Home » July 21st, 2010
Entries posted on “July, 2010”
Amendment Slipped Into Health Care Legislation Would Track, Tax Coin and Bullion Transactions
Those already outraged by the president’s health care legislation now have a new bone of contention — a scarcely noticed tack-on provision to the law that puts gold coin buyers and sellers under closer government scrutiny.
The issue is rising to the fore just as gold coin dealers are attracting attention over sales tactics.
Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to expand the scope of Form 1099. Currently, 1099 forms are used to track and report the miscellaneous income associated with services rendered by independent contractors or self-employed individuals.
In May of last year, David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus from 2006 to 2008, co-authored a strategic analysis (“Death from Above, Outrage Down Below,” New York Times, May 17, 2009). He emphasized that the “public outrage” among Pakistan’s civilians caused by our drone attacks “is hardly limited to the region in which they take place.”
Extensively reported by the news media, “the persistence of these attacks on Pakistani territory offends people’s deepest sensibilities, alienates them from their government, and contributes to Pakistan’s instability.”
A year later, in Foreign Policy in Focus (fpif.org, May 19), Conn Hallinan, reporting on the increase in drone strikes in Pakistan, notes that the continuing controversy over the actual number of corollary civilian deaths “is a sharply debated issue.” Neither President Obama, who authorizes them, nor the CIA, which does the actual killing, directly gives us the numbers. As for the Pakistani government’s figures, Hallinan continues:
“The word ‘civilian’ is a slippery one, because no one knows exactly what criteria the United States uses to distinguish a ‘militant’ from a civilian. Is someone with a gun a ‘militant?’ Since large numbers of males in the frontier regions of Pakistan carry guns, that definition would target a huge number of people.”
I mentioned this life-ending ambiguity in drone strikes to a person who claims to be concerned with human-rights abuses. Shrugging, she said: “I don’t have to worry about that. The drones aren’t coming here; and since they’re pilotless, there are no American casualties. So I’m all for their use.”
But drones are indeed in our skies.
Delayed until after the United States achieved a United Nations Security Council statement on July 9 condemning the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, Washington’s plans for naval maneuvers in the Yellow Sea near Chinese territorial waters are forging ahead.
The joint exercises with South Korea, as news sources from the latter nation have recently disclosed, will be conducted on both sides of the Korean Peninsula, not only in the Yellow Sea as previously planned but also in the Sea of Japan. (Referred to in the Korean press as the West and East Seas, respectively.) Confirmation that the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington will participate has further exacerbated concerns in Northeast Asia and raised alarms over American intentions not only vis-a-vis North Korea but China as well.
An exact date for the war games has not yet been announced, but is expected to be formalized no later than when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrive in the South Korean capital of Seoul on July 21.
If you happened to read the Liberty Voice and see the article Do you want to see what a “Summer of Recovery” looks like you may have noticed the last paragraph was a not-so-sincere attempt to find some good news amongst the disastrous economic statistics that have been rolling in from virtually every data point in the economy.
For cheerier news I suppose the cap on the gulf oil well is holding and the government says the leak they discovered is insignificant and unrelated. Wait, we might want to continue to check on that situation as well in a later post.
Unfortuantely it did not take long to make good on the last point about monitoring the government’s accuracy in reporting the success of the oil well cap. Today the AP is reporting that the discovered leak may very well be a result, or at least made worse by the cap.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Scientists huddled Tuesday to analyze data from the ocean floor as they weigh whether a leaking well cap is a sign BP’s broken oil well is buckling.
Oil and gas started seeping into the Gulf of Mexico again Sunday night, but this time more slowly, and scientists aren’t sure whether the leaks mean the cap that stopped the flow last week is making things worse.
The government’s point man on the disaster, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, will decide again later Tuesday whether to continue the test of the experimental cap — meaning the oil would stay blocked in.
As the summer of recovery rolls on let’s take a look at the government’s short term memory hole. To begin our journey through the land of make believe we will start with the 1st time unemployment number that was being hailed as showing a drop. However, what the government failed to mention, and their media arms in the mainstream must have missed, is that the week of the 4th of July is a shortened week which lowered claims. Additionally, if the number was not seasonally adjusted there is a gain in the number.
“The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 463,560 in the week ending July 3, an increase of 22,560 from the previous week.”
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation’s other findings include:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.
They have passed the health bill, they have passed the financial regulations bill and they have snuck stuff into the stimulus package bills. They are going to track your money and your body. Here’s the first few things they are doing. This is step one. It will only get worse from here.
An Iranian scientist who says he was abducted and taken to the United States by the CIA returned to Tehran yesterday to a hero’s welcome and claimed that he had been pressured into lying about his country’s nuclear programme.
Shahram Amiri said that he was on the hajj pilgrimage when he was seized at gunpoint in the city of Medina, drugged and taken to the US, where he says Israel was involved in his interrogation. In the US, officials were reported to have admitted that Mr Amiri was paid more than $5m (£3.2m) by the CIA for information about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The US claims to have received useful information from him in return for the money, but is clearly embarrassed by his very public return to Iran. The offer of a large bribe is reportedly part of a special US programme to get Iranian nuclear scientists to defect.
Press-TV, Iran’s English-language state broadcaster, alleged that “hardline Wahabis and Salafis trained by the CIA in Pakistan” were behind the bombings. Iran has claimed Rigi confessed that the US had assured him of unlimited aid and funding for the waging an insurgency against the Islamic republic. The US is reported to have a programme of covert operations inside Iran but the CIA has denied backing Jundullah. But Alaeddin Borujerdi, chairman of Iran’s parliamentary commission on national security, immediately pointed the finger at the intelligence services of the US, Israel and other western countries. “Such terror operations will not deter Iranian’s resolve in fighting against arrogant powers,” he told the Irna news agency. Iran was “the main victim” of US-sponsored terrorism, said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, another MP.