After a long hiatus involving unemployment, relocation, and a new career, the editorial staff here at Artorius is restarting. But this isn’t your father’s Artorius, if you are looking for bomb throwing, incendiary, political commentary, you will be disapointed. After the bruising battle to prevent ObamaCare, Climate Change legislation and rampant run away government growth, this space has had enough. Between the threats and accusations of everything from supporting Afghani Poppies being used to fund the War on Terror, to being racist for not supporting ObamaCare, we have determined that politics just aren’t fun to write about anymore.
Rather than tweak the noses of the moonbats and the Democrats, we think that we will try our hand at writing history articles. Oh, I’m sure the writing will be a little stilted, but to the partisan extent of the past, no. We certainly have our own views of historical events, but they have been shaped by years of research, study and investigation. We hope to present an unbiased view of the events we write about, but we will not parrot the mainstream norm for the sake of cutting corners.
So stay tuned, we have already begun laying the groundwork for a piece on Pope Pius XII and the whispered allusions and the outright accusations of the Vatican’s role in harboring and spiriting away of Croatian War Criminal Ante Pavelic after the Second World War.
The New York Times reported today that the Court that oversees the secret FISA court, upheld a 2007 ruling regarding a telecommunications company’s lawsuit over international communications. In upholding the ruling, the Court validates the Bush Administration’s claim that government has the right to monitor international communication in and out of the United States.
Released today despite ruling on 22 August of last year, the appellate bench agreed with the FISA, or Foreign Intelligence Act, that congress was right to pass the Protect America Act. The Act granted an encompassing eavesdropping power to the executive branch allowing them to listen in on international communications traffic.
The lawsuit stems from a telecommunications provider refusing an order to turn over records relating to international phone calls, faxes, and internet traffic. The provider has not been named, but the industry as a whole was against the policy.
Barack Obama, long critical of the wiretapping laws, claimed he would do away with eavesdropping courts on the campaign trail and it will be interesting to see what direction he moves in from here.
When the Democratic congress pulled the plug in 2008, then Senator Obama, threatened to filibuster it’s passage. Despite warnings it would harm National Security, the Democrats refused to renew the six month NSA program. Congress eventually came up a similar plan which gave the telecommunications industry immunity from lawsuits stemming from turning names and records over to the government. Senator Obama ultimately vote to allow wiretapping.
It is certain the law will be reviewed by the Obama administration, and changes can be expected fairly early in the Obama Administration.
This is only the second time in 30 years that the appellate branch of the FISA court has had to issue a major ruling.
Another counter attack, another terrorist killed, and another building in Gaza leveled or damaged. But not just any building, this is a United Nations building. Apparently banned white phosphorus was used too, on the United Nations school! But then one scrolls down a bit in the story to find that “shrapnel from nearby fighting, fell on the school..” Moving further down the article, you will find that the IDF did, indeed, fire upon the school because anti-tank missiles were being fired from the UN compound.
No, that is not right either. Moving around my cherished Google Reader, I could find at least 3 different versions of the one incident, all of them skewed toward the UN and Hamas, of course, just in varying degrees. White Phosphorus is only mentioned in CNN’s article, because “staffers” in the compound identified them as such. Oh, and to remind us they are illegal and that Israel had used them before. Such stilted and biased reporting is the norm to be sure, but in this case perhaps the media should try a little objectivity to hasten a cease fire agreement.
But the World needs a victim-downtrodden with no resources. The Global community needs to have a special needs child. Palestinians have been the abused and unwashed mass for the latter part of the last century. Oil rich countries poured money into the land, no, that’s not quite right, it was never really theirs, but never visited. Nor, did they ever invite refugees from the Strip or West Bank to live or start over in one of the many Arab countries that wrote checks to keep the “Palestinians” at arm’s length. But what is a Palestinian?
To try and define the borders of Palestine, you would need a very open mind. In trying to find a historical claim for the people of Gaza, there were more than 10 different maps and references through the ages. By most accounts, the term Palestine was around long before the times of Christ. In one view of or another, there is definite historical reference for the term, prior to say, the collation of the Bible.
With a legitimate, historical name, the Palestinians set out to rid the land between the Jordan river and the Sea, of Jews, and the UN’s choice to partition what was then being call “The Mandate”, after the War was their chance to act. Administered by Britain as of 1920, their mandate ended in 1948. During that period, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a pretty powerful figure, and as an Islamist was known to collude with Nazi Germany against the Jews in Europe and Middle East. As an aside, this Mufti Hussein, would be Great Uncle to Yasser Arafat, and the namesake of Saddam Hussein. Within days of the UN’s proclamation of 1948, the newly formed State of Israel was at war. They would be continue to be on a war footing until present times. Wars in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and the Intifadas of 1987 and 2000, which continues to today, have been launched against Israel.
