Monday, July 29, 2013

The IRS wants to the ability to yank your passport

A reader forwarded an essay by Joe Nagel from an offshore ex-pat newsletter which I will quote in brief.  Its another brick in the ever increasing police state we find this country becoming...

Recently, the United States Senate passed a piece of legislation called the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act." Essentially, this is a transportation bill. The main focus is on the construction of roads and bridges.

Title III of the act is a revenue provision concerning gas-guzzling cars, leaking underground storage tanks, import duties, and a number of other fees, taxes, and revenue enhancements.

Section 40304 is a rather bizarre provision that doesn't seem to fit in a transportation bill and that is buried so deep that few senators have probably even read far enough to get to it. (The piece of legislation overall is 1,676 pages long.)

Section 40304 is titled "Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies." What?

The provision specifically amends the 1926 Passport Act to permit the IRS simply to "certify" to the Secretary of State that an individual "has a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of US$50,000."

The law does not require that any hearing be held or that any administrative due process of any kind be carried out. In fact, the only requirement is that the IRS gives what is called a "Notice of Levy" to the taxpayer.

This is nothing more than the IRS's own determination that the taxpayer owes US$50,000. And, remember, while US$50,000 may sound like a lot of money, that threshold can easily be reached and exceeded by the accumulation of much smaller amounts plus penalties and interest.
The real issue is this: Do we, as Americans, want unelected IRS agents to be in a position, without judicial oversight, of unilaterally deciding whether or not we can travel?

Given that even minor IRS matters can take years to resolve and that no effective oversight or accountability of an agent exists, it is a very scary scenario to imagine the IRS being in the position to be able to determine whether or not a U.S. citizen is able to travel.

Project XIII Update and App Demo

Caleb Skinner discusses the updated app (yes there was a bug in the pure cellular mode, now fixed) and gives a walk through of the Project XIII app on the Windows 8 Phone.

The video can also be found HERE on the Project XII web site.   -AK

Confessions of an Economic Hitman
A transcript of the Lew Rockwell Show episode 187
with John Perkins.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman
July 29, 2013

ANNOUNCER: This is the Lew Rockwell Show.

ROCKWELL: Well, what an honor it is to have as our guest today on the show, John Perkins. I think that if Hollywood weren’t so connected to the Pentagon, maybe there’d be a movie about him, staring George Clooney. But there’s not a movie because of the sorts of books he’s written, especially Confessions of an Economic Hitman that was on The New York Times best-seller list for a year and a half and translated into 30 languages. He’s also author of The Secret History of the American Empire and his newest book, Hoodwinked.

John, I want to talk to you about how you got started, what an economic hitman is, how you were approached after school by the Massachusetts consulting firm and brought into this whole business, what you did and why you got out and why you’ve led your life the way you have ever since then. So that’s — (laughing) — you can take hours to answer that question but tell us about, you know, how you were recruited, first of all, and what you were recruited to do.

PERKINS: Well, yeah, Lew, I actually was initially recruited while I was still in business school in Boston. I was interviewed by the National Security Agency — long series of interviews, lie detector tests, personality tests — and they drew the conclusion that I’d make a good economic hitman, which basically is a con artist. And they also identified three — what we’ll call weaknesses — that would enable them to kind of draw me in, to hook me, if you will. And I think those weaknesses could perhaps be classified as the three big drugs of our culture: sex, power and money. And I was a very young man and I had all of those weaknesses at the time, so that was kind of their “in.” And then after that, they encouraged me to go in the Peace Corps where I learned to speak another language and learned to get along with people in other countries. And while I was still in the Peace Corps, they continued to recruit me, and eventually I ended up working for this private consulting firm, but was trained by a woman named Claudine, who knew — (laughing) — knew all my weaknesses very well and drew upon all of them to entice me into this job, which, you know, I can only call the economic hitman.

ROCKWELL: You know, if we think of the National Security Agency for a moment, it’s portrayed as this heroic bunch of people north of Washington who are watching out for terrorists and other bad guys and protecting, you know, the homeland from all the alleged bad guys and maybe real bad guys in the rest of the world. But as you’re pointing out — (laughing) — it actually serves a very different role or at least partially a different role for the corporate state.

PERKINS: Yeah. You know, my take on both the National Security Agency and the CIA — and incidentally, since then, I’ve known a lot of people who have been pretty high up in either/or or both of those organizations. Their primary job is to further U.S. corporate interests, or let’s call it multi-national corporate interests, in fact. It’s not just U.S. based any more. We’ve got companies like Halliburton which officially are not U.S. any more.

