Tag Archives: Americans for Limited Government

Pentagon: Protests are “low level terrorism”

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) thinks Americans exercising our Constitution’s First Amendment right of freedom of speech is “low level terrorism”!

That’s according to a written exam that the DoD uses for its employees’ routine training.

To be engaged in terrorism is a crime, which means the Pentagon thinks it’s a crime, albeit “low level” [smirk], for Americans to exercise our free speech by protesting.

FoxNews had this news more than three years ago, but only now has bloggers picked it up. Here’s the article in its entirety.

Censorship

FoxNews.com reports on June 17, 2009:

A written exam administered by the Pentagon labels “protests” as a form of “low-level terrorism” — enraging civil liberties advocates and activist groups who say it shows blatant disregard of the First Amendment.

The written exam, given as part of Department of Defense employees’ routine training, includes a multiple-choice question that asks:

“Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism?”

  • Attacking the Pentagon
  • IEDs
  • Hate crimes against racial groups
  • Protests

The correct answer, according to the exam, is “Protests.”

“Its part of a pattern of equating dissent and protest with terrorism,” said Ann Brick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained a copy of the question after a Defense Department employee who was taking the test printed the screen on his or her computer terminal.

“It undermines the core constitutional values the Department of Defense is supposed to be defending,” Brick said, referring to the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.

She said the ACLU has asked the Defense Department to remove the question and send out a correction to all employees who took the exam. “There were other employees who were unhappy with it and disturbed by it,” Brick said.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk said the Defense Department is looking into the matter and expects to provide more information later Wednesday.

“We need to determine if it’s something we’re currently doing,” Melnyk said. “A lot of the information in this exam is intended for people stationed abroad. We counsel those people to avoid demonstrations.”

Anti-war protesters, who say they have been targets of federal surveillance for years, were livid when they were told about the exam question.

“That’s illegal,” said George Martin, national co-chairman of United for Peace and Justice. “Protest in terms of legal dissent has to be recognized, especially by the authorities.

“It’s not terrorism or a lack of patriotism. We care enough to be active in our government.”

Bill Wilson, president of the Americans for Limited Government, which supported the Tea Party demonstrations earlier this year, agreed.

“Groups like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, paramilitary orgainzations that are striking at out at something they oppose or hate, that’s terrorism,” Wilson said.

“To equate that in any degree with citizens being able to express themselves seems to me to be headed down a road where all dissent is suspect and questionable.”

Ben Friedman, a research fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, said the U.S. government has a long history of infringing upon citizens’ civil liberties in the name of domestic security.

“It’s the kind of thing that happens when you have large security bureaucracies, which is why they need to be kept in check,” Friedman said. “These things tend to occur in times of panic, like after Sept. 11.”

The ACLU, in a letter of complaint it sent to the Defense Department, catalogued a list of what it said were recent civil liberties violations by federal authorities, including the monitoring of anti-war protests and the FBI’s surveillance of potential protesters at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Martin said getting information on the extent of the FBI and National Security Agency’s surveillance programs is nearly impossible.

“I have been arrested within 100 yards of George W. Bush and spoken out against the policies of our government in more than 100 countries,” he said. “But they said they have no record on me. I don’t believe that.”

During Bush’s presidency, the Defense Department was criticized for infringing on citizens’ civil rights through surveillance programs designed to protect the nation against terrorist attacks. Brick said she has seen no indication that there will be a change in policy under President Obama.

“We need to see what they do,” she said. “In a number of areas the Obama administration has not backed off and kept the Bush administration line.”

H/t FOTM’s Miss May

~Eowyn

Warren Buffet is a Big Fat Hypocrite

“You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:5

Do you remember billionaire financier Warren Buffet’s recent pious lecture to Americans that “the super rich” should happily pay more taxes because “they can afford it”?

Well, it turns out the IRS has been wrangling with Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, over tens of millions in taxes owed the U.S. government. Mysteriously, the super super rich Buffet company has not fully paid its tax bills for years!

Oh, one other thing: Buffett will host an “economic forum” fundraiser for his pal, Barrry Obama, in New York City next month with VIP tickets topping out at $35,800 a head, reports the New York Post.

H/t my dear friend Sol.

~Eowyn

Bill Wilson writes for NetRightDaily, August 24, 2011:

The Obama Administration has turned to billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of financial giant Berkshire Hathaway, to make the case for raising taxes on the rich because, says Buffett, he can afford it.  On Aug. 22, the White House reportedly chatted with Wall Street’s most famous investor to get his thoughts about the sputtering economy.

What likely got the Administration’s attention was Buffett’s oped in The New York Times. Buffett proposed that “It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” He implied he would like to see the capital gains be treated equally as income.

To wit, he wrote of the so-called “super-rich,” which he apparently defines as households earning $1 million or more a year: “Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.” Isn’t that nice of Mr. Buffett?

But if he were truly sincere, perhaps he might simply try paying the taxes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says his company owes? According to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report — see Note 15 on pp. 54-56 — the company has been in a years-long dispute over its federal tax bills.

According to the report, “We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years at the IRS Appeals Division within the next 12 months. The IRS has completed its examination of our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax years and the proposed adjustments are currently being reviewed by the IRS Appeals Division process. The IRS is currently auditing our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2007 through 2009 tax years.”

Americans for Limited Government researcher Richard McCarty, who was alerted to the controversy by a federal government lawyer, said, “The company has been short-changing the tax collection agency for much of the past decade. Mr. Buffett’s company has not fully settled its tax bills from 2002-2009. Yet he says he’d happily pay more. Except the IRS has apparently been asking him to pay more going on nine years.”

Apparently, not paying taxes in full is an annual occurrence under Buffett’s watch. Considering the size of the company, the amount of unsettled taxes could total in the tens of millions.

McCarty explained, “The rough translation of the report is that Berkshire Hathaway did not pay all the federal taxes that it was required to for 2002 through 2004.  The IRS examination team caught Berkshire Hathaway on at least some issues.  Instead of paying up, Berkshire Hathaway is threatening the IRS with protracted litigation and is in the process of cutting a deal with the IRS Appeals office.”

He continued, “For 2005 and 2006, Berkshire Hathaway again did not pay all the federal taxes that it was required to. Again, the IRS examination team caught Berkshire Hathaway on at least some issues. Now, Berkshire Hathaway is again threatening the IRS with protracted litigation and is trying to cut a deal with the IRS Appeals office.”

McCarty concluded, “And, finally, the IRS has opened another examination of Berkshire Hathaway’s tax returns for 2007 through 2009, but has not officially sent Berkshire Hathaway the bill yet for taxes that Berkshire Hathaway failed to pay for those years. One would expect they will find yet more issues.”

Now, most Americans, when they receive a tax bill from the government, they pay it. They don’t get an attorney. They don’t appeal the bill. They pay it — on time and in full.  But not Buffett’s company, which apparently takes years to settle its liabilities.

Since this appears to be an ongoing pattern at the company, it becomes reasonable to ask: Is this some sort of internal company policy to delay paying taxes on time? If so, could this be construed as a form of tax evasion?

Interesting questions for the man who professes to want to pay more to Uncle Sam, and who sees fit to raise the burden on all job creators — except for perhaps his company — despite the longest period of sustained high unemployment since the Great Depression.

As Mr. Buffett has seen fit to enter the political arena, in the interests of full disclosure, the American people should be alerted to his own taxing hypocrisy. Reporters should ask him, “If you’re so interested in paying more in taxes, why doesn’t your company settle its tax bills from the past decade now?”

Then they might ask him about the pot and the kettle as a follow-up.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.