Category Archives: Corruption

Back to the Future: U.S. Senate Debate 2016 Kamala Harris | Apr 09 2019

The Complete Debate:

|| KPBS

“Our California Counts collaborative will host a U.S. Senate debate with California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Duf Sundheim, Tom Del Beccaro and Ron Unz 7 p.m. at KPBS in San Diego Tuesday, May 10. The debate will air live on 88.5FM and stream on KQED.org.”

 

Amidst Record Profits Amazon and Netflix Paid No Fed Taxes | Feb 18 2019

Amazon puts the smile in federal income taxes — by not paying any

|| Seattle Times

“”Last week I suggested that Amazon isn’t so much a Seattle company as “sovereign, borderless nation-state.” It turns out I left a key descriptor out of that phrase.

That would be “taxless.”

The nation’s third-largest company booked record profits last year. But paid nothing in U.S. federal taxes.

“Zero, as in not a cent,” says Matthew Gardner, of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

Amazon did pay taxes to state and foreign governments (more on that in a minute). But the financial statements mean that one of the most powerful corporate entities in the world paid fewer dollars to the upkeep of the national government than tens of millions of individuals — such as, say, your average lowly newspaper columnist.

That’s right – I’m paying more to the U.S. government for 2018 than Amazon (I’m talking about the corporate entity, not its mass of employees). So, probably, are you.

Gardner says the internet giant was able to zero out its bill — actually go below zero, as it qualified for a rebate of $129 million — in large part due to Congress and President Donald Trump’s year-old tax-cut law.

“That law didn’t reform much of anything; it was simply to slash taxes,” Gardner said. “So it isn’t surprising this is happening. Cutting corporate taxes was the whole point.”

All the way to nothing?

The company also got a series of tax credits (for equipment purchases, for example) and booked allowable business deductions (the largest of which was writing off stock options).

Businesses often pay little or no tax when they make low profits. But Amazon’s total U.S.-booked profit for 2018 nearly doubled to more than $11 billion.

Gardner isn’t saying Amazon did anything wrong, and of course its hundreds of thousands of employees pay income taxes. But last year total corporate taxes paid to the U.S. government plummeted 31 percent, a drop described by a debt watchdog group as unprecedented during a time of economic growth.”

The freight paid by U.S. businesses is already down another 18 percent in the first quarter of the 2019 year (the fiscal year for the government started last October). It’s part of the reason why the federal deficit soared 42 percent in that same quarter, despite a booming economy and no major war straining the budget.

The latest head-shaking factoid about our red ink is that the federal government next year will spend more on interest on the debt than it will on children. As one critic put it: more on the past than on the future.

Amazon’s financial statements also show it’s only the U.S. that’s letting the company contribute nothing of late.

Amazon’s total taxes paid to the U.S. and all U.S. states the past two years amounted to just $267 million (counting rebates, on more than $16 billion in profit). While its taxes paid to foreign governments totaled $1.3 billion. So a company we call “ours” contributed nearly five times as much into the kitties of countries abroad as it did here at home.

Gardner says he calls out when rich, successful companies pay nothing not because he thinks they’re evil. But because it’s “spurring a crisis of democratic legitimacy.”

It isn’t just that vital public services might go wanting (though they may). It’s that everyone else may eventually say: If even Amazon doesn’t have to pay, then why the bleep should I?

“It’s an extremely potent reinforcement of distrust,” Gardner said. “It signals strongly that we have a system that’s tilted to benefit the big and powerful, not the rest of us.”

Gardner said the obvious answer is to actually reform the tax system, so that those with an ability to pay at least contribute something.

We’re so distant right now from that more democratic ideal — the notion of asking not what your country can do for you, but what you could do for your country. Unless you’re a sovereign, borderless, taxless nation-state. Then what’s going on makes perfect sense.”

….read more from Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times

 

Netflix paid NOTHING in federal or state taxes in 2018 despite posting record profits of $845million – and even got a $22million rebate

|| DailyMail UK

 

“Netflix didn’t pay a cent in state or federal income taxes last year, despite posting its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018 of $845million, according to a new report.

In addition, the streaming giant reported a $22 million federal tax rebate, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

Senior fellow at ITEP Matthew Gardner said corporations like Netflix, which has its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, are still ‘exploiting loopholes’ and called the figures ‘troubling’.

Netflix says they paid $131 million in taxes in 2018 and this is declared in financial documents. But Gardner says this figure relates to taxes paid abroad, according to a separate part of their statements.

Gardner added: ‘Fortunately, however, there is another, more complete geographic disclosure of income tax payments.

‘The notes to the financial statements have a detailed section on income taxes. And what this tells us is that all of the income taxes Netflix paid in 2018 were foreign taxes. Zero federal income taxes, zero state income taxes in the US.’

Gardner said the public is now ‘getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations’.

