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Government Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important government corruption news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These government corruption news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of government corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Former Twitter Employees Charged With Spying for Saudi Arabia
2019-11-06, New York Times
Posted: 2019-11-19 01:18:21
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/technology/twitter-saudi-arabia-spies.html

Ali Alzabarah was an engineer who rose through the ranks at Twitter to a job that gave him access to personal information and account data of the social media service’s millions of users. Ahmad Abouammo was a media partnerships manager at the company who could see the email addresses and phone numbers of Twitter accounts. On Wednesday, the Justice Department accused the two men of using their positions and their access to Twitter’s internal systems to aid Saudi Arabia by obtaining information on American citizens and Saudi dissidents who opposed the policies of the kingdom and its leaders. Mr. Alzabarah and Mr. Abouammo were charged with acting as agents of a foreign power inside the United States, in the first complaint of its kind involving Saudis in the country. The case raised questions about the security of American technology companies already under scrutiny for spreading disinformation and influencing public opinion, showing that these firms can be penetrated from the inside as well. It also underscored the broad effort that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and his close advisers have conducted to silence critics both inside the kingdom and abroad. Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was critical of the way Saudi Arabia is run, was murdered last year by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

Note: Read more on Saudi Arabia's extreme efforts to silence its critics. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.


Report: Election Vendors Are 'Prime Targets,' Need Oversight
2019-11-12, New York Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2019-11-19 01:16:20
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/11/12/business/bc-us-election-security-...

The private companies that make voting equipment and build and maintain voter registration databases lack any meaningful federal oversight despite the crucial role they play in U.S. elections, leaving the nation's electoral process vulnerable to attack, according to a new report. The Brennan Center for Justice on Tuesday issued the report, which calls on Congress to establish a framework for federal certification of election vendors. The authors say this could be established as a voluntary program similar to how voting machines are certified, with incentives for state and local election officials to use vendors that have completed the process. It would include the establishment of federal standards and the ability for federal officials to monitor compliance and address any violations. The report's co-author Lawrence Norden acknowledged it was too late for any of this to happen in time for the 2020 presidential election. Although Congress sent $380 million to states last year for election security, Norden said it was a "drop in the bucket" of what is needed as state and local election officials look to fund the replacement of outdated and insecure voting systems, increase cybersecurity personnel and add security upgrades. Just three companies provide more than 80% of voting systems in the U.S.. Other systems like voter registration databases and electronic pollbooks are also supplied and, in some case, maintained by vendors.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.


Suicide Has Been Deadlier Than Combat for the Military
2019-11-01, New York Times
Posted: 2019-11-12 00:57:09
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/01/opinion/military-suicides.html

Suicide rates for active-duty service members and veterans are rising, in part, experts say, because a culture of toughness and self-sufficiency may discourage service members in distress from getting the assistance they need. In some cases, the military services discharge those who seek help, an even worse outcome. More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latest Pentagon figures show the suicide rate for active-duty troops across all service branches rose by over a third in five years, to 24.8 per 100,000 active-duty members in 2018. Those most at risk have been enlisted men under 30. The data for veterans is also alarming. In 2016, veterans were one and a half times more likely to kill themselves than people who hadn’t served in the military, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate went up nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2016. The risk nearly doubles in the first year after a veteran leaves active duty, experts say. The Pentagon this year also reported on military families, estimating that in 2017 there were 186 suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. Military officials note that the suicide rates for service members and veterans are comparable to the general population after adjusting for the military’s demographics — predominantly young and male.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and health from reliable major media sources.


CIA-trained Afghan forces behind war atrocities
2019-10-31, NBC/Associated Press
Posted: 2019-11-12 00:45:39
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/cia-trained-afghan-forces-behind-war-atroc...

Heavily armed men burst into the home in the middle of night, hustling four brothers into separate rooms. Afghan special forces then shot them in the head and heart. The operation, the CIA-trained Afghan unit said, targeted the Islamic State group's militants in a remote region of eastern Nangarhar Province. In reality, the raid took place in the province's capital of Jalalabad. The truth of their deaths was eventually revealed by local and international media and the country's intelligence chief, Masoom Stanikzai, was forced to resign. But that's not enough, says Human Rights Watch in a new report released Thursday documenting what it says are mounting atrocities by U.S.-backed Afghan special forces and rising civilian deaths by both American and Afghan forces. It calls for an investigation into whether the U.S. has committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The report says U.S.-led peace talks to end the 18-year-old war have omitted addressing the future of the Afghan special forces that work "as part of the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency." The report suggests either disbanding them or bringing them under the control of the Defense Ministry. "These troops include Afghan strike forces who have been responsible for extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, indiscriminate airstrikes, attacks on medical facilities, and other violations of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war," it says.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.


