Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Elon Musk’

CDA Section 230 violates Equal Protection Clause & threatens National Security

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, November 18, 2022

There’s been a significant amount of handwringing over remarks made by so-called “free speech” advocates who assert that anyone can say anything online “because it’s ‘free’ speech,” and ostensibly protected by the First Amendment.

I demur.

Facebook, Instagram (owned by FB), and Twitter, which are the “Big Three” online Social Media (SoMe) corporate megaliths (that is, if Twitter survives Elon Musk, if not, then TikTok may take Twitter’s place), have increasingly come under fire in the past several years — justifiably so — for turning a blind eye to bad behavior, “speech” in particular (as writing and/or video, both mediums posted on the services), thereby, in essence, becoming purveyors of lies, complicit by their inactions, in aiding and abetting actions of bad actors, consequently harming our nation — a significant portion of which continues originating in nations hostile to American national interests.

Writing in the Global Security Review, June 10, 2019, in an article entitled “Facebook, Compromised: How Russia Manipulated U.S. Voters — the second of a four-part series — Sophia Porotsky detailed how Russia, as a malign foreign actor, sought, and continues seeking, the downfall of the United States.

“Russian Information Warfare content on social media attempts to subvert Western democracies in five ways:

1.) Undermine public confidence in democratic government;
2.) Exacerbate internal political divisions;
3.) Erode trust in government;
4.) Push the Russian agenda in foreign populations, and;
5.) Create confusion and distrust by blurring fact and fiction.

Russian propaganda on social media can be divided into four themes:

1.) Political messages intended to foster distrust in government (e.g. allegations of voter fraud, corruption);
2.) Financial propaganda (i.e. create distrust in Western financial institutions);
3.) Social issues (e.g. ethnic tensions, police brutality), and;
4.) Doomsday-style conspiracy theories.

“Information warfare content is generated and disseminated through channels that fall into three attribution categories:

1.) White (overt);
2.) Grey (less-overt), and;
3.) Black (covert) channels.

They propagate a blend of authentic, manipulated, and fake stories and they feed off of and reinforce each other.”

Among the numerous sources cited was “Russia’s Approach to Cyber Warfare,” a paper written by Michael Connell and Sarah Vogler published March 2017 by the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) — an 80-year, independent, nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to the safety and security of the nation that informs the decisions of Navy, Marine Corps and DOD leaders as the Department of the Navy’s federally funded research and development center — which stated that,

“Russia views cyber very differently than its western counterparts, from the way Russian theorists define cyberwarfare to how the Kremlin employs its cyber capabilities.” Part of that difference is that the Russians “conceptualize cyber operations within the broader framework of information warfare, a holistic concept that includes computer network operations, electronic warfare, psychological operations, and information operations.”

And as part of their overall operations in that realm, not only does Russia “employ cyber as a conventional force enabler,” they integrate cybercriminals, hacktivists, and other nefariously malign non-state actors into their overall operations scheme, a practice also undertaken by “China, Iran, North Korea, and other cyber adversaries.”

That information is further borne out by the writings of Professor Dr. Mark Galeotti, PhD, who in June 2022 was recently banned from travel to Russia, wrote an OpEd in the independent news journal The Moscow Times, published December 22, 2017, that, “It is hard to sustain a serious claim that NATO tanks are about to surge eastwards – though some of the Kremlin’s more fanciful propagandists do try – but the virtues of the “secret battlefield” of intelligence work is that it is precisely covert.”

Dr. Galeotti is an internationally-recognized expert in security politics, intelligence services and criminality of modern Russia, is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow of the Institute of International Relations Prague, an Associate Fellow at the Council on Geostrategy, Honorary Professor at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, Honorary Professor at University College London, and Executive Director and principal in Mayak Intelligence, a London-based consultancy specializing in, and primarily focusing upon understanding organized and transnational crime, war, politics and history in Russia. Dr. Galieotti is also a contributing member of the Network of Experts of the independent civil-society organization Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The root cause of such problems, wrote David J. Smith in “How Russia Harnesses Cyber Warfare,” published in Defense Dossier, American Foreign Policy Council (August 2012: Issue 4), 9,” is inherently based in, and the natural outcome of, Read the rest of this entry »

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Elon Musk, Paul Ryan, and Bernie Marcus walk into a bar…

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 16, 2022

Headlines…

Home Depot Co-Founder Bernie Marcus on President Biden: “What the hell does he know about economics?”
by Brian Sozzi, Anchor, Editor-at-Large
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 12:11 PM

Paul Ryan Makes Bold Prediction About Trump And MAGA Lovers Won’t Like It
by Ron Dicker
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 7:14 AM

Musk: I can’t keep paying for Ukraine’s internet
Reuters News Agency
Friday, October 14, 2022 at 10:03 AM

Journalism these days has sunk to new lows.

