Thursday, February 28, 2008

On Cuba (communism) and Iran

The inevitable result of this campaign was to drive Cuba ever-closer to the Soviets. In December 1961, almost three years after his nationalist movement had overthrown Batista, President Castro declared that he was now a Marxist-Leninist and that Cuba was adopting Communism. His ‘conversion’ was less a product of a blinding light on the road to Havana than of the grinding hostility he encountered from Washington. President Kennedy responded to Castro’s announcement in characteristic style, by imposing the economic embargo that has shaped relations between Cuba and the USA ever since.

Background Brief: Iran

In 1979 a popular uprising against the Shah brought Ayatollah Khomeini out of exile in Paris and he became the new leader of, by now, an intensely Islamic-flavoured government in Tehran. By then, its British Empire gone, the UK had lost its clout in international affairs and America took over by massively equipping Saddam Hussein’s army in Iraq and giving him more than a nod and a wink to invade Iran — which he promptly did in 1980.

This was one of the longest wars in history — 1980-1988. Also, considering Iran’s modest population, this was one of the highest-fatality wars in history with up to one million Iranian deaths on the battlefield — at least 100,000 dying from chemical weapons long outlawed by international conventions. The chemicals for these weapons were supplied from America via — yes, you’ve guessed — Donald Rumsfeld, the late unlamented US Secretary of Defense under the present President.

Health Care, Health Industry, etc

U.S. Health Care Spending to Double by 2017, Report Predicts

Shortage of surgeons pinches U.S. hospitals

Health care information matters

Putting health into the patient's hands

Adam Bosworth left google. I wonder why.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

UML: The Positive Spin

Finding a use for UML

Obviously the UML will not be useful to any software developer. Could it perhaps be useful to someone else? Project managers, perhaps? Company executives? The companies themselves? Of course not. Indeed the documents make no pretense of such usefulness, and for good reason. It is hard to imagine what benefit a business could get from pages of cryptic diagrams about hazy properties of a poorly understood system.

A friend who was at an object-oriented conference recently told me of all the UML jokes that O-O experts -- some of the most respected people in the field -- were trading during the breaks and in the back of the rooms. He couldn't believe the contrast between the public hype and the private disparagement. But CEOs and other decision makers only hear the hype; they are told that UML is object-oriented, or more often that object-oriented means UML. When it fails to help their software development, UML will give a bad name to the whole O-O field. Given the marketing blitz around it, UML, by not delivering on its promises, has the potential of delaying the progress of object technology by ten years.

The reason I did not discover it earlier is that it only appears in the conclusion. A strange place to describe what one was trying to write about all along, but better than no place at all. Of course what I found is not a technical goal (UML, as I said already, serves no software-related purpose whatsoever, and that's fine with me -- some people have better things to do with their lives than trying to improve software technology). It is not a managerial goal, at least not for people managing software projects. It is not a business goal, at least not for any business using UML. But it is a goal.

When I finally discovered that goal, I was almost driven to tears by the authors' noble and generous spirit. It would be unfair to say that the piles of UML documentation are empty of any substance, when in fact they contain one genuine idea. I found it in the very last paragraph of the very last report describing the 0.91 revision [2]. There it was in all its openness, explaining everything I had theretofore misunderstood in my youthful naiveté. How could I criticize the method for not helping software developers or managers, when it does not care about software development at all, but only about developing a market for consultants and trainers? Everything started to make sense: the complexity and bizarreness of the notation, which I had foolishly taken for a deficiency, are in fact among its most attractive qualities, since they make for endless business opportunities, for Rational and perhaps even for others as well; so does its lukewarm adoption of object-oriented ideas, since it means a consultant does not even have to like or understand object technology to profit from UML.

My long search had not been in vain. It had led me to a full appreciation of the UML, this admirable self-feeding machine, devoted from A to Z to the creation of a new market, free of any of the difficulties associated with the unpleasant business of software development: UML books! UML courses! Courses on the books! Books on the courses! Books on the books! Introductory courses to prepare for the advanced courses! Courses for those who teach the courses! Revisions! UML journals! Conferences! Workshops! Tutorials! Standards! Committees! T-shirts! The more you think about the possibilities, the more dazzling they look. And for any reader brave or bored enough to read the documents to the end, the grand scheme is all there, laid out in the final paragraph.