Masters of war: architects of modern conflicts
2019-10-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-11-12 00:43:52
https://www.theguardian.com/global/commentisfree/2019/oct/23/architects-major...

If the horsemen of the apocalypse ever hung up their riding boots, this could be a photo of the retirement party. Five men and a woman of very different backgrounds and different continents, brought together by an investment bank and shared history of mayhem. The smiles and hand-holding in the group photo at the JP Morgan International Council in New Delhi are redolent of fond memories. The dean of the bunch is ... Henry Kissinger, the 96-year-old living embodiment of cold war realpolitik with a wealth of foreign policy knowledge and major wars to his name, including the undeclared, illegal mass bombing of Cambodia. Standing in the rear are three of the leading minds behind the 2003 Iraq invasion. Tony Blair is at the left, next to Condoleezza Rice, who was George Bush’s national security adviser at the time. Over to their right is John Howard who, as Australian leader at the time, sent his country’s troops into the fray. The latter-day crusade in pursuit of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction was one of the most disastrous mistakes in history. In among the trio is Robert Gates, former CIA director and defence secretary, who sat the Iraq war out but as deputy director of the CIA did advocate a bombing campaign against Nicaragua. At the centre and focal point of the little group is its newest member, Narendra Modi. The Indian prime minister ... may be being inducted early for moving troops into Kashmir, revoking its autonomous status and rounding up Muslims, even at the risk of nuclear war with Pakistan.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.


Trump says he could send US military into Mexico to ‘wage war’ on drug cartels
2019-11-05, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-11-12 00:41:52
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-mexico-wa...

Donald Trump has suggested sending the US Army over the border into Mexico to “wage war” on drug cartels in a typically bombastic tweet. The US president said his country stood “ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively” if his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, asked him for help. Mr Lopez Obrador declined the offer during a press conference on Tuesday. Mr Trump’s suggestion came after an American family was slaughtered by gunmen during an ambush in Mexico’s Sonora state. The family had been traveling in a convoy of SUVs. Mr Trump has long used the threat of violent crime within Mexico for political ends, blaming the US neighbour for “sending” rapists and murderers north over their shared frontier. The rhetoric has underpinned his stringent migration policies and border strategy.​ In a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Lopez Obrador said: “I haven’t seen the message from President Trump, but I am sure that it comes from a desire to help, to cooperate, that it has not been disrespectful nor interfering. Every time we speak, it is with that desire to help, and the government respects that greatly. We are very grateful to President Trump – to any foreign government which wants to help – but in these cases we have to act independently and according to our constitution, and in line with our tradition of independence and sovereignty.” He did not want to see a war break out, he said. “War is synonymous with irrationality. We are for peace.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Government Loophole Gave Oil Companies $18 Billion Windfall
2019-10-24, New York Times
Posted: 2019-11-04 20:33:31
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/24/climate/oil-lost-revenue-gao.html

The United States government has lost billions of dollars of oil and gas revenue to fossil-fuel companies because of a loophole in a decades-old law. The loophole dates from an effort in 1995 to encourage drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by offering oil companies a temporary break from paying royalties on the oil produced. However, the rule was poorly written, the very politicians who originally championed it have acknowledged, and the temporary reprieve was accidentally made permanent on some wells. As a result, some of the biggest oil companies in the world, including Chevron, Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and others, have avoided paying at least $18 billion in royalties on oil and gas drilled since 1996, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. The companies, which hold government leases to drill in the Gulf, continue to extract oil and gas from those wells while not being required to pay royalties, a right the industry has gone to court to defend. Roughly 22 percent of oil production from federal leases in the Gulf of Mexico was royalty-free in 2018 because of the loophole, the Interior Department said. The report of the windfall to oil companies comes as the Trump administration has moved to further reduce the cost of offshore drilling for the industry, proposing to significantly weaken safety rules put in place after the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

