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The Great Unwashed

U.S. Politics: Pooch Been Screwed

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People are losing their shit at Garland. This is going to have real consequences; I’ve seen even middle of the road liberals going hard at Garland over this latest ruling. 

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What consequences can there be to Merrick Garland? Heh.

The DoJ's brief takes a number of whacks at Trump, but the principle they are defending is the one they were always going to defend: that a President cannot be sued for defamation in the course of his duties, with "his duties" being read as expansively as possible. The DoJ will always fight tooth-and-nail over laws that protect the Executive branch.

If they don't, they open up the possibility for a wave of frivolous defamation suits against Biden whenever he says anything critical about anyone. The reason it doesn't happen now is that people know that they are going to face the DoJ, not his personal lawyers.

 

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Garland has been protecting Barr and Trump a lot and defending him as an “institutionalist” doesn’t fly. The institution is fundamentally broken, the abuses of the Trump administration exposed problems already extant in the DoJ and should be cause for reform, not doubling down and aligning with fascists. 
 

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56 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

What is I.S. Politics?

I thought this thread was about the politics of the international space station. :dunno:

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Islamic State, obviously, doubtless sparked by the potential advantages to ISWAP of the death of Abu Shekau. 

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Just read in my morning news that the FBI has recovered the ransom paid by Colonial Pipelines. Somehow they just reached into the hackers bitcoin wallet and extracted it. 

 

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Whatever happened to just demanding unmarked non-sequential bills? 

Beware the funny money.....

 

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50 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Just read in my morning news that the FBI has recovered the ransom paid by Colonial Pipelines. Somehow they just reached into the hackers bitcoin wallet and extracted it. 

 

The FBI recovered part of the ransom. The ransom was 75 Bitcoin and they recovered the 67.5 that was going to be paid to the criminal affiliates of the group DarkSide. Turns out they act as a “service provider” to criminal organizations who carry out the actual attack, taking a fee for providing the service (the malware). The portion paid to DarkSide has not been recovered.

There is speculation that the FBI managed to track the money because the hackers were inexperienced.

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6 hours ago, Ran said:

What consequences can there be to Merrick Garland? Heh.

The DoJ's brief takes a number of whacks at Trump, but the principle they are defending is the one they were always going to defend: that a President cannot be sued for defamation in the course of his duties, with "his duties" being read as expansively as possible. The DoJ will always fight tooth-and-nail over laws that protect the Executive branch.

If they don't, they open up the possibility for a wave of frivolous defamation suits against Biden whenever he says anything critical about anyone. The reason it doesn't happen now is that people know that they are going to face the DoJ, not his personal lawyers.

 

Biden can fire Garland. And I know why they’re doing it, but it’s still idiotic. If they keep this shit up, Republicans won’t need to rig the elections next year. 

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Can we spot what's wrong with this headline?

"Qnon At the Crossroads: Leaders Try To Rein In the Crazy"

Thank you Daily Beast -- you've outdone even yourself for stupid.

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2 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

The FBI recovered part of the ransom. The ransom was 75 Bitcoin and they recovered the 67.5 that was going to be paid to the criminal affiliates of the group DarkSide. Turns out they act as a “service provider” to criminal organizations who carry out the actual attack, taking a fee for providing the service (the malware). The portion paid to DarkSide has not been recovered.

There is speculation that the FBI managed to track the money because the hackers were inexperienced.

I don't think the FBI has the technical capabilities, but the NSA sure does.  Remember when the FBI could not get into the Boston Marathon bomber's iphone? The cryptography behind bitcoin was invented by the NSA. A few years back, there was a massive sting operation run by the FBI where they basically hacked the darkweb anonymization and everything sent by a supposedly encrypted protocol was open to the Feds to read.

The stuxnet virus that was in the news a few years back was so advanced that even experienced hackers could not figure it out. Again that was probably the NSA. Back in the 70s, Martin Gardner in Scientific America wrote about math conferences where some poor mathematician would be presenting a lecture and as he wrote on the blackboard a govt. agent would be erasing as fast as stuff was written and then the poor guy's paper would be declared classified on the spot. Edward Snowdon is rightly paranoid.

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1 minute ago, maarsen said:

I don't think the FBI has the technical capabilities, but the NSA sure does.  Remember when the FBI could not get into the Boston Marathon bomber's iphone? The cryptography behind bitcoin was invented by the NSA. A few years back, there was a massive sting operation run by the FBI where they basically hacked the darkweb anonymization and everything sent by a supposedly encrypted protocol was open to the Feds to read.

