Did Apple go through all sorts of outrageous tax avoidance contortions in order to dramatically reduce its tax liability? Absolutely. But in doing so, did Apple break any actual laws? Probably not.
Congress can get as huffy as it wants in accusing Apple of being a tax cheat, but Apple's only playing by the rules that Congress has laid down. The real scandal here is our ridiculous corporate tax code that allows this sort of shit to happen. All the time.
Yeah, Apple jumps through hoops to avoid paying taxes. But at over $6 billion in 2012, Apple claims to be the largest corporate income tax payer in the US. Meanwhile, dozens of giant US corporations (including Boeing and Paccar) consistently pay a negative federal income tax.
So yeah, Apple deserves to be excoriated for its accounting tricks. But it is Congress that is the enabler of all this corporate tax avoidance, and Congress that ultimately deserves the blame.
Nelson D. Schwartz at the New York Times explains:
Even as Apple became the nation’s most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and surprised experts, a Congressional investigation has found...In 2011, for example, one subsidiary paid Ireland just one-twentieth of 1 percent in taxes on $22 billion on pretax earnings from various operations; another did not file a corporate tax return anywhere and has paid almost nothing on $30 billion in profits since 2009.
“Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven,” said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat. “Apple sought the holy grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars while claiming to be tax resident nowhere.”
This is really shitty of Apple, of course. Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to address a Senate hearing tomorrow. But the question remains: Is Congress going to do anything about this?
Liberal Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien and moderate Albert Shen, an engineering consultant running a well-funded challenge campaign, must unexpectedly slog through the primary election after a third, eleventh-hour candidate joined the race last Friday afternoon.
In terms of political theater, it means O'Brien's vision of a city that invests in mass transit and bicycle lanes will enjoy a protracted clash with Shen's business-catering philosophy of condemning bike lanes and streetcars as impediments to cars.
As of last Friday, O'Brien and Shen were in a two-man race—meaning they would only appear on the November ballot—but in the minutes before King County Elections officials shut the door on filing week, a man walked up to the counter. It was David Ishii, the zany character who had originally planned to run for mayor, saying that he would join O'Brien's council race instead. By adding another name to the ballot, the trio must compete in August's primary, which will advance only two candidates to the general election.
Why would Ishii do that? Well, it turns out, according to a call he lodged to my desk after filing his paperwork, it's thanks a Slog post I wrote. I'd joked that he should join the race when Sam Bellomio was running against O'Brien. Basically Seattle's version of Michele Bachmann crossed with a rabid muskox, Bellomio would be high-fuckin'-larious debating Ishii, I thought. But it turns out, Bellomio switched races after I wrote that post to run against Council Member Sally Bagshaw.
Long story short, O'Brien must fend off Shen through the summer—while Emerald City Crazy Eyes tries to get a word in—and it's basically my fault. Whoops!
Maybe this will benefit O'Brien? He'll get more time to articulate his vision for Seattle and record on the council. He's advanced a carbon neutrality agenda, passed laws to reduce the paper and plastic waste stream, promoted affordable housing in the central city, boosted rail planning, and reformed elections to make them more accessible to folks who don't have loads of money. Speaking of which, Shen is loaded. Seattle Ethics and Elections reports show Shen has raised $73,000 (including more than $11,000 from people with the last name Shen), while O'Brien has raised only $41,000.
Lindy West reports on Jezebel of the awesomeness of vaginas, in response to that creepy dude who called "Miss Hillary Clinton" a "C-U-Next-Tuesday" and says he wants to shoot her in the vagina. (Which, wow did that ever break my brain.)
Nausea aside, though, Santilli's words inspired an unexpected side effect in me: some real fuck-yeah Vagina Monologues girl-power shit. You want to hurt me, bro? ATTACK ME SOMEPLACE WEAK. VAGINAS ARE FUCKING BOSS.
Vaginas are strong. Entire people come out of them. You know who came out of a vagina (probably)? Hulk Hogan, Shaq, and pretty much every horse.
Vaginas take poundings and bangings and slammings and crushings AND THEY LOVE IT.
Go ahead, fire your stupid figurative rage-bullet in there. Vaginas are like, "Yawn. Is it in yet?"
Just when you're feeling safe and comfy, vaginas open up and start vomiting blood everywhere like the elevator in the Shining. Vaginas are goth.
And thus commences the most uses of the word "vagina" in one Slog post ever. Vagina vagina. YOU'RE WELCOME.