Note: A 2013 Washington Post article suggests practices like this are common across major industries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


The FBI Spends a Lot of Time Spying on Black Americans
2019-10-29, The Intercept
Posted: 2019-11-04 20:31:15
https://theintercept.com/2019/10/29/fbi-surveillance-black-activists/

The FBI has come under intense criticism after a 2017 leak exposed that its counterterrorism division had invented a new, unfounded domestic terrorism category it called “black identity extremism.” A number of civil rights groups have filed public records requests to try to better understand who exactly the FBI is investigating under that designation. The latest batch of FBI documents ... reveals that between 2015 and 2018, the FBI dedicated considerable time and resources to opening a series of “assessments” into the activities of individuals and groups it mostly labeled “black separatist extremists.” This designation was eventually folded into the category of “black identity extremism.” Assessments differ from full-blown investigations - or “predicated investigations,” in the bureau’s lingo - because they do not need to be predicated on a factual basis. As a new report by the civil liberties group Defending Rights & Dissent notes, when choosing targets for an assessment, agents are allowed to use ethnicity, religion, or speech protected by the First Amendment as a factor, “as long as it is not the only one.” As the report notes, “Even though the standards for opening an assessment are extraordinarily low, the FBI is allowed to use extremely intrusive investigative techniques in performing them, including physical surveillance, use of informants, and pretextual interviews.” The bureau has in recent years shifted its target from those espousing “separatist” views to the much larger group of those protesting police violence.

Note: Read more about the FBI's use of "Black Identity Extremism" as a label in its terrorism investigations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry
2019-10-28, New York Times
Posted: 2019-11-04 20:23:03
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/climate/general-motors-california-emission...

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards for automobiles. Their decision pits them against leading competitors, including Honda and Ford, who this year reached a deal to follow California’s stricter rules. The Trump administration has proposed a major weakening of federal auto emissions standards set during the Obama administration, prompting California to declare that it will go its own course and keep enforcing the earlier, stricter standards. The automakers siding with the administration, led by the industry group the Association of Global Automakers, say that the federal government, not California, has the ultimate authority to set fuel economy standards. The legal fight between the Trump administration and California over auto pollution rules has swelled into a battle over states’ rights and climate change that is likely to only be resolved once it reaches the Supreme Court. The Obama-era national fuel economy standard requires automakers to build vehicles that achieve an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which would eliminate about six billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution over the lifetime of those vehicles. The Trump administration is planning to roll back the fuel-economy standard to about 37 miles per gallon. Nearly two dozen other states have filed suit against the Trump administration, alongside California, over the emissions rules.

Note: This is proof that the mileage our cars get is not determined by market forces, but rather by government regulation. Average mileage has risen consistently with regulation, not with innovation. For lots more on this, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Deported parents may lose kids to adoption, investigation finds
2018-10-09, NBC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2019-10-28 22:42:37
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/deported-parents-may-lose-kids-adoption-i...

An Associated Press investigation drawing on hundreds of court documents, immigration records and interviews in the U.S. and Central America identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents. And today, with hundreds of those mothers and fathers deported thousands of miles away, the risk has grown exponentially. More than 300 parents were deported to Central America without their children this summer, many of whom allege they were coerced into signing paperwork they didn't understand, affecting their rights to reunify with their children. Some parents also contended that U.S. officials told them their children would be given up for adoption. "And the reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration," U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said in August while overseeing a lawsuit to stop family separations. The AP asked the State Department, as well as embassy officials in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, whether they were working with deported parents to find their children in the U.S.. The State Department deferred to the Department of Homeland Security, which said in a statement: "DHS is not aware of anyone contacting embassy or consulate in a foreign country to be reunified with a child. This is unsurprising given the fact that these parents made a knowing decision to leave their child in a foreign country."

Note: This would seem to amount to child trafficking by the U.S. government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Arizona official accused of human smuggling via a Marshall Islands adoption scheme
2019-10-09, CNN News
Posted: 2019-10-28 22:40:58
https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/09/us/arizona-county-assessor-charged-human-smugg...