He said: ‘With a record number of subscribers, the company’s profit last year equaled its haul in the previous four years put together. When hugely profitable corporations avoid tax, that means smaller businesses and working families must make up the difference.’

….read more at: Daily Mail UK

Senate Committee Finds No Trump Russia Collusion | Feb 14 2019

NBC Ignores Own Exclusive: Senate Probe Found No Evidence of Collusion

|| NewsBusters.com

 

“According to an NBC News exclusive that first aired during the 10 o’clock hour of Tuesday morning’s MSNBC Live, both Republican and Democratic sources on the Senate Intelligence Committee admitted they had not found any direct evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Despite the fact the exclusive was filed by NBC News intelligence and national security reporter Ken Dilanian, NBC Nightly News hid it from viewers. Meanwhile, ABC’s World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News also turned a blind eye.

Instead of reporting on their massive breaking news story that drove a flood of reporting by other outlets, NBC Nightly News and anchor Lester Holt chose to hype DNA tests for dogs. [UPDATE: NBC skipped its own reporting again on Today.]

When the story first broke, a seemingly shocked Hallie Jackson came back from a commercial break to announce their discovery. “NBC News exclusive reporting on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Their investigation into Russian election interference and what they have and have not uncovered,” she said as she introduced Dilanian.

Wasting no time in getting to the heart of what his reporting discovered, Dilanian declared: “Hallie, after two years and after interviewing more than 200 witnesses, the Senate Intelligence Committee has not uncovered any direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Dilanian noted that committee chairman, Senate Richard Burr (R-NC), confirmed that finding to another network the other day, but he wanted to see what Democrats on the committee had to say. “[W]hat I’ve been doing since then is checking with my sources on the Democratic side to understand the full context of his remarks because that was essentially a partisan comment from one side, but this is a bipartisan investigation and what I found is that the Democrats don’t dispute that characterization.

….read more @ NewsBusters

 

Trump Demands Gavin Newsom Return $3.5 Billion for Canceled Bullet Train; Newsom: It’s ‘California’s Money’ Now

|| Breitbart

“President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday evening that the State of California return $3.5 billion in federal funds after Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled most of the state’s high-speed rail project, saying it was too expensive.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” the president tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”

Newsom devoted the opening portion of his first “State of the State” address Tuesday to attacking Trump and his policies on the border. Yet he then bowed to conservative criticism — and, arguably, to fiscal reality — by canceling the high-speed rail project championed by his predecessors.

The governor added that while the bullet train would no longer connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, as first envisioned, the state would still continue “phase one” of the project between the rural towns of Bakersfield and Merced. “I know that some critics will say this is a ‘train to nowhere,’” he said. “But that’s wrong and offensive.”

Newsom added that the state had to continue the project if it wanted to keep the federal funds it had taken: “I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”

The money was granted to California as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus, which set aside “$8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors,” the New York Times reported at the time.

Obama pressured states to take the cash — which Democrat-governed states eagerly did. But the Republican wave of 2010 brought new governors to office, and several rejected their state’s high-speed rail plans as costly and unnecessary.

California has already spent over $5 billion on the high-speed rail project — roughly the same amount that Trump had requested for the border wall.”

….read more @ Breitbart

 

Russia Investigation

Senate has uncovered no direct evidence of conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia

|| NBC News

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.

Senate has found no direct evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia

|| NBC News

 

“WASHINGTON — After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

But investigators disagree along party lines when it comes to the implications of a pattern of contacts they have documented between Trump associates and Russians — contacts that occurred before, during and after Russian intelligence operatives were seeking to help Donald Trump by leaking hacked Democratic emails and attacking his opponent, Hillary Clinton, on social media.

“If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.

Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.

“We know we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel because there’re not new questions that we’re searching for answers to,” Burr said.

On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.

“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”

Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.

“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said.

The series of contacts between Trump’s associates, his campaign officials, his children and various Russians suggest a campaign willing to accept help from a foreign adversary, the Democrats say.

By many counts, Trump and his associates had more than 100 contactswith Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration.”

….read more @ NBC News

 

The ‘View’ Obscured? | Feb 08 2019

Whoopi Goldberg Absent From ‘The View’ Since Joy Behar’s Blackface Photo Resurfaced

|| BigLeaguePolitics.com

 

Where is Whoopi?

“Whoopi Goldberg, a regular co-host of ABC’s show “The View,” has been absent from the show since Wednesday morning, just after the resurfacing of co-host Joy Behar’s blackface photos Tuesday.

“Whoopi has a day off,” Behar said at the opening of Wednesday’s show. “I think she has – she’s under the weather a little bit, I think.”

Thursday, she did not appear on the show either.

“So, Whoopi is still under the weather,” Behar said Thursday. “She doesn’t feel well, sorry to say. She’ll be back maybe Monday – maybe, I don’t know.”