Reminds me of Amway, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Slashdot | Plants Use Twitter to Tell You to Water Them

Plants Use Twitter to Tell You to Water Them
Slashdot | Plants Use Twitter to Tell You to Water Them

Blogged with Flock

Quotes on Democracy

Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses. - HLM

"Under the pressure of fanaticism, and with the mob complacently applauding the show, democratic law tends more and more to be grounded upon the maxim that every citizen is, by nature, a traitor, a libertine, and a scoundrel. In order to dissuade him from his evil-doing the police power is extended until it surpasses anything ever heard of in the oriental monarchies of antiquity."

Mencken wrote that in Notes on Democracy (1920), due out soon from the Mises Institute, and thanks to William H. Peterson for recommending it to us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cell Phone Use Linked To Increased Cancer Risk -- Cell Phones -- InformationWeek

Frequent cell phone users face a 50% greater risk of developing tumors of the parotid gland than those who don't use cell phones, according to a recently published study.The parotid gland is the largest human salivary gland; it's located near the jaw and ear, where cell phones are typically held.
Cell Phone Use Linked To Increased Cancer Risk -- Cell Phones -- InformationWeek

No information on bluetooth though.

Blogged with Flock

Doaba region: Hub of dental tourism in India

India has recently become a major tourist hub of dental care solutions. You can have your teeth fixed and make your holidays memorable without getting a hole in your pocket.As dentistry gets a new edge with state-of-the-art technology, a large number of NRIs, mostly hailing from the Doaba region of Punjab, better known as the NRI belt, are thronging the city for specialised dental treatments at affordable costs. The NRIs mostly club their travel with treatment.
Doaba region: Hub of dental tourism in India

There is a huge opportunity in Hyderabad.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Health insurer's letter seeks to get coverage canceled

Citing an effort to hold down costs, health insurance giant Blue Cross wants doctors in California to report conditions it could use to cancel new patients' medical coverage, it was reported Tuesday.The state's largest for-profit health insurer is sending physicians copies of health insurance applications filled out by new patients, along with a letter advising them that the company has a right to drop members who fail to disclose "material medical history," the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site."Any condition not listed on the application that is discovered to be pre-existing should be reported to Blue Cross immediately," according to the letter obtained by the newspaper.One of the conditions noted in the letter that could force a new patient to be dropped by Blue Cross—pre-existing pregnancies.WellPoint Inc., the Indianapolis-based company that operates Blue Cross of California, said it was sending out the letters in an effort to keep costs at a minimum.
San Jose Mercury News - Health insurer's letter seeks to get coverage canceled

Blogged with Flock

Monday, February 11, 2008

Climate Change - The True Cost of Biofuels: Science Snapshot

Major findings of The Nature Conservancy/University of Minnesota study on land clearing and the biofuel “carbon debt” include:

  • Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a ‘biofuel carbon debt’ by releasing 17 to 420 times more carbon dioxide than the fossil fuels they replace.
Climate Change - The True Cost of Biofuels: Science Snapshot

Blogged with Flock

Friday, February 08, 2008

Headhunters: The World's Top Executive Recruiters - BusinessWeek

Headhunters: The World's Top Executive Recruiters - BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek's list of the World's Most Influential Headhunters pulls back the curtain on the often-mysterious business of executive
recruiting. See abridged profiles of our first 50 in this slide show, and check out longer profiles of each individual. Also, search by geographic focus, companies they recruit for, and industries of specialization in our table.

Blogged with Flock

Couple Brought Together Through Mutual Desperation | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

After years of unrelenting disappointment and failure on the dating scene, eligible singles Karen Ridenour and Paul Klein forged an instant, clinging bond last month through a mutual desperation born mainly out of an intense fear of being unloved for the rest of their lives.
Couple Brought Together Through Mutual Desperation | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

Blogged with Flock

The Economics of Online Backup - Inside Lightroom

Doing the math, storing my TB-sized library on Amazon S3 would cost $150.00/month. This adds up to $1800/year. With the additional charges to upload the data, that comes in at just under $2000.
The Economics of Online Backup - Inside Lightroom

Blogged with Flock

Immigration Voice Letter Campaign : 2/7/2008

Dear Immigration Voice Members,

2007 was a good year for all of us at Immigration Voice (IV). We at the Immigration Voice leadership team whole-heartedly thank all of you who contributed to our initiatives and helped us get a good outcome after the July Bulletin fiasco. Your help in the San Jose and Washington DC rallies really brought us good attention and helped us gain traction in Washington DC.

