Rand Paul blocking treaties designed to catch tax cheats

Senator Rand Paul is coming under pressure from some multi-national businesses to drop his opposition to tax treaties between the United States and other nations.

Citing privacy concerns about Americans’ tax data, Paul, a Republican and libertarian, has single-handedly blocked Senate action on treaties with Hungary, Switzerland and Luxembourg that have been signed by authorities on both sides, but have been awaiting Senate review since 2011.

At least six other tax treaties or treaty updates — with Chile, Spain, Poland, Japan, Norway and Britain — may soon be added to the Senate’s queue for confirmation votes.

Major U.S. businesses such as IBM Corp and Fluor Corp are lobbying for Senate action on tax treaties, according to Senate lobbying disclosure documents.

“How many treaties will be held hostage?” asked Cathy Schultz, a lobbyist for the National Foreign Trade Council, a Washington, D.C.-based group that represents companies such as Caterpillar and Pfizer.

Paul has said he is concerned that recent treaties would give foreign governments too much access to U.S. citizens’ tax information, a stance that has some support among like-minded conservative libertarians.

“Rand Paul is not a typical senator who may bend over to business lobbyists,” said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy at The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank…

He’s right. Paul bends over for the thugs who own the business lobbyists. And the Cato Institute btw.

No new tax treaties or treaty updates have been approved since 2010, when Paul was elected as the junior senator from Kentucky on a wave of support for Tea Party-aligned Republicans.

Paul recently declined to answer questions from a reporter in a Capitol hallway about the “hold” he has placed on the treaties. Under Senate rules, one senator can prevent a motion from reaching a vote on the Senate floor…

In recent years, tax treaties have begun to play an increasing role in efforts by the United States and major European Union countries to crack down on tax avoidance.

The U.S. Treasury in 2012 began signing new tax pacts with countries as part of implementation of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, a 2010 anti-tax-evasion law.

Hilarious. Because nutball Tea Party libertarians consider taxation intrusive to their privacy – and private gain – there are a few opportunist Republicans who think this suddenly makes that party less pro-Business.

It may show the party to be pro-stupidity by trying to interfere with global commerce; but, Paul isn’t doing so on behalf of people who are screwed by global corporations. He’s doing this to protect the profits squirreled away in tax havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands by crooks who wouldn’t pay a fair share to their own funeral if they could get away with it.

Touring the world’s greatest science labs


The CERN lab near Geneva, like many other research facilities, offers tours of the premises

They may be at work pursuing the greatest mysteries of the physical world—yet the men and women who operate the world’s most prestigious physics and astronomy laboratories aren’t necessarily too busy to host guests. Throughout the world, physics and astronomy labs—many of them shimmering like stars in the wake of tremendous discoveries and achievements, some on mountaintops, others underground—welcome visitors to tour the premises, see the equipment, look through the telescopes and ponder just why they almost always make you wear a hardhat.

CERN. It’s the little things in life that really matter to the researchers at CERN, or the European Organization for Nuclear Research. This facility—located near Geneva, Switzerland—has gained superstardom over the last year, after announcing the discovery of what had been a holy grail of physics for decades—sometimes called the “God particle.” First predicted by physicist Peter Higgs in 1964, the then-theoretical particle, which pops from a field that is believed to give other particles their mass—became known as the Higgs boson before more recently assuming its grandiose nickname.

CERN’s $10 billion atom smasher, called the Large Hadron Collider, had been at work for several years in its subterranean home in the Alps, beneath the French-Swiss border, colliding protons at high speeds before rendering what seemed to be evidence for the God particle in 2012.

Should you be in the charming Swiss countryside this summer, consider taking a guided tour of this most distinguished of the world’s great physics laboratories.

RTFA and consider many other tours around the world’s leading science labs. Leave more suggestions if you’re so inclined.

Thanks, Ursarodina

One of those falsely accused in Boston attacks confirmed dead – probably for weeks!


Sunil Tripathi

The body of a man found in a Rhode Island river is a student mistakenly identified as one of the Boston bombers, medical officials confirm. Sunil ­Tripathi, 22, was identified by a forensic dental exam, but his cause of death has not been determined.

Members of a university rowing team found the body on Tuesday evening, a month after Tripathi went missing. He has been described as the other victim of the bombings after he was wrongly identified a suspect.

On Thursday, the Tripathi family said in a statement they felt “indescribable grief”, but were grateful for the outpouring of support.

Mr Tripathi, a Brown University student on leave, was last seen in his apartment in Providence on 16 March. His family had been searching for him with help from the FBI and Brown students…

On Monday social media website Reddit issued a public apology for its coverage of the Boston bombings after it wrongly named Tripathi and other people as suspects.

His sister, Sangeeta, told the BBC of her family’s anxiety at how fast “completely unsubstantiated claims were spreading”.

…media surrounded their family home after her brother was wrongly named.

Anyone expect the officially sleazy crowd of pretend-journalism from Fox News to the NY Post to do something as honorable as apologize to the folks they wrongly identified as suspects?

Best Baguette in Paris


The happy winner – Ridha Khadher posing in front of his bakery

Two hundred and three Parisian bakers entered the Best Baguette of Paris 2013 competition. Wrapped in white paper with identification numbers, the entries were tasted, sniffed, weighed, and measured to determine the winner.

Fifty two entries were disqualified for not meeting the strict guidelines of measuring 55-70 centimeters long or weighing 250-300 grams…

This year’s winner was baker Ridha Khadher. His prize: The privilege of baking bread for the French President, François Hollande.

A contest truly worth winning. Only four ingredients water, a touch of salt, yeast and flour + skill. A lot of skill.