Daniel Coats on Technology
Republican Jr Senator (IN)
Even as Russia faces a weakening economy, the Kremlin is stepping up its campaign to divide Western political and security institutions and undermine the post-WWII international order. We expect Russia will continue to wage its information war against democracies and to use social media to attempt to divide our societies.
Russia's attack against Ukrainian naval vessels in November is just the latest example of the Kremlin's willingness to violate international norms to coerce its neighbors and accomplish its goals. We also expect Russia will use cyber techniques to influence Ukraine's upcoming Presidential election.
The Kremlin has aligned Russia with repressive regimes in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela, and Moscow's relationship with Beijing is closer than it has been in many decades.
"Having said this, we also face a separate challenge that is more methodical than the threat posed by Russia," Coats said, later adding: "In contrast to Russia, China often executes its strategy in a more deliberate and subtle manner that tends to generate less media and public attention."
Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.
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