“A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing.”
- Albert Camus
Aaron Swartz, the young coder who was hounded by authorities into committing suicide, has left the world a vital tool, as reported by Lauren McCauley. When initially confronted with the law he had been facing some overly severe charges, when all he wanted was to make information free for everyone. When he died, he had apparently been hard at work with some friends on a new platform that would allow for anonymous sharing of datum. In light of the numerous crackdowns on whistle-blowers and journalists alike, this is a surprisingly timely construct, one that I hope finds much utilization. On behalf of the world, thank you, Aaron.
Robert Jensen provides a beautifully articulated observation into the nature of journalism itself, and of its place in this modern world. His usage of religious themes to convey the differences between commercial media and free press is as thorough as a doctoral thesis, and does much to sum up many of my own concerns and fears. He completely nails the state of the ongoing dilemma that is essentially, the unbearable weightlessness of the words surrounding us. Meanwhile, Alex Kane reports on the latest incident of governmental powers giving their opinion on the place of free press and free speech. But Mark Karlin seems to think that government spying is something that magically happened overnight. No sir, the in place surveillance state was a slow crawl in coming, and only for the next 15 minutes is it finally getting the national attention it has deserved for decades, thanks to flaccid journalists like you. Glenn Greenwald goes into greater detail of the overstepping of legal boundaries by the Department of Justice in his article here, which summarizes much of the drama to date. One fun bite is how evidently, anybody who tries to hold the government accountable to its own claims of transparency can look forward to a lengthy prison stay. Even more, if you promote an unflattering view of yonder Powers That Be then charges can be created out of thin air so you get an even lengthier prison stay. Tax dollars at work.
Elsewhere Justin Doolittle reports of a Republican congressman from Tennessee who is fighting to dismantle welfare programs. Yet this same representative of the people has himself received millions in farm subsidies, as did his own father and brother, over several years. It is hilarious how people with money refuse to think of their subsidies and tax breaks as welfare, especially as such initiatives cost taxpayers far more than actual welfare programs. Hilariously revolting. Like how Apple has avoided billions in taxes in multiple countries, as reported by Danny Yadron, Kate Linebaugh, Jessica E. Lessin, and Sam Schechner. Says the article:
The Senate panel’s new report focuses on Apple units in Cork, Ireland, where Apple has long based its operations for Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. The units are beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Service, which counts corporations as American if they are incorporated in the U.S.
But Irish tax law only considers companies residents of the small European country if they are managed and controlled there, and Apple manages them from the U.S.
The result: Apple pays little or no taxes to either country on much of its revenue earned outside the U.S., according to the report.
One of the units, Apple Operations International, hasn’t filed a corporate tax return anywhere in the past five years, the Senate panel found. The unit is the main holding company for Apple’s business outside of the Americas.
“Despite reporting net income of $30 billion over the four-year period 2009 to 2012, Apple Operations International paid no corporate income taxes to any national government during that period,” the report found.
Yeah, there goes the job creators, saving the world by saving the economy. Have fun with your ipad, kids. Extra curious is the closing line of the article:
“Apple welcomes an objective examination of the U.S. corporate tax system, which has not kept pace with the advent of the digital age and the rapidly changing global economy,” the company said in testimony released Monday.
Which is ultimately the same line used by Kim Dotcom, as well as the Pirate Bay trio, to defend their own actions against the possessive greed of American corporations. Fancy that. Ace self-promoter Greg Palast actually has a sharp look here into the rather American-like economic disparity going on right now in Greece. I confess to a natural repulsion toward overweight persons, but when they are wealthy members of the political elite I want to have them reenact scenes from American History X with me.
Due entirely to Christian ethics (or the lack thereof) a teenage girl has been illegaly expelled from school and is now facing felony charges. Her crime? Having a girlfriend. I hope her parents not only win out in court, but also counter-sue the other parents and the school board for the obvious hate crimes. Too bad laws don’t really work.
But in more ironic news, lightning strikes twice as Starbucks proves to be so overpriced, so generally awful, that customers are lining up to shoot each other out of their collective misery. Or maybe I just interpreted that story from Martha Rosenberg wrong. Ah well.
One of the two coolest comic news happening now is this surprising article from Comics Alliance, which only too recently had begun the dismantling process as ordered by its owners at AOL. It it a long after the fact wink good-bye to the fans, or is it something more? If the site does live on, I hope they have found better masters for themselves. Ideally, themselves.
The other coolest of news stories is Friend of the LP Scott “el Diablo” Marcano launching his very first kickstarter. Scott has been a filmmaker, novelist, and producer of several graphic novels already, but this is indeed his first forray into crowd-funding, and we wish him the very best. Rio Sangre, illustrated by Juan Romera, looks to be a horror-western, and it looks to be a fun ride.
And by two I mean three, as a hearty congratulations to Bryan Coyle, who we interviewed last year, for his nomination for Most Promising Newcomer in the 2013 Russ Manning Awards. Babble, the fantastic (and scary!) OGN from Com.X he created with author and partner in crime Lee Robson is very much worth a read.