Thursday, May 23, 2013
A day before President Obama is to give a speech outlining the justifications used in targeted drone strikes, the New York Times has received a copy of a Justice Department white paper acknowledging the deaths of four Americans in drone strikes. The letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to congressmen including Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the first acknowledgment by the government of strikes against Americans, including Anwar Al-Awlaki, “outside of areas of active hostilities.”
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
When the U.S. Senate held an investigatory hearing on “Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code” recently, a subcommittee summoned an Apple corporation spokesman to appear. I was offended by the very idea. I scoffed at the notion that a $4 trillion bureaucratic monster—aka the federal government—would attempt to bully, berate and badger one of America’s greatest success stories.
In the late 1990s, Apple was struggling to find its place among America business, as sales diminished and the niche of Apple products had yet to be defined. The company overcame this insurmountable challenge by not only thriving, but by becoming one of the largest companies in the world.
Today, more than 600,000 American jobs rely on Apple.
Apple’s job creating machine extends across the United States. The iPhone uses Gorilla Glass, which is manufactured in Kentucky by Corning. Today, Corning—and Kentucky—benefit from nearly $700 million in sales, employing more than 300 people thanks to Apple. Rather than berating Apple, we should celebrate the jobs Apple continues to create.
I think the federal government owes an apology to Apple. Instead of Apple, Congress should be on trial for having the crummiest tax code imaginable; for having a byzantine tax code that runs into the tens of thousands of pages; for creating a tax code that simply doesn’t compete with the rest of the world.
The Senate subcommittee admitted that Apple had not broken any laws. Yet, they are forced into a public trial at the whims of politicians, when in fact, Congress should be on trial for chasing the profits of great American companies overseas.
Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.
“I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter,” Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. “I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public.”
In an earlier interview with WPHT Philadelphia, Attkisson said that though she did not know the full details of the intrustion, “there could be some relationship between these things and what’s happened to James [Rosen],” the Fox News reporter who became the subject of a Justice Dept. investigation after reporting on CIA intelligence about North Korea in 2009.
On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that the Justice Dept. had searched Rosen’s personal e-mails and tracked his visits to the State Dept. The court affadavit described Rosen as “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator” of his government source, presumably because he had solicited classified information from that source — an argument that has been heavily criticized by other journalists.
Senior White House officials, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, learned last month about a review by the Treasury Department’s inspector general into whether the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, but they did not inform President Obama, the White House said Monday.
The acknowledgement is the White House’s latest disclosure in a piecemeal, sometimes confusing release of details concerning the extent to which White House officials knew of the IG’s findings that IRS officials engaged in the “inappropriate” targeting of conservative non-profits for heightened scrutiny. Previously, the White House said counsel Kathryn Ruemmler did not learn about the final results of the investigation until the week of April 22nd, and had not disclosed that McDonough and other aides had also been told about the investigation. On Monday, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said a member of Ruemmler’s staff learned of the probe the week of April 16; Ruemmler learned of the investigation on April 24th; and after that point she informed the chief of staff and other aides about the probe’s findings.
The White House has said President Obama did not learn of the IRS’s actions until he saw news reports on the matter earlier this month.
The DHS appears to have finally found a use for all those bullets it’s been buying. At a Tea Party protest outside an IRS building in St. Louis yesterday there were no regular police – only armed Homeland Security guards.
Video footage from the demonstration at which protesters, including Infowars,com readers, chanted “no more harassment,” shows numerous DHS Federal Protective Service vehicles along with several armed DHS guards. There is not a regular police officer in sight.
The St. Louis demonstration was just one of numerous similar protests against the IRS’s punitive targeting of conservative groups that took place across the country yesterday. Homeland Security agents also kept a watchful eye on a Tea Party rally in Florida.
The DHS was supposedly founded to protect against and respond to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents, and natural disasters. It was not created to protect the IRS from peaceful protesters, but in the decade since its inception, Big Sis has morphed into an entity that polices and monitors political free speech as one of its primary functions.
Homeland Security has routinely been caught spying on protesters from both ends of the political spectrum via its nationwide network of “threat fusion centers”.
Government documents unearthed in April revealed that the DHS, “conducts daily monitoring of peaceful, lawful protests as a matter of policy” and functions as a “secret political police force against people participating in lawful, peaceful free speech activity,” such as ‘Occupy’ demonstrations.