However, our work is not over and a lot more needs to be done to resolve our issues.

Looking ahead in 2008:

Legislative changes are going to be difficult this year due to the general election in November. We are going to do out best to accomplish reform legislatively and there is a precedent of good bills passing during a presidential election year. AC21 laws were passed in October 2000, one month before the Presidential election.

What can be done in absence of legislative reform and activity in Congress:

In the absence of legislative reform, there are some things that can be done without legislation and without an act of congress that would provide interim relief to all of us. These changes are the administrative changes that can be done by the current administration thru changes in the federal regulations based on Immigration laws. Immigration Voice made some headway in this sector by meeting with administration officials, including the White House staff and the DHS staff in September, November and then in December of last year. These meetings helped us start a conversation on possible administrative fixes like

(1) 3 years EAD and AP.

(2) Reinstating in-country visa re-stamping.

(3) Reinstating premium processing of 140 filing.

(4) Allowing filing 485 when visa number is not available.

(5) Clearly defining “same or similar” job description in portability cases when AC-21 is invoked.

(6) Recapture the unused visas for permanent residency to fulfill the congressional intent of granting of 140,000 green cards per year.

What you can do to help us accomplish this administrative reform:

We are organizing a massive letter campaign asking every participant to send a letter to President Bush urging him to provide some immediate relief. The deadline for the letter campaign is March 1st. Please do send in your letters ASAP. Such letters create a very favorable opinion of our case in key circles of the administration and help us pave the way for reform.

Templates for the letter to the President and directions regarding this action item can be found by clicking here (Or copy-paste this URL )

There is absolutely nothing to fear or worry about:

There are a few people who have concerns that sending a letter to any branch of the government, such as to President Bush or to members of Congress, would jeopardize their immigration process or would invite future trouble of some kind. Such fears are absolutely baseless and there is nothing to worry. To organize and petition the government for reform is one of the most American things you can do. Think about it, if there were such retaliation from the Government for participating, organizing, protesting peacefully or speaking out then all of the leadership of Immigration Voice would have already stopped working on this issue long time ago. So please do not hesitate in sending this letter. It’s for your own benefit and your own interim reliefs while you are waiting for your permanent residency to come through.


Immigration Voice


Where Hunger Will Hit in 2030

Some of the world's poorest regions could face severe food shortages in the coming decades thanks to climate change, say researchers who have consulted the most sophisticated climate models to predict where crop losses are likely.According to those models, the world's average temperature could rise by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 20 years. The difference may seem small in abstract, but coupled with changes in rainfall, it could have dramatic effects on the growing seasons of important crops.Most of the world's 1 billion poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, points out David Lobell, lead author of a new paper on the predictions and a senior research scholar at Stanford University's Program on Food Security and the Environment (FSE)."Unfortunately," he said in a statement, "agriculture is also the human enterprise most vulnerable to changes in climate."To figure out which regions might be hit the hardest, Lobell and his colleagues used 20 climate models, focusing on poor regions in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Their findings will be published in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Science."We decided that a systematic look at the data might be helpful in identifying which crops and regions have the worst, or best, prospects," Lobell told Discovery News.
Discovery News : Discovery Channel

Open Visuals

Open Font Library

Open Clip Art Library

Icon Library from Tango Desktop Project

Tango is used in Jaws is a Framework and Content Management System for building dynamic web sites:


A very good list of Open Source sofware

State of Open Source Message: A New Decade For Open Source

Had you asked me in on that day in 1998 how far I thought this phenomenon would go, I would not have come close to predicting the success that exists today. As we enter decade one, Free Software / Open Source is mainstream. Indeed, we are the leader in many business computing categories.

There been a phenomenon of wealth creation by Open Source companies, starting with Red Hat's IPO and leading most recently to the purchase of MySQL for 1.1 Billion dollars seven years after the company's creation. But I would warn those of you who consider Open Source by its companies: you're missing the biggest part of the phenomenon. Most Open Source today is software being produced by its users, for its users. The largest part of the payment for Open Source development today comes from cost-center budgets of IT users, be they companies, institutions, or individuals, rather than profit-centers based on Open Source like that of MySQL. By participating in Open Source development, users distribute the cost and risk of the development of enabling technology and infrastructure for their businesses. Their profit centers are not tied to software sales, but to some other business. To find them, look to the communities rather than the companies.

