than words--

Obama: “All I Care About Right Now is Governing” | The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier" . . . “And so what that means is I think you can have confidence that all I care about right now is governing.” But Obama’s actions would appear to say otherwise. With the three fundraisers he attended Wednesday – one in Boston for the Senate campaign of Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and two in Miami Beach for the Democratic National Committee – Obama’s total for 2013 already tops the number George W. Bush did for the entire year in 2005. According to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who tracks presidential political activity, Bush did 15 events in 2005, three less than Obama has already done. Obama has hosted eight fundraisers – more than half Bush’s 2005 total – in just the past two weeks. The two years are comparable because Bush was also in the first year of his second term and raising money ahead of the following year’s midterm elections."

But when the only things at which one is competent are making speeches and fund-raising, what do you expect? As for "governing" . . . .


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Protesters rally in Hong Kong to support Snowden

Rise of the free city-state?

Protesters rally in Hong Kong to support Snowden: "Maverick Hong Kong lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung called US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping "twin brothers" when it comes to Internet spying. "The most important thing is in defending Mr Snowden. If he can be extradited and be punished, who will be the second whistleblower?" he told AFP. So far the United States has not filed a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, a former British colony that retained its separate legal system when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997." (more at link above)


NSA leaker Ed Snowden used banned thumb-drive -- LOL

You can't make this stuff up--

NSA leaker Ed Snowden used banned thumb-drive, exceeded access - Washington Times: "Questions were raised Friday about security procedures at the ultra-secret National Security Agency, after it emerged that Edward Snowden, the contract employee who leaked details of the agency’s broad-scale data gathering on Americans, exceeded his authorized access to computer systems and smuggled out Top Secret documents on a USB drive — a thumb-sized data storage device banned from use on secret military networks. “He should not have been able to do either of those things” without setting off alarm bells, said one private sector IT security specialist who has worked on U.S. government classified networks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivities of his current employer."

Billions and billions of taxpayer dollars spent (wasted is more like it), and the NSA can't prevent or stop a "contract worker" from stealing Top Secret documents on a USB thumb drive?

I feel so "secure," don't you?


Friday, June 14, 2013

EU vs US -- relationship amid PRISM spying claims

These concerns could see MEPs vote on the suspension of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement, which allows data to flow between the two continents under the premise that receiving U.S. companies will treat the European data as if it was still within the EU. In Reding's letter, she confirmed that the Safe Harbor scheme is currently under review in the EU legislative process. (source infra)

Forget Snowden, China, Hong Kong et al--this may become really bad news for Obama, the NSA, US companies--

EU 'assessing U.S. relationship' amid PRISM spying claims | ZDNet: "Reding's letter, dated June 10, which contains some sternly worded language, states that she has "serious concerns" about the reports that U.S. authorities are accessing EU citizens' data through U.S. companies. "The respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law are the foundations of the EU-US relationship. This common understanding has been, and must remain, the basis of cooperation between us in the area of Justice," she said."


Thursday, June 13, 2013

IRS economic headwinds

You make it difficult to comply, or engage in administrative, bureaucratic harassment, guess what? They stop doing business with you, stop investing in your "domain," or avoid having anything to do with you. If Obama really wanted jobs--he could start by having his administration remove or reform regulations that are barriers to investment and more jobs--

RAHN: IRS troubles go global - Washington Times: "The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is already causing many foreign financial institutions to cease investing in the United States or accepting clients with any U.S. connection. Eventually, this regulation may cost the country trillions of dollars in lost foreign investment and millions of lost U.S. jobs. Yet the IRS and Treasury failed to do an independent and serious cost-benefit analysis of the regulation as required. Private-sector executives who fail to do such an analysis could be fired or fined for failing to carry out their fiduciary responsibility." (read more at link above)


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Edward Snowden Told Us

Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero : The New Yorker: " . . . what did the leaks tell us? First, they confirmed that the U.S. government, without obtaining any court warrants, routinely collects the phone logs of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of Americans, who have no links to terrorism whatsoever. If the publicity prompts Congress to prevent phone companies such as Verizon and A.T. & T. from acting as information-gathering subsidiaries of the spying agencies, it won’t hamper legitimate domestic-surveillance operations—the N.S.A. can always go to court to obtain a wiretap or search warrant—and it will be a very good thing for the country. The second revelation in the leaks was that the N.S.A., in targeting foreign suspects, has the capacity to access vast amounts of user data from U.S.-based Internet companies such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Skype. . . ."