But the CIA and the National Security Agency devote a tremendous amount of effort, money, energy to doing things that help corporate interests abroad, including making sure that those — that the right people are running countries that have resources that our corporations want, bribing them, making sure that they stay in position, and even arranging for them to be taken out of office either through coups or assassination by people that we call the jackals if they stand up against the corporations and say, OK, no more oil drilling in our country, no more mineral extraction by multi-nationals. If something like that happens, they don’t last very long.

ROCKWELL: Well, you know, if — again, this is really a Fascist state, isn’t it, the American state? Too many Americans think of the U.S. government as sort of spreading faith, hope and charity abroad when actually, no matter who is the president, who is at the top of the regime, sort of the corporate state moves on and sees itself as in charge of every other country.

Snowden's Dad SCHOOLS Obama, Pelosi, and Holder in Open Letter

Obama Swearing to Uphold the Constitution
Dees Illustration

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Snowden's Dad SCHOOLS Obama, Pelosi, and Holder in Open Letter

Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution

Dear Mr. President:

You are acutely aware that the history of liberty is a history of civil disobedience to unjust laws or practices. As Edmund Burke sermonized, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Civil disobedience is not the first, but the last option. Henry David Thoreau wrote with profound restraint in Civil Disobedience: “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”

Thoreau’s moral philosophy found expression during the Nuremburg trials in which “following orders” was rejected as a defense. Indeed, military law requires disobedience to clearly illegal orders.

A dark chapter in America’s World War II history would not have been written if the then United States Attorney General had resigned rather than participate in racist concentration camps imprisoning 120,000 Japanese American citizens and resident aliens.

Civil disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jim Crow laws provoked the end of slavery and the modern civil rights revolution.

We submit that Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures of dragnet surveillance of Americans under § 215 of the Patriot Act, § 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, or otherwise were sanctioned by Thoreau’s time-honored moral philosophy and justifications for civil disobedience. Since 2005, Mr. Snowden had been employed by the intelligence community. He found himself complicit in secret, indiscriminate spying on millions of innocent citizens contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the First and Fourth Amendments and the transparency indispensable to self-government. Members of Congress entrusted with oversight remained silent or Delphic. Mr. Snowden confronted a choice between civic duty and passivity. He may have recalled the injunction of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” Mr. Snowden chose duty. Your administration vindictively responded with a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Espionage Act.

From the commencement of your administration, your secrecy of the National Security Agency’s Orwellian surveillance programs had frustrated a national conversation over their legality, necessity, or morality. That secrecy (combined with congressional nonfeasance) provoked Edward’s disclosures, which sparked a national conversation which you have belatedly and cynically embraced. Legislation has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate to curtail or terminate the NSA’s programs, and the American people are being educated to the public policy choices at hand. A commanding majority now voice concerns over the dragnet surveillance of Americans that Edward exposed and you concealed. It seems mystifying to us that you are prosecuting Edward for accomplishing what you have said urgently needed to be done!

The right to be left alone from government snooping–the most cherished right among civilized people—is the cornerstone of liberty. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson served as Chief Prosecutor at Nuremburg. He came to learn of the dynamics of the Third Reich that crushed a free society, and which have lessons for the United States today.

Writing in Brinegar v. United States, Justice Jackson elaborated:
The Fourth Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
These, I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. And one need only briefly to have dwelt and worked among a people possessed of many admirable qualities but deprived of these rights to know that the human personality deteriorates and dignity and self-reliance disappear where homes, persons and possessions are subject at any hour to unheralded search and seizure by the police.

We thus find your administration’s zeal to punish Mr. Snowden’s discharge of civic duty to protect democratic processes and to safeguard liberty to be unconscionable and indefensible.

We are also appalled at your administration’s scorn for due process, the rule of law, fairness, and the presumption of innocence as regards Edward.

On June 27, 2013, Mr. Fein wrote a letter to the Attorney General stating that Edward’s father was substantially convinced that he would return to the United States to confront the charges that have been lodged against him if three cornerstones of due process were guaranteed. The letter was not an ultimatum, but an invitation to discuss fair trial imperatives. The Attorney General has sneered at the overture with studied silence.

We thus suspect your administration wishes to avoid a trial because of constitutional doubts about application of the Espionage Act in these circumstances, and obligations to disclose to the public potentially embarrassing classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act.