An Arizona county assessor is accused of human smuggling as part of a scheme that involved more than 40 pregnant women from the Marshall Islands brought to the United States to give up their babies for adoption, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Paul D. Petersen, an adoption lawyer licensed in Utah and Arizona and elected Maricopa County assessor, was arrested Tuesday night in Arizona. He faces 11 felony counts in Utah, including human smuggling, sale of a child and communications fraud. He also faces fraud, conspiracy, theft and forgery charges in Arizona. Petersen's illegal adoption scheme allegedly involved the recruitment, transportation and payments to dozens of pregnant women from the islands in the central Pacific. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in a statement that Petersen allegedly falsified information to place the Marshallese women on state-funded health care to cover delivery costs. The Arizona scheme bilked the state out of more than $814,000, the statement said. After the adoptions, the women either moved to Arkansas or returned to the Marshall Islands. In Utah, according to court documents, Petersen is accused of running an enterprise to transport pregnant Marshallese women to the state for adoptions. Each woman was allegedly offered $10,000 "to induce them to place their children up for adoption in Utah," the documents said. A memorandum of understanding sent to one adoptive family by Petersen listed a fee of $35,000.

Note: Could it be that these children are being used for nefarious purposes? This excellent video report suggests that two politicians may have been killed for trying to reveal illegal child trafficking in government.


Whistleblowers say aloud what many of us think in silence. It’s a relief.
2019-10-07, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-10-22 01:40:46
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-living-in-the-golden-age-of-whis...

Principled insiders have been busy in recent years blowing the whistle on wrongdoing from Big Pharma to Wall Street to Washington. Without whistleblowers, we’d probably never have heard about the lead-laced water in Flint, Mich., Jeffrey Epstein’s under-the-table funding of MIT, fraud at Guantanamo, corner-cutting at Boeing and the FAA, or the dubious dealings by President Trump in Ukraine that the House has put at the center of an impeachment inquiry. But ... it has become harder than ever to speak truth to power. What has led us here? A rise in institutional corruption and normalized fraud. Healthy organizations tend to self-correct, fixing problems long before they explode in public. Where they don’t, healthy governments intervene via independent regulators. Whistleblowing only becomes necessary when organizations become more interested in silence and loyalty than in ethics or public welfare, or when government watchdogs have been muzzled or euthanized. Anti-whistleblower pressure intensified with the Obama administration’s implementation of Insider Threat programs throughout government. These programs, a response to the WikiLeaks disclosures, frequently portray lawful disclosures by public employees as criminal acts and lump legitimate whistleblowers together with spies and criminals. Despite these barriers, whistleblowers keep coming forward, because the voice of the individual conscience grows stronger as fraud becomes normalized.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


Revealed: how the FBI targeted environmental activists in domestic terror investigations
2019-09-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-10-22 01:37:29
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/23/revealed-how-the-fbi-targeted...

Helen Yost, a 62-year-old environmental educator, has been a committed activist for nearly a decade. Yost may not fit the profile of a domestic terrorist, but in 2014 the FBI classified her as a potential threat to national security. According to hundreds of pages of FBI files obtained by the Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, and interviews with activists, Yost and more than a dozen other people campaigning against fossil fuel extraction in North America have been identified in domestic terrorism-related investigations. The investigations, which targeted individual activists and some environmental organizations, were opened in 2013-2014, at the height of opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline. In 2010, the DoJ’s inspector general criticized the FBI for using non-violent civil disobedience as grounds to open domestic terrorism investigations. US citizens swept up in such investigations can be placed on terrorism watchlists and subjected to surveillance and restrictions on international travel. In recent years, Donald Trump has approved construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and his administration has also advocated for stiffer penalties against activists who engage in non-violent direct action targeting fossil fuel infrastructure. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Standing Rock protests, seven states have passed legislation making it a crime to trespass on property containing critical infrastructure.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Why Are The Superrich Getting Audited Less?
2019-05-21, Forbes
Posted: 2019-10-22 01:35:08
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelsandler/2019/05/21/why-are-the-super-rich-...