We have actually changed the way that innovation happens. Innovation has gone public. Many companies, institutions, and individuals share innovation on a daily basis, entirely in the open, through Free Software development communities. The products they produce are the leaders in their field. Public innovation eliminates the high transaction costs of lawyers, lawsuits and licensing. It focuses on building a fertile community across the market for idea creation and utilization rather than dividing the market for the direct monetization of ideas as property. This is the economically most efficient approach for most companies.
JMRI's developer countersued the throttle manufacturer for violating his license. The developer's use of the Artistic license with its rather shaky legal language, and an odd court ruling on that license, weakened his countersuit. The case remains in court. The JMRI developer has since switched to LGPL. His plight should be a warning to other developers: you need a license with the strongest legal language that you can get to make it effective, and to protect you from software patent holders, lest unsavory businesses pull the same trick on you. Ask your attorney, but my surmise is that LGPLv3 and GPLv3 are about as strong as you can get, having been reviewed by the attorneys of dozens of major corporations, the eminent Mr. Moglen, and his attorneys at the Software Freedom Law Center.

One necessary tactic will be decoupling the case of software patenting from the system of patenting desired by the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies literally have the best government they can buy. We don't want them in the argument.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On Wikis

Why a wiki?

  • Easy to share and continually refine information, collaborate. (Even though its blindingly obvious why wikis are useful)
  • The Wiki Workplace - foster innovation and growth
  • Motorola's IT Department Takes On Enterprise 2.0
  • Most content management systems are data ghettos. People fail to realize that information is dynamic and continually changes. We should celebrate and rejoice if anyone has information and wants to add/modify, the first step towards doing that is to make it extraordinarily easy to add information - either modify directly or add a comment.
  • Wikis enhance the spirit within the organization, bringing together people from cross-cutting concerns together.
  • However, one must be cautious. All men are created equal doesn't work too well in the real world. And don't go ga-ga over democratization of information. Things need to be architected elegantly, someone smart needs to do thoughtful research, anticipate future needs and design.
  • At the same time, never forget how important freedom is: Adam Bosworth's talk.
That software which is flexible, simple, sloppy, tolerant, and altogether forgiving of human foibles and weaknesses turns out to be actually the most steel cored, able to survive and grow while that software which is demanding, abstract, rich but systematized, turns out to collapse in on itself in a slow and grim implosion.

My main criteria for a Wiki evaluation are:

  • Tags (tagcloud): Allows multiple tag (keyword) assignment to any page. This removes the overhead of setting up a hierarchical structure. Searching becomes easy. Navigation can be done by tagclouds, which can be weighted.
  • Attachments: In-place file attachments are useful.
  • RSS Feeds: Allow us to look at a variety of streams of information quickly without having to subscribe, maintain mailing list, etc. Almost all wikis have this as well.
  • Comments: All wikis allow comments, as part of wiki or as a plugin, hence I'm not including that in the pros and cons.
Without furthur ado and fanfare, lets take a look at some solutions.


  • Features:
  • Has tons of features, true enterprise class, integrates blogs, has workspaces and many other features.
  • Unfortunately, it is not free.
  • Lots of companies use this:


  • Sharepoint might have some of the required features, but I don't know which ones work well and which ones don't. It seems like a document repository. The good thing about sharepoint is automatic authentication. All Enterprises have Microsoft messaging infrastructure, Exchange + Outlook + Live Communicator. Like it or not, sharepoint is going to be the standard in most enterprises. This has nothing to do with the technical capabilities of Sharepoint, but the suits in the management would make this decision for you and push it down your throat.
  • I've used Sharepoint, its mostly useless. However, upper management wants to see everything as properly organized and lower managers comply by creating a hierarchy of folders and put some documents there. This has limited utility (slightly better than shared folders), but it makes people look good.


  • Useful for enterprises, can build portals and such.
  • Supports attachments.
  • Quick intro: A taste of wiki:
  • Supports tags
  • Lots of power under the hood. If I were CIO/CTO, I would take one good, hard look at TWiki.