Legislation intended to assist tent cities is meeting opposition from the very groups it's aimed at helping. I'd heard that possibility when looking into the legislation for my story in this week's paper, and confirmed it in conversations late last week. A little background: Nick Licata will introduce legislation on Wednesday, supported by fellow council member Mike O'Brien as well as Mayor McGinn, to allow longer-term tent cities to set up on public and private land in Seattle. The measure moves beyond what is already allowed under temporary use permits (which only last six months) or the 2011 ordinance allowing encampments on religious properties. If the council doesn't go for it, there's alternate legislation planned to fund an environmental review of the current Nickelsville site so that encampment could become, perhaps more safely and healthily, an even longer-term camp than the two years it's been squatting on this city land.
There will doubtless be opposition on the council, but there's also opposition coming from a different direction: SHARE, which runs Tent City 3—a camp that shelters up to 100 otherwise shelterless people—and Nickelsville, which supports a similar number of residents.
Why are Nickelsville and SHARE so opposed to legislation that would expand legal encampments?
Tent City 3 is opposed, says Jarvis Capucion from SHARE, because they don't want to be restricted to locations that are zoned nonresidential, which this bill would do. They had some conversations with Licata's office about the legislation, and Capucion tells me, "We have expressed our concerns regarding the residential zoning restriction." He hadn't seen the legislation yet when we spoke, but "from what we hear... our concerns were not addressed." Barring them from residential zones blocks them from about 65 percent of the city. "If it’s allowed in a church in a residential area, why wouldn’t it be allowed in a vacant lot in the same residential area?" he asks. "Our position is: It's redlining, it's discrimination, and it plays on fears and phobias of homeless people." He also points out that other jurisdictions in the county don't have a similar restriction. "This would be a step back for us."
For Nickelsville, at which the legislation is ostensibly aimed—Food Lifeline wants to buy the city property Nickelsville is currently using, and neighbors have been badgering the city to move Nickelsville out—they just don't see this legislation as useful for them.
Should one come out as bisexual if 1. One has never actually had a same-sex sexual experience and 2. Is a woman married to a straight man BUT 1. Is 90% sure she would enjoy sexual experience with (particular) women and 2. Has had some same-sex fantasies and crushes (if not quite as many as on men) since 12 years old, and 3. HAS had some sexual experience with more effeminite men, one of which was partly on account of his cross-dressing (I know, I know, not the same thing, but...)
There are several reasons (if not excuses) I've not yet had a sexual experience with another woman, including 1. UBER-Catholic upbringing, 2. Internalized homophobia, which I'm now getting over, 3. getting married young(er), a few days after I turned 25, before I fully self-realized my sexual preferences, 4. complicated living/financial situation with spouse, and 5. Spouse less sexually adventurous, but *possibly* open to my having a same-sex sexual experience if he is involved (how to make that happen in upstate South Carolina is possibly another story, and the fact that I'm not sure I want him involved is another story, too...).
I have always felt somewhat genderqueer/bisexual/possibly pan-sexual, but didn't have names for these things (besides bi-sexuality) until graduate school. Naming these things has been a powerful step in my becoming more self-actualized, but I'm not sure what the next step(s) should be for me. Thanks,
My response after the jump...
Luke Clark Tyler lives in a 78-square-foot studio in Midtown Manhattan for only $800 a month:
Here's Elizabeth A. Harris today in the New York Times:
Few are keen to crumple themselves and their belongings into an itty-bitty room and call it home, yet the eagerness to explore these spaces seems to spread like a determined little wildfire. Videos go viral; news media coverage quickly spans oceans; attendance is even up at a small Manhattan museum currently offering an exhibit on micro-apartments. Perhaps this voracious interest is mere curiosity about how living so small can be comfortably done. Maybe it is just voyeurism. More often, it seems, it is something else: schadenfreude, the pleasure one takes in the misfortune of others. Because, finally, somebody has an apartment smaller than yours.
The revolt some people feel toward small apartments is built partly on the belief that you're only human when you have a bunch of stuff, when you have lots of money, that you must live far away from other people. Huh. Monks in monasteries and nuns in convents—people who live with almost nothing in close quarters—are quite literally some of the happiest people I've ever met.
Joel Connelly doesn't call her a bigot—because he's Catholic, and he's a nice man—but he makes the case that refusing to sell flowers to a couple just because they're gay isn't very Christian at all.
And recent days gave me a good but sad one, as this past Friday, Alan O'Day, the songwriter who created "Angie Baby" (as well as the #1 hit "Undercover Angel" and the hilariously titled album Caress Me Pretty Music) passed away at age 72. Here's the cartoon video that was made of his career-defining song, which was broadcast on The Sonny and Cher Show. Also, today is Cher's birthday. Anyway, please enjoy the cartoon "Angie Baby." (And if you need more Angie, don't miss this great live performance and this unnerving computer animation.)
