The city has quietly paid out $402,000 since April to settle six of the eight remaining lawsuits where NYPD detective Peter Valentin, a Bronx narcotics cop, is a named defendant. That brings the total payouts to $1.286 million. Valentin has been on modified duty since March after an Internal Affairs investigation found he and three other members of the team were conducting dubious raids.
CSPANIn “‘It’s So Simple, It’s Ridiculous‘” (May 2004), I explored the exotic world of tax rebels-Americans who believe citizens have no legal obligation to pay income tax. They describe themselves not as mere “tax protestors” but as a “tax honesty” movement, since they believe honesty about the income tax means admitting that none of us legally owe it.
The movement’s prospects looked bleak. “A sober assessment of the empirical evidence,” I wrote, shows “that victories for the tax honesty movement (the occasional criminal acquittal or mistrial) lead inevitably to a later defeat (further convictions or civil seizures).”
While tax protestors fare no better nowadays, it’s the tax collectors who are today making headlines by quibbling about how to interpret various tax laws. Congress has been investigating reports that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may have aimed unusually abusive information requests, denials of status, and bureaucratic foot-dragging at nonprofit groups with a conservative bent.
“They heard me get shot. They heard me scream for assistance. They were just two blocks away – but they were fifteen minutes from the end of their shift, and they went back to the station instead of coming to my aid.”
“I can’t get killed for this job,” observed one of Adam Basford’s former colleagues in the Yakima Police Department, explaining why he had refused to come to Basford’s aid during a hand-to-hand struggle with an armed suspect. “I thought we were going to get killed, so I had to leave you there.”
That officer was one of three who were in a position to help on August 18, 2013 when Basford attempted to arrest Antonio Cardenas, a recently paroled felon who was suspected of aggravated assault with a firearm. Concerned over the safety of bystanders, including a young girl, Officer Basford didn’t pull his gun. He found himself grappling with a younger ex-convict who was several inches taller and at least sixty pounds heavier, while every other available nearby officer found something better to do.
For decades, top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (PEA) were aware that a compound approved for agricultural use in the United States was wiping out the honeybee population, but they chose to ignore the compound’s effects in deference to pressure from agri-giant corporations.
Worse, the agency reacted harshly to anyone within the EPA who attempted to bring the issue to light, including through firings, forced reassignments and other actions.
According to a scholarly 2014 study [PDF] compiled by researcher Rosemary Mason, “on behalf of a global network of independent scientists, beekeepers and environmentalists,” and published on the website of MIT, “We have found historical and chronological evidence to show that the herbicide glyphosate (or other herbicides that are used as alternatives) is responsible for the transformation of garden escapes into super-weeds (in the UK these are termed ‘invasive species’).”
The telling sentence in NPR’s report that US attorney general Eric Holder plans to step down once a successor is confirmed came near the end of the story.
“Friends and former colleagues say Holder has made no decisions about his next professional perch,” NPR writes, “but they say it would be no surprise if he returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients.”
A large chunk of Covington & Burling’s corporate clients are mega-banks like JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America. Lanny Breuer, who ran the criminal division for Holder’s Justice Department, already returned to work there.