That's it.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Virtual currency con games

I came across the following in my daily reading:

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Issues Guidance on Virtual Currency | Pillsbury Social Media, Entertainment & Technology Team - JDSupra: "FinCEN recently issued interpretive guidance to clarify that it views certain activities involving convertible virtual currencies as money transmission services under the Bank Secrecy Act and FinCEN regulations. If your business involves creating, obtaining, distributing, exchanging, accepting, or transmitting virtual currencies, you may be subject to FinCEN's registration, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements." 

'Virtual' Currencies Draw State Scrutiny - WSJ.com: "The new scrutiny comes at the same time federal regulators are attempting to rein in illegal activities made easier by virtual currencies. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, a unit of the Treasury Department, in March issued guidelines that said virtual currency exchanges are subject to the same comprehensive anti-money-laundering requirements as traditional money-transmission businesses such as Western Union Co. and encouraged them to register with the agency."

My opinion--virtual currency is crap! I don't care if it is "bitcoin" or whatever. Don't waste your time (or money) with virtual currencies of any kind, type, etc. The US Dollar is still king and will be for the foreseeable future--and I would be the first to concede that Washington hasn't been a good steward of the Dollar, particularly during the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama administrations--but, nonetheless, globally, it is the currency of choice. So if you live in the US, hold US dollars and forget the rest. If you live elsewhere, hold your local currency and some US dollars "just in case." And if you're paranoid? Then add to your local currency/US dollars stash, some gold (just enough you could carry in your pocket), and if you must "diversify" into other currencies--I wouldn't hold anything other than Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, and British pounds. That's it.


Monday, June 10, 2013

All about the NSA PRISM and more

UPDATE 1-U.S. surveillance revelations deepen European fears of Web giants | Reuters: "Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish software security firm F-Secure, said outrage was the appropriate response to the U.S. revelations. "What we have in our hands now is the first concrete proof of U.S.-based high-tech companies participating with the NSA in wholesale surveillance on us, the rest of the world, the non-American, you and me," he said."

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance | World news | guardian.co.uk

Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data | World news | guardian.co.uk

PRISM: Here's how the NSA wiretapped the Internet | ZDNet

New NSA tool to quantify, track intelligence collection revealed – live | World news | guardian.co.uk

Sources: NSA sucks in data from 50 companies - The Week

How to secure and encrypt your email and other communications from PRISM and the NSA.

Tech Companies Concede to Surveillance Program
Negotiations with the government shed a light on how Internet companies like Facebook and Google interact with the spy agencies that look to their vast trove of information.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

US surveillance revelations are kiss of death for US tech firms

"The U.S. government must provide clarity regarding these monstrous allegations of total monitoring of various telecommunications and Internet services," said Peter Schaar, German data protection and freedom of information commissioner. "Statements from the U.S. government that the monitoring was not aimed at U.S. citizens but only against persons outside the United States do not reassure me at all," he said. . . ." (source: Reuters infra)
We've only seen the beginning of this--my guess is that more than one Silicon Valley giant will now consider moving its corporate headquarters outside of the US like Aon did--

UPDATE 1-U.S. surveillance revelations deepen European fears of Web giants | Reuters: "Europeans reacted angrily on Friday to revelations that U.S. authorities had tapped the servers of Internet companies for personal data, saying such activity confirmed their worst fears about American Web giants' reach and showed tighter regulations were needed. The Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers aroused broad outrage with reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI had accessed central servers of Google , Facebook and other big Internet companies and gathered millions of phone users' data. Europe has long yearned to contain the power of the U.S. titans that dominate the Internet, and privacy-focused Germany was quick to condemn the companies' co-operation with the U.S. security services. . . ." (read more at Reuters link above)