  • File based storage – easiest to migrate.
  • Easy to use, install and configure. Can get it up and running in 2 mins.
  • No attachments
  • No tags

Deki Wiki
  • Supports attachments
  • Supports tags
  • WYSWYG editor. All other wikis require us to learn that specific wiki syntax.

  • MySQL based, used by Wikipedia.
  • No tags
  • Poor file attachment support. Can't attach to current file, attach somewhere else and link to it.

  • Not a wiki, but a document management system
  • Tags and tagclouds
  • Has document workflows

On Wikis

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

H-1B documentation

If you have any questions after reading this, please join H1Bfaqs group. And go through the archives.

Deadline for first time H-1s
  • Masters degree holders in US (or any other US degree) - Feb 29th, 2008
  • Foreign degree holders - Feb 22, 2008. We need 2 weeks for educational evaluation

Comprehensive list of documents for those in India and in US, both for initial and transfers. If you don't understand a document requirement below, it means you don't need it. For example, if you've never been to US, you won't have an I-94 and don't have to worry about sending it.

DO NOT Submit Originals - submit photocopies
Clear copies of the documents only in A4/Letter size (Not legal size)
  • Degree and Certificates in related field with marksheets or transcript
  • All prior work experience letters from previous employers on their company letterhead
  • ALL PAGES of Passport
  • I-94 copy
  • H-1B Approval Notice, VISA and I-94 (with clear dates of arrival) if already in USA on H-1B
  • H4, B1/B2 or SEVIS (I-20), F-1 VISA with I-94 if applicable (for you or your spouse)
  • ALL I-20s, OPT card
  • Current 5-6 pay stubs if already on H-1B, L1, L2
  • Educational evaluation report if any
  • US Employment Authorization Document if applicable
  • All prior Non-Immigration H/L visa Approval( I797) if applicable
  • On a separate sheet - exact dates of any prior stays in the U.S. in H visa status
  • On a separate sheet - your address in USA and foreign country (Eg.India), give the date of last Arrival
  • Copy of Social Security card (If available)
  • Marriage Certificate (For Candidates currently in H4 visa status only)
  • Resume

Scanning Instructions:

  • Faxing is not acceptable. Copies need to be high resolution.
  • Scan using a high resolution scanner. The formats and resolutions would be different, eg., bmp, jpg, png, tiff, 1640 * 1800, etc.
  • We need copies in easily printable format. Convert everything to Adobe PDF. Use CutePDF to print to PDF if you don't have Adobe Acrobat.
  • Merge the PDFs to create a few files. One pdf for passport, one for certificates, etc.
  • Use gmail, which allows attachments upto size 20 MB.
  • If you are compressing the files, rename the file extension, like so: to Extension .zip extension not allowed in gmail.
  • Anything more than that, you need to reconsider your scanning options and scan to jpg, then convert to pdf and so on and so forth.

Filing Options

For those in the US on different status (L1, L2, H4, etc), you can choose one of the following:

  • H-1 application with change of status (I-539 ?) - this is the standard way. This will automatically change your visa status from what you have to H-1 on October 1, 2008. What this means is that you can't work in US (L1) with your previous employer anymore. And for those in L2/H4, you are now in a work visa, which means you need to have regular paystubs from your employer, otherwise, you would go out of status. Your H-1 approval, I-797A, would come with new I-94.
  • Another way of filing is to opt for consular processing which requires you to go out of the country to get the visa stamped on your passport when you want to switch. This gives you the flexibility needed, if you are on L1 and would like to decide when to switch.
Filing for H-4
  • All H-4s, opt for consular processing. You would be disinclined to move from your current location, which creates some placement challenges. If you are on H-1 and not working, you would be out of status. Best course of action is to opt for consular processing, and when you are ready, get H-1 stamped. You would have the luxury of being in H-4 and not worry about maintaining status.
  • As an aside, consider pursuing a Master's degree. Some states offer resident/in-state tuition for temporary work aliens too. One of them is California. There is one more, which I don't remember. Perhaps Massachusetts?

Filing Options for L-1/L-2
  • If you are on L1 and your wife is working on EAD (L2), this creates interesting combination problems. Always opt for consular processing. You don't know who would be picked up in the lottery.
  • If the L2/EAD spouse gets through the lottery, you are in good shape. You can use L1 and H1 combination.
  • If the L1 holder gets through, consular processing would give you time to evaluate the situation and see what is the best course of action.