Tuesday Big League Politics reported that in 2016, Behar openly copped to wearing blackface to a Halloween party at age 29:”

…read more @ BLP

Deep State FBI and DOJ Operatives Briefed that Steele Dossier Was Questionable | Jan 20 2019

Bruce Ohr: FBI, DOJ Knew Dossier Was Dirty from the Beginning

|| PJ Media

“Virtually everyone at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department involved in the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of candidate Donald Trump knew from the beginning that the investigation, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane,” was based on shaky opposition research compiled by a Trump-hating former British spy and funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Bruce Ohr, the demoted associate attorney general, testified to Congress last August that he repeatedly warned top officials at the FBI and DOJ about Steele’s bias and Fusion GPS’s conflicts of interest, yet this information was kept hidden from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And to add insult to injury, instead of investigating the officials who actively participated in the dossier hoax, Special Counsel Robert Mueller hired several of them to be on his team to investigate President Trump.

Steele, a former MI6 operative, was hired by Fusion GPS to find dirt on Trump after he clinched the Republican nomination.

The FBI fired him in the Fall of 2016 for lying, but the FBI and Justice Department officials nevertheless wrote in the FISA application that he was a reliable source.

Ohr kept top officials at both the FBI and Department of Justice apprised of his conversations with Steele both before and after the former British spy was fired as an informant.

On July 5, the very day of then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference on Hillary Clinton’s emails, Steele flew to Rome to meet an old FBI contact, according to reports.

Later that month, he met with Ohr, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel reported, based on leaked transcripts confirmed by congressional sources.

Mr. Ohr testified that he sat down with dossier author Christopher Steele on July 30, 2016, and received salacious information the opposition researcher had compiled on Mr. Trump. Mr. Ohr immediately took that to the FBI’s then-Deputy Director Andy McCabe and lawyer Lisa Page. In August he took it to Peter Strzok, the bureau’s lead investigator. In the same month, Mr. Ohr believes, he briefed senior personnel in the Justice Department’s criminal division: Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz, lawyer Zainab Ahmad and fraud unit head Andrew Weissman. The last two now work for special counsel Robert Mueller.

Former FBI special agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were also hired to work on Mueller’s team after being involved with Crossfire Hurricane, but had to be removed after the DOJ inspector general discovered their extreme anti-Trump bias in text messages.

Ohr testified that he stressed that the information he was sharing came from Trump’s political opponents in the Clinton camp and warned that it was unverified and likely biased.

“When I provided [the Steele information] to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information,” he testified. “I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware. These guys were hired by somebody relating to—who’s related to the Clinton campaign, and be aware.”

He also told the team that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected” and that his own wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that compiled the dossier.

According to a leaked transcript of Ohr’s closed-door testimony to the joint House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees last Aug. 28, he waved all these red flags well before the FBI filed its October application for a surveillance warrant against Carter Page.”

….read more @ PJ Media

LA County Forced to Clean Up Its Voter Rolls | Jan 10 2019

Los Angeles County agrees to purge up to 1.5 million voters from its rolls in settlement

|| Washington Times

“Los Angeles County has agreed to conduct a purge of its voting rolls, in a move that could strip perhaps 1.5 million inactive voters from the lists of those eligible to cast ballots.

The county made the deal in a settlement last week with Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest firm, saying that under a recent Supreme Court ruling, it has a duty to remove names of people who appear to have either died, moved from the county or lost interest in voting.

The county committed to mailing hundreds of thousands of voters already deemed inactive to see whether they are still eligible voters, and to removing names of people who don’t respond to notices and who miss two subsequent federal elections. The county also agreed to try to weed out dead people still on the rolls.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who was also part of the settlement, committed to send notices to all registrars informing them that they, too, must take steps to cancel voters who miss voting in repeated elections and fail to respond to follow-up notices.

Judicial Watch called the settlement, involving both the nation’s biggest state and the biggest county, a significant win for conservatives who have been trying to harness the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, better known as “Motor-Voter,” to try to clean up voter rolls even as Democrats use the law to expand voter access.

“This is a major NVRA victory — probably the biggest in the history,” said Robert Popper, the Judicial Watch lawyer who fought the case.

He said he expects most of the more than 1.5 million names on the county’s inactive voter list will end up being removed.

Mr. Padilla, the secretary of state, disputed Judicial Watch’s claims, saying he didn’t agree to specifically kick anyone off the rolls.

“The settlement is clear and simple, California will continue its work to adhere to modern list maintenance procedures under the NVRA,” he said in a statement. “This settlement will not lead to unnecessary removal of active and eligible voters. Safeguards remain in place to ensure voter list maintenance procedures are followed before canceling any voter registration records.”

Neither the Los Angeles registrar nor the county’s counsel returned messages Monday seeking comment. Neither did the League of Women Voters or Mia Familia, both of which sought unsuccessfully to intervene in the case earlier.