"Washington has handed Osama bin Laden his last and greatest triumph"

The Guardian is the now the "newspaper of record' for the whole world--including the US--

NSA surveillance revelations: Osama bin Laden would love this | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk: "The US has shown itself so paranoid in the face of possible 'al-Qaida-linked terror' that it has played right into jihadist hands - Washington has handed Osama bin Laden his last and greatest triumph. The Prism files revealed in the Guardian indicate how far his bid to undermine western values has succeeded in the 12 years since 9/11. He has achieved state intrusion into the private lives and communications of every American citizen. He has shown the self-proclaimed home of individual freedom as so paranoid in the face of his "terror" as to infiltrate the entire internet, sucking up mobile phone calls, emails, texts and, we may assume, GPS movements. The vast databases of Microsoft, Google, YouTube and Facebook are open to government. They may cry "your privacy is our priority", but they lie. Obedience to regulatory authority is their priority. And what does authority say? It says what authority always says: "We collect significant information on bad guys, but only bad guys." As police states have said down the ages, the innocent have nothing to fear. For innocent, eventually read obedient. . . . (read more at the links above)


Friday, June 7, 2013

Washington Destroying America in order to "protect America"--don't you feel safe?

Anonymous leaks more NSA-related docs as Obama defends PRISM | ZDNet

NSA spying scandal fallout: Expect big impact in Europe and elsewhere (Updated) — Tech News and Analysis

Dianne Feinstein on NSA: ‘It’s called protecting America’ - Tim Mak and Burgess Everett - POLITICO.com (you can read all about it in the above and elsewhere).

I'm not going to waste much time on this--it's the boiling frog story--unless stopped, eventually the US will be a complete police state with no privacy, no constitutional rights--Osama Bin Laden predicted this and counted it as his "victory."  So thank you Washington--George W. Bush, Barack H. Obama, Congress and the Courts (including the "secret" FISA court)--for destroying the America we love and the Constitution it was founded upon.

The real security risk in all of this is that though Washington believes they are "protecting America," we are probably more unsafe than ever because of idiocy like this. It is obvious the US security agencies are awash in data--so much data that they can't make heads or tails out of it. They are wasting a lot of man-hours, and money, chasing dead-ends. They are pretty much clueless--as evidenced by the case of the Boston bombers (they had their names, IDs, photos, and had even been "tipped off" by Russia) and yet, they couldn't even do a photo-match ID (it took days to figure who the guys caught on the private security cameras were). Brilliant! Then the "authorities" (what an oxymoron) shut down Boston, brought in tanks, swat teams, and other "toys" provided by "Homeland Security" [sic], and other agencies, invaded a bunch of people's homes without probable cause, and were still unable to find a wounded, bleeding suspect last known to be "on foot." Finally, they gave up, called off the "lock-down," and within minutes thereafter, a guy walking his dog finds the suspect in his backyard! So much for all the "gear," wasted man-hours and taxpayer money, and the useless expensive "toys" provided by DHS.

So rest assured. Somewhere in the bowels of a governmental agency database resides all the data of your communications. And like a needle in a haystack, there might even be a few pieces of data from amateurs like the Boston bombers. As for real terrorists--you know, guys who might detonate a nuclear weapon, etc.,--they won't be using Verizon et al. Don't you feel safe?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Housing Bubble under way thanks to Federal Reserve

Congratulations to Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve, and Obama Administration! A new housing bubble has been generated by your policies of artifically low interest rates, printing money a/k/a "quantitative easing," deficit spending, "stimulus," etc.--

Miami-Dade home prices up 12.4 percent in the past year - Business - MiamiHerald.com: "In Miami-Dade, prices rose 12.4 percent in April 2013 over April 2012 when distressed sales are included; excluding distressed sales, the increase was 21.6 percent. The month-to-month increase was 4 percent including distressed sales and 5.7 percent without."

How long before this bubble bursts and we have another crash?


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Risk-Averse Culture Infects US Workers and Entrepreneurs (video)

Risk-Averse Culture Infects U.S. Workers, Entrepreneurs - WSJ.com: "Fewer Americans are changing jobs. Companies are hoarding more cash. And the proportion of new businesses has fallen. The result? A less dynamic economy."