Your decision to force down a civilian airliner carrying Bolivian President Eva Morales in hopes of kidnapping Edward also does not inspire confidence that you are committed to providing him a fair trial. Neither does your refusal to remind the American people and prominent Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate like House Speaker John Boehner, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,and Senator Dianne Feinstein that Edward enjoys a presumption of innocence. He should not be convicted before trial. Yet Speaker Boehner has denounced Edward as a “traitor.”

Ms. Pelosi has pontificated that Edward “did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents.” Ms. Bachmann has pronounced that, “This was not the act of a patriot; this was an act of a traitor.” And Ms. Feinstein has decreed that Edward was guilty of “treason,” which is defined in Article III of the Constitution as “levying war” against the United States, “or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

You have let those quadruple affronts to due process pass unrebuked, while you have disparaged Edward as a “hacker” to cast aspersion on his motivations and talents. Have you forgotten the Supreme Court’s gospel in Berger v. United States that the interests of the government “in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done?”

We also find reprehensible your administration’s Espionage Act prosecution of Edward for disclosures indistinguishable from those which routinely find their way into the public domain via your high level appointees for partisan political advantage. Classified details of your predator drone protocols, for instance, were shared with the New York Times with impunity to bolster your national security credentials. Justice Jackson observed in Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York: “The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally.”

In light of the circumstances amplified above, we urge you to order the Attorney General to move to dismiss the outstanding criminal complaint against Edward, and to support legislation to remedy the NSA surveillance abuses he revealed. Such presidential directives would mark your finest constitutional and moral hour.

Bruce Fein
Counsel for Lon Snowden
Lon Snowden

Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc.
722 12th Street, N.W., 4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 703-963-4968

Posted at:

Choosing your earth

Every so often I stick my toe in the deep end of “popular” culture just to gauge its relevance.  Feeling especially reckless, I may go as deep as to read the Reddit comments or listen to call in AM radio shows. In the midst of one such dip today, a sudden thought appeared “We are already living on more than one earth.”

I’ve been holding out for one catalyzing event and a split.  What I see today are many splits and multiple events.  Perhaps we’ll all experience a singular, life altering moment, yet right now we are in the midst of a seamless, rapid, inescapable shift.  I’ve crossed over and there is no going back.

Violent conversations about the adultery of Clinton vs. the sexting of Weiner hold no fascination.  I am not afraid of our government or law enforcement system, I am outraged.  I no longer hold any definition of a “good” person – I see us all as One.  Good or bad hold no meaning in regards to a person’s value. 

The cool thing is, as everyone becomes okay in my world, so do I.  I discover this tender, gradual, awareness that we are all perfection – fat, skinny, homeless, wealthy, banker, lawyer, teacher, clown, fisherman or protester – I’ve been every one.  To embrace oneness means unconditional acceptance.  Agape is the only response I hold.

Now for years this has been the subject of this blog, yet today it feels somehow solid.  Maybe that’s what the prophecy of 2 Earths means.  The absolute conviction of universal love defines everything around you.  The firm belief in right, wrong, good, bad, slave or owner sets parameters and divisions that are visible.  Both view points are firming up.

There’s been a reference to 2013 as being similar in pattern to the course of a pregnancy.  By the 9th or 10th month our new earths will be born.  I’m not a prophet yet I see everyday my truth manifest before me.  There was a time I stayed away from others with different values.  No longer.  Life right now is full of everyone that’s ever been there and includes all points of view.  The change now is my own conviction.  I don’t have to be right.  I have to be me.  That’s a huge difference.

Barry Neil Kaufman wrote a wonderful book called “Happiness is a Choice”.  So is suffering.  There’s a 100% chance I’m living the life I’ve chosen and so are you.  How we each feel about it is completely personal.  We can either suffer or smile.

The last two blogs have been about kiri campbell.  Stories of her meditating in her jail cell and completing her speech in the courtroom without anger are breathtaking… She is not suffering.  She is engaged in the direction of her self chosen life; getting out of it every bit of flavor she intended.  I wish the same for all of us.

We do not have to suffer.  We have to choose consciously.  As we construct our days we’ll build a life of clarity, peace, celebration and agape.  We’ll create the world we’ve been dreaming of with each moment, every “yes” and all of our light.  The new earth already resides in our hearts and when we connect we glimpse it in each other’s eyes.  That’s when we breathe deeply and remember what we came to do.

We are the one’s we were waiting for.

This blog is supported by ads and donations. If you enjoy this blog please consider supporting it with a contribution via PayPal.