RIP, Alan O'Day.
Man, it's rare day that I agree with Karl Rove and Marco Rubio about anything, but they're totally right on the Justice Department's ridiculous overreaching in their pursuit of Fox News reporter James Rosen. Karl Rove says it's "chilling" and "beyond the pale" and adds that in the Bush administration, "There were leaks of classified information and in each and every instance, the focus was on the potential leak, not the reporter who received it." And Rubio says:
I am very concerned by reports the Obama Administration targeted a FOX News reporter for possible criminal prosecution for doing what appears to be normal news-gathering protected by the First Amendment. The sort of reporting by James Rosen detailed in the report is the same sort of reporting that helped Mr. Rosen aggressively pursue questions about the Administration’s handling of Benghazi. National security leaks are criminal and put American lives on the line, and federal prosecutors should, of course, vigorously investigate. But we expect that they do so within the bounds of the law, and that the investigations focus on the leakers within the government – not on media organizations that have First Amendment protections and serve vital function in our democracy. We must insist that federal agents not use legitimate investigations as an excuse to harass journalists they deem unfriendly to the President or the Administration. We shouldn’t even have to ask if our government would do such a thing, but unfortunately as the unfolding IRS scandal shows, this White House has created a culture where we do have to explicitly make these kinds of requests.
As Ryan Lizza writes on The New Yorker's website: "It is unprecedented for the government, in an official court document, to accuse a reporter of breaking the law for conducting the routine business of reporting on government secrets."
Here's the PDF of the Justice Department's application for a search warrant of Rosen's email account, with several instances of statements like this:
Can you imagine if this were a Republican administration targeting, say, an MSNBC reporter? On Twitter, Lizza described today's White House briefing as "surreal":
Today's WH briefing is surreal. Reporters can't get @presssec to garner a shred of concern about DOJ calling James Rosen a criminal.— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 20, 2013
Meanwhile, Lizza's Twitter bio has changed to "Washington Correspondent for The New Yorker, Contributor for CNN, aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator."
A rightwing Internet radio host is gonna get a visit from the Secret Service.
This guest post is by 17 leaders from across the state who oppose the expansion of coal exports.
The fight against dramatically expanding coal exports scored a victory this month when three proposed coal port sites were abandoned by Houston-based Kinder Morgan Co. However, two proposed coal export sites remain in Washington State: Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point and Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview. That is why the newly launched Leadership Alliance Against Coal will continue to work to oppose coal trains and exports to protect our communities.
Washington residents live in a state that is beautiful, prosperous, and bountiful with natural resources. As Washington leaders of cities and tribal nations, we have an obligation and fiduciary responsibility to protect our environment, natural resources, economies, and the health of our residents. Together, we are building a future that ensures generations from now still will call Washington State the best place to make a home and raise their children.
That is why we oppose the proposals to build coal export terminals on the Puget Sound, and to send as many as 18 coal trains per day, each over a mile long, through our state to and from these terminals. These coal trains threaten the health of our communities, the strength of our economies, and the environmental and cultural heritage we share.
In our cities, these coal trains will create unacceptably long delays for residents, visitors, freight, first responders, and others who are trying to cross the busy rail corridor. The City of Seattle conducted a study that found coal trains could add an additional two hours of gate downtime at major street crossings of the railway by 2025. Similar delays are likely in cities large and small along the proposed route of these trains.
On Washington State tribal lands, coal trains will cause those same disruptions, but will also do additional damage to treaty rights and cultural heritage. The proposed Gateway Terminal located at Cherry Point is proposed to be built on sacred ground of the Lummi Nation. It is no different than if someone proposed to build a coal terminal at Arlington National Cemetery. For generations, the Native Americans have witnessed and experienced devastation of cultural heritage, health and ancestral lands. We don’t need to see any more.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The girl had walked to Fritz’ home to meet with him, and when she arrived, Fritz allegedly took the girl down to the basement and sexually assaulted her despite her resistance and demands to stop...
Brown and Applewhite then sexually assaulted the girl while Fritz videotaped the rape, according to court documents. Fritz was identified in the video because at one point he turned the camera towards his face, authorities said...
Two days later, the video of the attack was posted on Brown’s Facebook account, according to court documents. The video was also allegedly later posted on Fritz and Applewhite’s Facebook pages.