Filing address
  • For Masters students is (was) different. Confirm with lawyer before mailing out.
  • For non-quota H-1 is different. I guess everything goes to CA. (look at comments)

Stamping Issues

Stamping issues go here - don't print documents in India, print everything in US.

If you have any questions after reading this, please join H1Bfaqs group. And go through the archives.

H-4 documentation

All consultants on H-1B should understand that it is their responsibility to maintain the H-4 Status of their Spouse and Children as lawyer may not have knowledge whether they are married or single or we may not have documents of their Spouse and Children if they are in USA.

For extension of H-4 Status:

  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of H-1B Approval Notice for main beneficiary
  • Copy of H-4 Approval Notice (if any), Visa and I-94 if already in U.S. on H-4;
  • Copy of Social security Card if applicable
  • Current 4-5 pay stubs for Spouse on H-1B
  • Marriage Certificate and Birth Certificate for Children
  • Current Address in USA
  • Foreign Address

Even though we say for extension the same set of documents can be used for initial filing as well. Google for I-539.

Monday, February 04, 2008


H-4 extension

If you are on H-1 and transferred, your spouse doesn't need to transfer H-4. As long as the visa/I-94 is valid, you are in good shape. However, when visa/I-94 expires, you need to file for I-539 - Application to Extend/Change non immigrant status.

Fee for this is $300, attorney fee would be $350. You can fill it yourself and send it to USCIS, no need of attorney.

Make sure that you file for this at least a few months before expiry.


If you have any questions after reading this, please join H1Bfaqs group. And go through the archives.


Refundable fee if not selected in the lottery

  • USCIS Filing Fee: $320
  • USCIS Training Fee: $1500 ($750 if less than 25 employees)
  • USCIS Fraud Prevention: $500

  • Attorney fee: $830
  • Document checking: $100

Total: $2500 (without education evaluation)

Additional fee as necessary

  • Educational Evaluation fee
  • $75 - related foreign degree (CS, IT, Electronics and Computer Science, etc)
  • $250 - $350 for evaluation based on experience. Unrelated degree, but has IT experience. $250 is the norm.
  • Premium Processing - $1000
  • Evaluation will take 2 weeks. Better send it in advance.

Experience letters must have sufficient detail of skills and job duties. Experience letter that certify you as hard working, honest, decent, diligent, dignified, good looking, nice hairstyle, good gait - are all useless. Must have specific job duties and skills used.

Check for a subsequent post on experience letters.

Multiple H-1B Applications
For multiple filing of H-1B, USCIS will adjudicate with company filing what ever application is selected. If any person is selected through two companies then he will get two H-1B approvals from two different companies and he can join any company.

Master's degree requirement
For Masters degree, one should have Master's degree before filing application otherwise USCIS may deny the application even after selection.

If you have any questions after reading this, please join H1Bfaqs group. And go through the archives.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Wesley Snipes Is Acquitted of Tax Felonies

Mr. Snipes had become an unlikely public face for the tax-denier movement, whose members maintain that Americans are not obligated to pay income taxes and that the government extracts taxes from its citizens illegally.

Two co-defendants — Eddie Ray Kahn, a promoter of tax denial, and Douglas Rosile, a disbarred accountant — were convicted on separate felony counts.

“The verdict shows that promoters face serious jail time” but clients who follow their advice will face a lesser but still-serious risk, said JJ MacNab, a Maryland insurance analyst who attended the trial and is writing a book about tax deniers.

Even as Congress has reduced income tax rates, the tax denier movement has spread, fueled by high payroll taxes, political attacks on the Internal Revenue Service and anger among people who have not benefited from decades of strong overall economic growth.

Instead of prosecuting all offenders, the Justice Department brings cases against well-known individuals, hoping that widespread news coverage will encourage compliance, a policy known as general deterrence.

Tax deniers assert variously that the tax laws are valid but do not apply to them, that no law makes anyone liable for taxes and that the government tricks people into paying. Promoters of tax denial claim that people can legally stop paying income taxes by executing certain documents, or by not signing others, such as tax returns. Courts have rejected all of these arguments.

Friday, February 01, 2008