Why the audit rate for the rich is falling: Congressional Republicans cut IRS spending after the party took control of the House in 2011 in an effort to reduce wasteful spending. The agency also drew criticism from Republicans after the IRS said it targeted some conservative nonprofit groups in 2013. Adjusted for inflation, the 2019 IRS budget is 19% below its funding in 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office, which means fewer auditors. While most audits are done via computer, the process is far more complex for big earners, which involves more people with specialized knowledge, said Julie Roin ... at the University of Chicago. “Most people with $10 million or more are running businesses or have business interests on the side, so their income is coming from sources that are harder to audit and their deductions are coming from sources that are harder to audit,” Roin said. Why isn’t the audit rate for poorer Americans falling at the same rate? Concerned with fraud, Congress has made it a priority to audit filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit, an anti-poverty program that gives low-to-moderate working Americans money back on their taxes. In 2018, 25% of taxpayers who received EITC money didn’t actually qualify. Although, ProPublica reported, the law is so complex that many erroneous EITC claims are mistakes rather than outright fraud. More than a third of all audits are of EITC recipients, according to ProPublica. And now, the counties with the highest audit rates are predominantly poor.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You
2019-10-06, New York Times
Posted: 2019-10-22 01:33:09
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/06/opinion/income-tax-rate-wealth...

For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state and local taxes — than any other income group, according to newly released data. That’s a sharp change from the 1950s and 1960s, when the wealthy paid vastly higher tax rates than the middle class or poor. Since then, taxes that hit the wealthiest the hardest — like the estate tax and corporate tax — have plummeted, while tax avoidance has become more common. President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which was largely a handout to the rich, plays a role, too. It helped push the tax rate on the 400 wealthiest households below the rates for almost everyone else. The overall tax rate on the richest 400 households last year was only 23 percent, meaning that their combined tax payments equaled less than one quarter of their total income. This overall rate was 70 percent in 1950 and 47 percent in 1980. For middle-class and poor families, the picture is different. Federal income taxes have also declined modestly for these families, but they haven’t benefited much if at all from the decline in the corporate tax or estate tax. And they now pay more in payroll taxes (which finance Medicare and Social Security) than in the past. Over all, their taxes have remained fairly flat. The combined result is that over the last 75 years the United States tax system has become radically less progressive.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Hackers find voting machines used throughout the US are vulnerable to attack
2019-09-26, CNN News
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:48:04
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/26/politics/hackers-voting-machines/index.html

For the third straight year, elite hackers from around the world who spent a long weekend hacking into voting equipment have released a report detailing vulnerabilities in machines still in use across the country. Each of the more than 100 machines the researchers looked at were vulnerable to at least some kind of attack, said Georgetown professor Matt Blaze, one of the Def Con Voting Village's organizers. As in previous years, the Voting Village collected versions of voting equipment used around the country, much of it ordered from eBay, and invited all of the more than 35,000 attendees of the Def Con hacker conference, which took place in Las Vegas in August, to see what kind of holes they could find. Some of machines were found to be vulnerable to remote attack and one electronic pollbook had a hidden ethernet cable to connect it to the internet. The issue is less that skilled hackers can break into election equipment, Blaze told CNN, and more that elections systems as a whole need to both minimize risk and double-check election results with paper ballots ... and risk-limiting audits. Following accusations that he'd been blocking election security legislation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week backed an amendment to give states an additional $250 million to distribute for election security. But experts have questioned whether that's enough money to get the US to an acceptable level of election security.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


Hackers were told to break into U.S. voting machines. They didn’t have much trouble.
2019-08-12, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:46:29
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/12/def-con-hackers-lawmakers-...

As Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) toured the Voting Village on Friday at Def Con, the world’s hacker conference extraordinaire, a roomful of hackers applied their skills to voting equipment. By laying siege to electronic poll books and ballot printers, the friendly hackers aimed to expose weaknesses that could be exploited by less friendly hands looking to interfere in elections. Almost all of the machines in the room were still used in elections across the United States, despite having well-known vulnerabilities that have been more or less ignored by the companies that sell them. In the three years since its inception, Def Con’s Voting Village ... has become a destination not only for hackers but also for lawmakers and members of the intelligence community trying to understand the flaws in the election system that allowed Russian hackers to intervene in the 2016 election and that could be exploited again in 2020. Congregants spoke often of the need for thorough auditing of election results, increased funding and improved transparency from vendors. The call for paper ballots was a common refrain. At the time of the 2018 midterm elections, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey and South Carolina had no auditable paper trails. “Election officials across the country as we speak are buying election systems that will be out of date the moment they open the box,” Wyden said. “It’s the election security equivalent of putting our military out there to go up against superpowers with a peashooter.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


For the first time in history, U.S. billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class last year
2019-10-08, Washington Post
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:44:36
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/08/first-time-history-us-bill...