In each conflict, Israel either gained land or took land back that had been taken from them. The West Bank, nor Gaza were in Israel’s pre-1967 borders, but by the spoils of war they were part of Israel until the Palestinian Authority was declared in the 1990′s. Since then, there has been nothing but trouble.
Money poured into Gaza, but for some reason, they still relied on Israel to provide utilities and basic infrastructure. The UN moved in and an airport was built. The PA was given a seat at the UN, and basically it was then up to to the PA to grow an economy, create jobs, and increase exports. The Authority has never gotten past the rock throwing and old hatreds.
Since the inception of the PA, Israel has had to swivel back and forth between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A wave of suicide bombings launched and approved by Nobel Laureate Yasser Arafat in 2000 through 2002, put Israel on alert status and they have been there ever since. They bulldozed Arafat’s Ramallah compound , but didn’t kill him. Then another rocket campaign from Gaza would turn the Magan David’s attention to the West.
And that is how it stand today. A country or an authority that refuses to grow up and shed the victim moniker derserves the UN, and certainly, the UN deserves them. When Israel retaliates for rockets, it has to be reported that they were provoked, not just that they shut off the water. (What happened to that De-Salinization plant that was built in Gaza?) The media has responisbilty to remind their readers and viewers that this is not just Palestinian victimhood being exploited by evil Jews. Aid agencies and NGO’s must screen and vet their employees before they give them access to money and policy. Most off all, it must be remembered that there two countries here, two cultures, and two peoples, not just victims and bullies. And still no proof of White Phosphorus use, either.
The problem with the treasury secretary-designate’s tax records.
By Byron York
Although it has been dismissed by some observers as a “hiccup” in an otherwise smooth confirmation process, treasury secretary-designate Timothy Geithner’s failure to pay self-employment taxes during the years he worked at the International Monetary Fund is causing some Republicans on Capitol Hill to ask serious questions about his actions. First among those questions is why he accepted payment from the IMF as restitution for taxes that he had not, in fact, paid.
Documents released by the Senate Finance Committee strongly suggest that Geithner knew, or should have known, what he was doing when he did not pay self-employment taxes in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. After his failure to pay was discovered, first by the IRS and later during the vetting process, Geithner paid the federal government a total of $42,702 in taxes and interest.
The IMF did not withhold state and federal income taxes or self-employment taxes — Social Security and Medicare — from its employees’ paychecks. But the IMF took great care to explain to those employees, in detail and frequently, what their tax responsibilities were. First, each employee was given the IMF Employee Tax Manual. Then, employees were given quarterly wage statements for the specific purpose of calculating taxes. Then, they were given year-end wage statements. And then, each IMF employee was required to file what was known as an Annual Tax Allowance Request. Geithner received all those documents.
The tax allowance has turned out to be a key part of the Geithner situation. This is how it worked. IMF employees were expected to pay their taxes out of their own money. But the IMF then gave them an extra allowance, known as a “gross-up,” to cover those tax payments. This was done in the Annual Tax Allowance Request, in which the employee filled out some basic information — marital status, dependent children, etc. — and the IMF then estimated the amount of taxes the employee would owe and gave the employee a corresponding allowance.
At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, “I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.” Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row.
According to an analysis released by the Senate Finance Committee, Geithner “wrote contemporaneous checks to the IRS and the State of Maryland for estimated [income] tax payments” that jibed exactly with his IMF statements. But he didn’t write checks for the self-employment tax allowance. Then, according to the committee analysis, “he filled out, signed and submitted an annual tax allowance request worksheet with the IMF that states, ‘I wish to apply for tax allowance of U.S. Federal and State income taxes and the difference between the “self-employed” and “employed” obligation of the U.S. Social Security tax which I will pay on my Fund income.”
In a conversation today with sources on Capitol Hill who are familiar with the situation, I asked, “Was Geithner made whole for tax payments that he didn’t make?”
“Yes,” one source answered. “He was getting the money. He was being paid a tax allowance to pay him for tax payments that he should have made but had not.”
Geithner paid his 2003 and 2004 obligations after an IRS audit. He paid his 2001 and 2002 obligations after he was nominated to be treasury secretary. The Obama transition team argues that Geithner simply slipped up, saying Tuesday that Gieithner “mistakenly had not paid self-employment taxes” for the years in question. In a closed-door meeting with Senate Finance Committee members on Tuesday, Geithner explained his failure to pay the self-employment taxes as an oversight. In the days before his confirmation hearing, senators are going to want to know more about how that happened.