Here's the Jezebel post about it, which I'm linking to only because half the comments are just GIFs and pictures of kittens, which you might need, because this shit is unbearably grim.
CALIFORNIA: A San Leandro youth pastor was among dozens arrested during a massive prostitution sweep last week in Florida, who was in Orlando for a ministers conference. Samuel Yoon, 45, who works at New Community Mission Church, a Southern Baptist church in San Mateo, was arrested May 8 as part of an undercover sting in Polk County, Fla. In all, 92 people were arrested in a span of four days. Sheriff's deputies said Yoon responded to an ad posted by an undercover detective offering women for sale. Authorities say that he was looking to have sex with who he thought was a 14-year-old girl. He was in Orlando at the time, authorities said, to attend a youth ministry conference.
Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife... THEY'RE coming! Soon Seattle will be crawling with the foot soldiers of a very powerful and evil army. Here is your official Wicked Clown Countdown™ that you never wanted, nor asked for, SLOG.
You have only 4 days to prepare.
Clown'mageddon Helpful Hint #1: You can buy Faygo at Ezell's Chicken on 23rd. Stick to Rock & Rye, or Redpop. They look the most like blood.
Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
Slog tipper Hart Viges, an Iraq War vet, sends this photo of a National Guard recruitment effort at the Great Urban Race near Denny Triangle on Saturday. The big red banner shows the Superman and National Guard logos together—in between it says, "One American icon inspires another." Later, I saw runners on Capitol Hill wearing red capes emblazoned with the two logos. The joint Man of Steel movie and National Guard promotion is called Soldier of Steel.
As the Soldier of Steel website says, "Superman's worldwide heroics are invaluable. But he can't be everywhere at once. The National Guard needs recruits like you."
To make matters worse, Cracked breaks down a hokey new National Guard/Man of Steel commercial and says it depicts Superman "as one big crazy jackass."
Viges says he approached the recruiters holding the banner in his Iraq Veterans Against the War hoodie—he's a member of the anti-war group who's been tabling at local high schools promoting alternatives to military service. Viges says he tried to explain that Lex Luthor, Superman's arch-nemesis, was an arms dealer, corporate executive, and US president, and they're twisting the hero's narrative.
Obvious question: If it's not okay to use comic book characters to sell cigarettes, why is it okay to use them to sell war?
On tomorrow's ballot, the city of Portland, Oregon will decide whether to fluoridate its drinking water supply, a measure that a recent SurveyUSA poll suggests is losing by a double-digit margin. Good news for dentists, but fucking crazy. So crazy, in fact, that it qualifies the entire city of Portland to win the SECB endorsement for Lieutenant Governor.
Capitalism all around...
Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability (David Owen)
- Highlight on Page 191 | Loc. 2280-84 | Added on Sunday, May 19, 2013, 03:59 PM
In 2006, a researcher at the University of Montana, in a study based on satellite data collected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, determined that the nation’s largest irrigated crop is cultivated grass, which covers more than 32 million acres in the continental United States. (The second largest irrigated crop, at roughly 10 million acres, is corn.) Homeowners spend more than $40 billion a year on their lawns, and they use approximately a hundred... (You have reached the clipping limit for this item)
At dawn yesterday morning, in a remote and wooded area of Seattle, Saint Genet company director Ryan Mitchell re-created Chris Burden's notorious 1971 artwork Shoot. In the original, Burden was shot in the arm with a .22 rifle in a gallery and called it sculpture. Ryan was shot in the arm with a .22 rifle, then walked approximately ten miles to the theater, and called it performance.
I walked with him. I was not exactly thrilled to be in the situation, but if it was going to happen anyway, I felt a duty to witness.
That was the beginning of Saint Genet's closing-night performance of Paradisiacal Rites at On the Boards. The top-two activities for Seattle just after dawn were jogging and homelessness.
There's a photo of the wound—for your own verification purposes—below the jump. More coming in next week's paper.
A new poll in Seattle's mayoral race conducted this weekend on behalf of KING-5 News, shows Mayor Mike McGinn retaining a slight lead in his hotly contested fight to retain his office.
|Mike McGinn||22 percent|
|Peter Steinbrueck||17 percent|
|Ed Murray||15 percent|
|Bruce Harrell||12 percent|
|Kate Martin||4 percent|
|Charlie Staadecker||4 percent|
|Mary Martin||3 percent|
The survey of 522 registered voters was conducted after Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess dropped out of the race.
The good news for McGinn is that despite the many reporters of his political death, he continues to lead the field. A previous KING5/SurveyUSA poll from March also showed McGinn with a small lead over declared challengers. The bad news for McGinn is that after nearly four years in office, he still trails "Undecided."