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The insanity and hysteria of "GMO truthers"

The main problem today, both "progressives" and "conservatives" are ignorant--most just aren't willing to admit it--

" . . . if we are going to be hard on Conservatives for being anti-science/anti-facts we should be equally hard if not harder on Progressives for doing the same thing because the stakes are no less dire." (source infra)

Daily Kos: Yes, you are willfully ignorant. No, I don't have to respect you.: "Furthermore, GMO is a developing technology and may one day help alleviate world hunger, but the anti-GM hysteria caused by GMO truthers is making it very hard for this to be accomplished: Most ironic is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists now use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a “failure,” because it “has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.” But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods—often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of actual vitamin A deficiency." (read more at link above)


Monday, June 3, 2013

Miami's South Beach protest for resignation of Turkey's PM (video)

WSVN-TV - WSVN-TV - Locals protest for resignation of Turkey's PM: " Dozens of protesters hit the streets in South Beach in a call for action in Turkey. The crowd marched in support of thousands of Turkish protesters who have been clashing with government forces."


Obama and Plouffe turning IRS controversy into a personal, nasty fight - why?

I personally thought the IRS scandal had little to do with President Obama or the White House--but now I am beginning to wonder with the ridiculous statements of Carney and Plouffe--is this a sign the White House is cracking up--I have never seen such BS (even the Clinton White House at the height of the Lewinsky scandal had more composure than what is being shown by the Obama team)--

Obama administration can't handle the stress of the IRS investigation--what are they covering up?--David Plouffe trying to "change the conversation" by off-topic personal attacks against Congressman Issa - For more info: IRS controversy turns personal, nasty – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs


Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Irish Sandwich and US Tax Policy

I've argued for a long time that we need comprehensive tax reform. Now Washington, after 30 years or so, apparently has woke up, and has held hearings to reform the corporate tax system.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, but if you have been busy with other things, here's a start--

The Corrosive Effect of Apple’s Tax Avoidance - NYTimes.com: "The news in the Senate report about Apple was not that the company had found ways to shift income to low-tax jurisdictions. Lots of multinational companies do that. The news was that Apple had found a way to move a large part of its income to subsidiaries that claimed to not exist anywhere, at least when it came to paying taxes."

Hearings | Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: "Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code - Part 1 (Microsoft & Hewlett-Packard)"

Hearings | Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: "Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code - Part 2 (Apple Inc.)"

Apple Shows It's Time . . . . - Bloomberg: "Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple Inc., came to the U.S. Senate on May 21 to advocate an overhaul of the nation's corporate tax code. Tax profits at 20 percent, Cook said, and offer no loopholes, no deductions, no complexities."

Don't Tax Apple, Tax Its Shareholders - Bloomberg: "Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook appeared before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations this week to defend his company's tax record. The media has focused on how much of Apple's income is earned by subsidiaries that do not claim tax residence anywhere and therefore do not pay tax. That's a problem -- but not the big problem.
The big problem is that the process of determining the taxable U.S. income of a multinational corporation is necessarily complicated and arbitrary."

Explaining Apple’s Irish Tax Dodge - Bloomberg: "It’s easy to be jaded, though. The IRS is in constant turmoil, most recently over singling out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny. It’s doubtful that Congress will respond. Congress is the main reason the tax code is a mess. At least the public is better informed about how corporate taxes work. We should take progress where we can get it."

By the way, I do not favor eliminating the corporate tax. I favor Tim Cook's proposal (see above)--otherwise multinational corporations will continue to bank huge surpluses and use same to consume whole industries and destroy competition--through government regulation (yes, governments--including the US--are "bought"), litigation (patents, copyrights, etc.), and other predatory practices.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Obama's (and the Democrats) worse nightmare

And one that is coming true, day by day--

Obama's Scandalous Legacy - WSJ.com: "For a man who came to office with the goal of expanding the role of government to better our lives, it would be quite a comedown to leave office with the main accomplishment of increasing the nation's distrust of government."


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects