If you somehow missed the week of May 24th, 2013, you overlooked some of the biggest stories of the 21st century. From massive acquisitions, questionable "Double Irish" tax evasion, and the welcoming of atheists by the Vatican to a nine year old's passionate speech and the extraordinary declaration by Eric Holder on drone strikes, every story was critical. Keep your US citizenship close and your tax reports closer: it's going to be a bumpy ride. Here are the News Genius Quotes of the Week for May 24th, 2013.
News Genius: subject to drone strikes.
5. "Apple pays an extraordinary amount in US taxes."
- Tim Cook, Apple's Congressional Tax Testimony
Not quite. Playing the now-classic "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich," Apple in fact has shed liability for tens of billions of dollars in US tax revenue, funneling earnings "legally" through a series of Irish and Dutch banks. Even ignoring the loopholes, Apple's claims fall short: they in fact do not pay a comparatively extraordinary amount of taxes. Because of the company's sheer volume, their tax contribution seems large ($6 billion in FY2012), but by percentage, Apple's scaled tax payments (14.7% in FY2012) fall far short of the 30%+ average. Apple may be a large taxpayer, but is in no way an even one.
4. "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!"
- Pope Francis I, Embracing Atheists Radio Address
In what is a shocking turn from traditional Vatican statements, Pope Francis I this week sought to reconcile the dramatic divide between church and atheism. Noting the "good" apparent in everyone, no matter religious affiliation nor creed, Francis rhetorically challenged critics of atheism, in a brilliant hypophora, to drop their biases and work for unity rather than mutual distrust. While Francis' words in no way make up for what has become nearly 2000 years of off and on systematic persecution of quite nearly everyone but Catholics, the words go a long way in paving future compromise between two vastly different, yet equally human, communities.
3. "Actavis, Inc. and Warner Chilcott plc today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Actavis will acquire Warner Chilcott plc in a stock-for-stock transaction valued at approximately $8.5 billion."
- Actavis, Inc., Acquisition of Warner Chilcott
On the same day as the flashy acquisition of Tumblr by Yahoo, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical giants, Actavis, Inc., brokered an $8.5 billion buyout ($5 billion and debt) of US-based Warner Chilcott. The buyout, though, is yet another example of the "Double Irish" that Apple infamously failed to explain away this week. While the news probably did not cross the radar of most, the implications are grand: the combined $11 billion in revenue poises Actavis to become one of the two largest international pharma-tech companies, promises global dissemination of Warner Chilcott's most promising drugs, and could lead to new advances in women's health, gastroenterology, and dermatology.
2. "Good evening, or, good morning. My name's Asean Johnson. I'm from Marcus Garvey School, located on 103rd and Morgan."
- Asean Johnson, Speech on Chicago School Closings
And with two sentences, Chicago gained its newest superhero. Nine year old Asean Johnson, a student at Marcus Garvey School in Chicago, recently spoke out about Chicago's plans to close 59 public schools - notably in low-income neighborhoods - with no firm plans to reopen or solve the looming education crisis. Creating an impromptu speech, Asean's brutal honesty shed light on exact how corrupt the process at hand is: as it turns out, all involved in making closing decisions are either unelected or do not live in Chicago. Give thanks for the unabashed honesty of kids; without Asean, Chicago would struggle to find a more loud voice of justice.
1. "United States citizenship alone does not make such individuals immune from being targeted [by drone strikes]."
- Eric Holder, Letter to Congress on Drone Strikes
It finally comes out: as far as the current administration is concerned, your citizenship is no longer enough to protect you from drone strikes. After firmly declaring a "no" when asked if the President has any authority to strike US citizens on US soil, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed this week that any individual, acting in the vaguely-defined "enemy of the state" capacity, is subject to lethal military force abroad. As News Genius expert contributor Spencer Ackerman notes, "Holder said that some of these citizens aren't targeted, but killed accidentally," a "slight-of-hand" that reveals what we had all feared: the CIA is indeed directly targeting American citizens. Strap on your boots - it's war time.