Much of what passes for “news” these days very well could have been ripped from Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s True: The Über-Wealthy Pay ZERO Income Taxes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Moochers.


We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

Today, ProPublica is launching the first in a series of stories based on the private tax data of some of our nation’s richest citizens. We obtained the information from an anonymous source who provided us with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades.

In the coming months, we plan to use this material to explore how the nation’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens.

Many will ask about the ethics of publishing such private data. We are doing so — quite selectively and carefully — because we believe it serves the public interest in fundamental ways, allowing readers to see patterns that were until now hidden.

Tax experts have long understood that the wealthiest Americans reap outsized benefits from the federal tax code’s emphasis on taxing income rather than assets like stock holdings and property. Yet, when The New York Times disclosed in 2020 that President Donald Trump had amassed so many deductions he paid no taxes in 11 of 18 years, it was assumed that his case was an anomaly, reflecting the unique breaks real estate developers receive under our tax system.

It is now clear that there isn’t just one such taxpayer — there are many, in multiple industries. We believe that disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy.

https://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-are-publishing-the-tax-secrets-of-the-001


“America’s billionaires avail themselves of
tax-avoidance strategies
beyond the reach
of
ordinary people.
Their wealth derives from the
skyrocketing value of their assets,
like stock and property.
Those gains are not defined
by U.S. laws as taxable income
unless and until the billionaires sell.”

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Typical Americans his age paid more in taxes than they saw in wealth growth over that period.

For every $100 of wealth growth from
2006 to 2018,
typical Americans paid $160 in taxes.

Bezos paid only $1.09.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans of business, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

Taken together, it demolishes

The Cornerstone myth of the American tax system:

That everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.

The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.

American multi-BILLIONAIRES
LEFT to RIGHT, TOP to BOTTOM: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Carl Icahn (Icahn Enterprises), George Soros (Soros Fund)

America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

We’re going to call that their true tax rate.

The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their net worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.

It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand by about $65,000 after taxes on average, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.

No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich. According to Forbes, his riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes.

That works out to a true tax rate of 0.1%, or less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.

In the coming months, ProPublica will use the IRS data we have obtained to explore in detail how the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.

Experts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States, and many lay people have long suspected the same thing.

But few specifics about individuals ever emerge in public. Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

Consider Bezos’ 2007, one of the years he paid zero in federal income taxes. Amazon’s stock more than doubled. Bezos’ fortune leapt $3.8 billion, according to Forbes, whose wealth estimates are widely cited. How did a person enjoying that sort of wealth explosion end up paying no income tax?

In that year, Bezos, who filed his taxes jointly with his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, reported Read the rest of this entry »

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Guess Who Doesn’t Pay State Income Taxes?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, December 11, 2020

Let’s get some perspective on the unimaginably massive amount of wealth just ONE of these three men (in the article below) have.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon dot com is, as of this writing, the wealthiest man in the world, bar none. With an estimated net worth of $183.3 billion it’s often difficult to get a grasp on the amount of money that is. So, lets give it the good ol’ college try.

$183,000,000,000 –– it’s sometimes good to simply see the number of zeros in the figure.

If, from this point forward Mr. Bezos NEVER MADE ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $100,000 every day, it would take 5013 years to spend it all.

So, let’s up the ante… SIGNIFICANTLY.

Again, using the same premise, NEVER MAKING ANY MORE MONEY, and spent $1,000,000 ($1 million) every day, it would take 50 years. Mr. Bezos is presently aged 56. And, given the current life expectancy for men in the United States – especially, and particularly men of wealth, who have the finest of everything, including health care – he could reasonably be expected to live to age 86, or 30 more years. That’s according to figures from the Social Security Administration. So clearly, spending at that rate – $1,000,000/day – he couldn’t spend it all in his lifetime.

But, let’s examine it one more way.

If he were to Read the rest of this entry »

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