A new book-length study on the tax burden of the ultrarich begins with a startling finding: In 2018, for the first time in history, America’s richest billionaires paid a lower effective tax rate than the working class. “The Triumph of Injustice,” by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley, presents a first-of-its kind analysis of Americans’ effective tax rates since the 1960s. It finds that in 2018, the average effective tax rate paid by the richest 400 families in the country was 23 percent, a full percentage point lower than the 24.2 percent rate paid by the bottom half of American households. In 1980, by contrast, the 400 richest had an effective tax rate of 47 percent. In 1960, that rate was as high as 56 percent. The effective tax rate paid by the bottom 50 percent, by contrast, has changed little over time. The tipping point came in 2017, with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The legislation, championed by President Trump and then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), was a windfall for the wealthy: It lowered the top income tax bracket and slashed the corporate tax rate. By 2018, according to Saez and Zucman, the rich were already enjoying the fruits of that legislation: The average effective tax rate paid by the top 0.1 percent of households dropped by 2.5 percentage points. The benefits promised by the bill’s supporters — higher rates of growth and business investment and a shrinking deficit — have largely failed to materialize.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Record debt and inequality gap? It's almost like 40 years of Republican tax cuts failed.
2019-10-03, USA Today
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:42:28
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/10/03/republican-tax-cuts-fail-re...

Since the Reagan administration, Republicans have fervently claimed lower taxes will unleash the "makers" — incentivizing them to work harder and invest more, thereby trickling down to benefit ordinary Americans. Moreover, they have consistently claimed that their tax cuts would create such dramatic economic growth that they’d literally pay for themselves. Instead, the national debt is at a record high, and the gap between the richest and the poorest U.S. households is now the largest it has been in the 52 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it. And that inequality gap started to expand dramatically about the same time the Republican Party started cutting taxes. The American economy since 1950 offers a chance to consider the impact of these tax cuts. From 1950 to 1980, the top federal marginal tax rates ... were as high as 92% and never below 70%. Republicans have been slashing the top tax bracket for annual earned income since the early 1980s, and it is now 37%. Further, in 2003 the GOP shrank the tax rate on unearned income (such as dividends) to 15%, resulting (for example) in the billionaire Warren Buffett having a lower tax rate than his secretary. With such dramatic tax cuts, GOP dogma predicted a booming U.S. economy. But it turns out U.S. economic growth was substantially higher during the period of high taxes. From 1950 to 1980, average annual growth in real (inflation-adjusted gross domestic product) was 3.9%, while from 1981 to 2018 the comparable number was 2.7%.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.


Here are the counties where taxpayers are most likely to be audited
2019-04-02, CBS News
Posted: 2019-10-14 23:40:28
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/where-does-the-irs-audit-the-most-poor-rural-cou...

Taxpayers in rural, poor parts of the U.S. are more likely be audited by the Internal Revenue Service than those living in wealthier counties, according to a new analysis. The county where residents are most likely to face an audit: tiny Humphreys County, Mississippi, where the median household income is less than $24,000 a year, or less than half the income of a typical U.S. family. The higher audit rates in poor regions comes down to an IRS policy of scrutinizing taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, a refundable tax credit aimed at low- and moderate-income Americans. Counties with higher-than-average audit rates tend to be located in the South, the northern Plains, Mountain and Western states. The upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England states have lower audit rates. Many of the counties with the highest IRS audit rates have larger minority populations. That includes Humphreys, where 3 of every 4 residents is black. By comparison ... Denali, Alaska, with the lowest audit rate of all U.S. counties, is 84 percent white and has a median household income of more than $83,000. Audit rates for millionaires have declined by half since 2010. Corporate audits are also on the wane. But the audit rates for people who claim the EITC hasn't fallen as sharply as for the rich and corporations, ProPublica reported in December. That means a typical EITC claimant, who earns less than $20,000 per year, is more likely to face an audit than a millionaire.

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