The stuxnet virus that was in the news a few years back was so advanced that even experienced hackers could not figure it out. Again that was probably the NSA. Back in the 70s, Martin Gardner in Scientific America wrote about math conferences where some poor mathematician would be presenting a lecture and as he wrote on the blackboard a govt. agent would be erasing as fast as stuff was written and then the poor guy's paper would be declared classified on the spot. Edward Snowdon is rightly paranoid.

I think they used a private company, not the NSA. And the only way they got the money was by getting the key, and the speculation is these inexperienced criminals chatted among themselves and shared the key. They probably used what they thought was encrypted communication.

Remember the story about the guy who can’t remember his password and has Bitcoin worth hundreds of millions locked up? 10 chances at the key password and then it’s gone forever!

Reminds me of the story about one of the first Bitcoin transactions, a guy used it to buy a pizza in Miami. The Bitcoin he used is worth about $475 M today. Might be less, with the drop.

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The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax

Quote

 

Experts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States, and many lay people have long suspected the same thing.

But few specifics about individuals ever emerge in public. Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

Consider Bezos’ 2007, one of the years he paid zero in federal income taxes. Amazon’s stock more than doubled. Bezos’ fortune leapt $3.8 billion, according to Forbes, whose wealth estimates are widely cited. How did a person enjoying that sort of wealth explosion end up paying no income tax?

In that year, Bezos, who filed his taxes jointly with his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, reported a paltry (for him) $46 million in income, largely from interest and dividend payments on outside investments. He was able to offset every penny he earned with losses from side investments and various deductions, like interest expenses on debts and the vague catchall category of “other expenses.”

In 2011, a year in which his wealth held roughly steady at $18 billion, Bezos filed a tax return reporting he lost money — his income that year was more than offset by investment losses. What’s more, because, according to the tax law, he made so little, he even claimed and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children.

His tax avoidance is even more striking if you examine 2006 to 2018, a period for which ProPublica has complete data. Bezos’ wealth increased by $127 billion, according to Forbes, but he reported a total of $6.5 billion in income. The $1.4 billion he paid in personal federal taxes is a massive number — yet it amounts to a 1.1% true tax rate on the rise in his fortune.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

In 2011, a year in which his wealth held roughly steady at $18 billion, Bezos filed a tax return reporting he lost money — his income that year was more than offset by investment losses. What’s more, because, according to the tax law, he made so little, he even claimed and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children.

This is like a hilarious dark comedy cartoon come to life. It makes sense: if the system really believes that one has no income, the tax credits for the very poor should apply... but does he really need to claim these and rub it in?

The ProPublica article is really interesting and will probably be even more interesting when they post how exactly they manage to avoid taxes so thoroughly. It might be worth a separate thread at some point.

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1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax

 

A wealth tax on stocks assets would give us all a huge headache.  Every year stocks fluctuate wildly.  If they happen to be up on April 15th, I have to sell a bunch to pay taxes on them, but then when they go down, I can't get that money back from the government until the next April?   This would be awful.  Its bad enough we wealth tax granny out of the house she bought 40 years ago, via property taxes, because people today can get insane mortgages and are driving up the perceived value.  

"Sorry granny, I know you've lived here for 30 years, but since you have no income you have to sell it to pay the taxes on the new assessed value."

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9 hours ago, Fragile Bird said:

What is I.S. Politics?

Intrepid Selpilnir Politics?  
 

(I’d like to know what IS means too).

Garland is doing his job based on established precidents.  He has always been a moderate.  That’s not a bad thing.

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1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax

 

This article is rank steaming bull$hit. 

1.  If this data is real, it represents an unprecedented and horrifying leak of confidential taxpayer information.  The Service is investigating whether it was an internal leak (or otherwise), probably through TIGTA.  I suppose it could also be a leak from a Big 4.  But y'all, this is bad.  People will hopefully go to jail for this.  Our system is based on self-reporting backed up by payor reporting (i.e., 1099s and W-2s).  The Biden administration is proposing enhanced payor and intermediary reporting (which, incidentally, I support).  That is all well and good, but people accept the invasion into their personal and financial lives because the data are supposed to be kept confidential by the government.  You may not like these people, and you may think they have too much money, but there is no "I don't like them" exception to the law.

2.  Also, we don't have a wealth tax.  A wealth tax is stupid policy.  I'm on record on this.  We should have a real and robust estate tax.  The Biden proposal starts to get there.  It's not going to pass because people like neither death nor taxes and when you put them together you lose elections.

3.  If I had to guess, everything that was done was perfectly permissible under the law at the time.  The law has changed since 2007, particularly with the ability to use certain kinds of personal losses.  But you can't call something evasion if it is actually permitted.  Change the f*cking law if you don't like it, but don't pretend that people are somehow nefarious if you don't like the answer that the law gives them.

/end rant.

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