Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

White House Officials Worried About Russian Stealth

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

A US official told the Wall Street Journal of the White House concern that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was able to hide his intentions towards Crimea from the National Security Agency.

The official said that the Obama administration is “very nervous” about Russia’s successful subterfuge; taking over Crimea and bringing troops to the Ukrainian border and hiding it from US eavesdropping equipment. “This is unchartered territory,” he said.

According to the WSJ US officials are in the dark about how Russia was able to hide its plans from the NSA, which spies on digital and electronic communications.

Apparently, says the Journal, Russian leaders either “deliberately avoided communicating about the invasion or simply found a way to do so without detection by the U.S.”
Another worry for US deterrence is whether this new secrecy is part of a wider trend in which Russia can act without US foreknowledge.

“All military combat operations depend on NSA contributions,” said former assistant command security manager in the US Navy, and consultant Robert Caruso during a discussion about documents potentially accessed by Edward Snowden. “[The Department of Defense] depends on NSA and the Defense Information Systems Agency to secure all its networks and others networks too.”

Corporations Often Pay No Federal Taxes, WSJ Finds

There is a special structure built into the way companies pay taxes that allows the companies to avoid paying even one dollar in federal taxes, which a growing number of companies are taking advantage of, according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

Passing the Profits Through

The companies are called “pass-throughs,” because the companies pass their profits along to their investors, who then pay the taxes. These companies have discovered that it is more cost effective to pass their profits onto their investors and avoid paying taxes rather than hiring an army of accountants to help them take advantage of tax loopholes.

Legal and Encouraged

According to the article in the WSJ pass-throughs have existed for decades, are perfectly legal, and are even encouraged by Congress and state governments. The goal of the pass-through option is to stimulate entrepreneurship.

The Journal reported that 69% of US corporations were organized as non-taxable businesses in 2008. In 1986 only 24% of corporations were organized this way. Because partnerships and sole proprietors were not included in the figures, the percentage of these corporations is actually higher.

More than Anywhere Else

It is common for large companies to be structured this way. An estimated 60% of all US businesses with at least $1 million in profits are pass-throughs, the largest percentage in the developed world.

This fact is a major reason that federal corporate tax collections comprised only 1.3% of the US GDP in 2010 despite the fact that the corporate tax rate in the US is 35%; that figure is down from 2.7% in 2006, and indication that a growing number of companies are taking advantage of this peculiarity of corporate taxation.

Major Innnovation In Transistor Technology

Intel Corporation, one of the leaders in the computer parts business, has won the “Semiconductor Innovation of the Year Award” for its “Tri-Gate Transistor.” The tri-gate transistor is the first 3-D transistor and is a major improvement over the transistors which were developed fifty years ago. The tri-gate transistors will enter mass production by year end and will be produced in Intel chips.

Tri-gate transistors will improve performance and reduce power requirements for an entire spectrum of 22nm-based products from the miniature handheld devices to powerful servers.

The award is given by the Wall Street Journal which has three criterion for judging winning innovations.

1. Does the innovation break away from known ideas or processes already in use?

2. Does the innovation do more than marginally improve existing technology?

3. Will the innovation have a wide ranging influence on its field or on future technology?

Apparently Intel’s tri-gate transistor met these criterion fully.

World Cup Dirty Tricks

It seems that nothing can remain untouched these days. It’s all about money and that doesn’t change with the India- Pakistan cricket World Cup semifinal scheduled for 2 days’ time. Indeed there have already been three arrests by the Chandigarh police for attempts being made to “black-market” tickets for the event. The mark-up was somewhat absurd; on a ticket of Rs.250 and Rs.500, sales were pitched at Rs.56,000!

It was a little much. The police set up a trap to catch them and it worked. Now there is an interrogation taking place to determine exactly what happened and to make an example out of these people to perhaps deter people from trying this trick in the future.

Making Money on the Winning Team

These money-seekers might have tried to make their dough in a more traditional way, as has been done since time immemorial with hedging bets on which team will win. Is this so easy to do? Well, if you look at what has happened in the past between the two teams you will find that from the 199 matches played between the two in world cup matches, India has a 4-0 lead over Pakistan. While this makes for seemingly good news for those who want to place bets, you can never really tell and that is what makes such a gamble so exciting as it could go either way.

Whatever happens on Wednesday, let’s hope no one else gets arrested and greed doesn’t get in the way too much of what is ultimately meant to be a lot of good, sporting fun and no match-fixing occurs which is, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, a fear of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, due to what some players from his country did last year in what became known as the “spot-fixing” scandal.