Objectively, 22 percent is a pretty shitty number for an incumbent. Then again, the closer we get to the primary, McGinn's numbers don't look all that bad as long he remains in the top two.
Following up on Cienna's post on street harassment last week, I'd like to call attention to some awesome projects fighting street harassment, all of which were mentioned in the comments section as a place to turn when you're trying to combat that icky, how did I just lose that interaction so hard? feeling.
• Commenters were quick to give a shout out to Hollaback!, a website that encourages women who are harassed on the street to document the incident and post it on the site, creating a record of it and possibly embarrassing the harasser while offering some community to other women. They now run a nonprofit that trains people to run localized Hollaback! sites. Seattle currently doesn't have a local site. Someone get on this!
• I'm in love with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh's wheatpaste poster project, Stop Telling Women to Smile, also pointed out by Bree McKenna in comments. Fazlalizadeh also runs a blog with photos of the posters; the most telling ones, I think, are here. (She also sells shirts.)
• Don't Harass Me, Bro posted in the comments about their sticker project. Go here to buy their stickers, and they'll post pictures of where you stuck 'em. (Hopefully on a jerk's face, but walls are nice, too.)
• Commenter Tomahawk started the blog I Was Asking For It, where she posts "pictures of the frumpy shit I happen to be wearing when assholes come a'calling." Submissions are apparently welcome. This is a funny middle finger to the but-what-were-you-wearing question.
• Commenter bookworm shared a link to these Stop Street Harassment stickers that showed up in Oakland.
Doing something about it later is a way to get a little control back, if you aren't quite awake/badass enough to lipstick your entire face, or you were too scared to do anything, or you're just going through the rest of your day climbing the l'esprit d'escalier over and over in your head (remember: shouting a loud "SORRY ABOUT YOUR MICROPENIS" is always an okay go-to retort).
You might've seen a variation of this poster around Capitol Hill over the past few days:
The proper response to an arson is...
1) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying gasoline.
2) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying any flammable fluids, matches and lighters.
3) prosecute the perpetrator of the crime
The questionnaire is supposed to underscore how important it is for you to be armed to the teeth all times. The arguments aren't new or particularly convincing, I just find it striking that a traditionally conservative movement is branching out to recruit gays and lesbians.
It's hard to know who's responsible for putting the posters up all over Capitol Hill. "Nale Dixon," who's credited for drawing the cartoon of the gay couple, returns no search results online. The pro-gun website is run by a dude named Oleg Volk, "An American," but that doesn't necessarily mean he's responsible for papering the hill with them. Without someone to credit, it's impossible to glean the posterer's intentions.
Perhaps being courted by a traditionally right-wing, conservative movement is refreshing and progressive, but it could also just be really effective concern trolling. What better way to make people feel unsafe in gay-friendly Capitol Hill than by slyly referencing homophobia and hate crimes in pro-gun propaganda plastered on every street corner?
Do not watch this video unless you want to see a man attempt to steal a woman's phone and then immediately get hit by a bus. (No gore, SFW, but still, BAM.)
Before the Boston bombing—before surveillance first saved the day and then re-terrified us when a phone conversation between the bomber and his wife was revealed to have been recorded because every phone call period is being recorded by the government now—two technology artists at the University of Washington created an artwork that profiles people who walk by it 24 hours a day. The art piece, called Sanctum, is as innocent as warm pie compared to the National Security Agency. It opened May 4, projected on the facade of the Henry Art Gallery. The museum commissioned it; it will run for two and a half years. Before that, it spent two years in development, artists James Coupe and Juan Pampin not only building and programming its system, but consulting with lawyers and UW's Office of Risk Management to make sure Sanctum wasn't violating whatever remaining privacy we have in public places.
You activate Sanctum.
Since Tim Burgess dropped out Friday and Peter Steinbrueck has been crowned king of the NIMBYs, it's looking more and more like a three-way race for mayor, at least according to our legally binding, always-infallible, impossible-to-be-abused-by-campaigns-that-astroturf-it-on-Twitter Slog poll.
Speaking of which: The poll closes at 3:30 p.m. today.
As of this morning, with 35.9 percent of the vote, Mayor Mike McGinn holds a gossamer thin lead over state senator Ed Murray, who's got 34.5 percent of the vote. Meanwhile,. Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell has 21.6 percent of Slog's love.
But former council member Peter Steinbrueck trails with a anemic 5.4 percent—and none of the rest cracked even 1 percent.