On Tuesday, however, the registrar finally responded, providing a statement saying last year’s Supreme Court ruling undercut his defense.

Registrar Dean C. Logan still said he’s confident voters won’t be wrongly kicked off the rolls because of the settlement.

“We have simply agreed to comply with the NVRA as interpreted by the Supreme Court and nothing in the agreement will jeopardize even one eligible Los Angeles County voter,” he said.

California becomes the third state to reach a settlement. Ohio reached one in 2014 and Kentucky entered into a court-imposed consent decree with Judicial Watch over its voter rolls last year.

Mr. Popper said the motor-voter law was a compromise. It boosted voter participation by requiring states to register voters at public offices such as motor vehicle bureaus, but it also encouraged states to keep their lists clean by removing outdated names in order to tamp down on the chances of fraud.

Democrats have chiefly focused on the expansion of registration, while battling against efforts to clean the rolls.

One example of that, according to Mr. Popper, was a 1998 decision by the Clinton Justice Department instructing California not to remove people identified as being inactive voters because they failed to respond to follow-up communications. Other states have made similar arguments.

But the Supreme Court, in a major 5-4 ruling last year, said states can use non-responses as part of their justification for cleansing rolls — and that people who have been notified and missed two subsequent federal elections must go.

“Not only are states allowed to remove registrants who satisfy these requirements, but federal law makes this removal mandatory,” the majority ruled.

The new agreement reached last week highlighted that part of the ruling, which appeared to undercut Los Angeles’s legal position and leave the county with little choice but to settle.

Judicial Watch said it targeted Los Angeles after finding the county’s total voter population was higher than the number of people the Census Bureau estimates to be citizens of voting age in the county. That’s true for the state overall, which Judicial Watch said has a 101 percent registration rate for its eligible adult population.

Mr. Popper said while much of the national debate about voter fraud is on in-person abuses, the bigger problem is fraudulent double-voting, which can happen if someone is still getting a ballot or registered at their old residence, while also being registered and voting at their new home.

He said Los Angeles’s inactive voter file is a major potential source for mischief.

Contrary to the impression left by several media fact-checkers, “inactive” voters in California are able to cast a legal regular ballot. The difference between them and active voters is that those on the inactive list don’t get regular communications such as sample ballots from elections officials.

Last week’s settlement agreement is just one of the battlegrounds over voting rights to emerge in recent years.

Democrats won control of the House in the midterm elections in part on a campaign arguing that Republicans were suppressing the votes of racial and ethnic minorities and poor people. They have vowed action to expand voter access and curtail voter integrity checks.

H.R.1, Democrats’ first marquee bill, would require states to allow same-day and internet registration. It would also amend motor-voter to overturn last year’s Supreme Court decision, eliminating the ability of states to remove people for failing to vote or respond to follow-up notices.”

….Read more @ Washington Times

 

Rep. Ted Lieu Says He Will Give Contributions From Ed Buck to Civil Rights Groups Following Deaths of 2 Men at Donor’s WeHo Home

|| KTLA

 

“After the body of a black man was found in longtime Democratic donor Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment this week, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu announced he will donate more than $18,000 in campaign contributions he received from Buck to LGBTQ and African American civil rights organizations.

Buck’s Laurel Avenue apartment has been the scene of the apparent overdose deaths of two black men in the last two years, authorities said.

“I am deeply disturbed by the latest revelations of a second death by overdose at the home of Ed Buck,” Lieu (D-Torrance) said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “While we await the results of the law enforcement investigation, I am going to donate the contributions I have received from Mr. Buck to my federal campaign.”

Lieu said he will donate $5,000 to Lambda Legal; $5,000 to the NAACP; $3,000 to GLAAD; $3,000 to The Trevor Project; and $2,500 to the Equality California Institute.”

…Read more @ KTLA

Mexico Is Not Allowing Illegal Invasion on land in Baja California, Mexico | Jan 6 2019

No further invasions will be allowed in the entity; the law will be applied, warns BCS Government

| BCS News

 “under no circumstances will invasions be tolerated and the law will be applied in this matter, because the most important thing is to protect the integrity of our people.”

 

La Paz, Baja California Sur (BCS ). No further invasions will be allowed in any of the municipalities of Baja California Sur, since safeguarding the inhabitants is a priority, said the Secretary General of the Government, Álvaro De la Peña Angulo .

In the current administration, special attention has been given to this issue, to avoid further cases of irregular settlements, mainly in Los Cabos, so actions are taken to ensure decent housing for those who live in Baja California Sur , explained the state official.

The economic and tourist dynamics that characterize the region brings with it a greater demand for services and social security, for which reason the State works to cover basic needs, he emphasized.

It should be remembered that, a few days ago, a land reserve of 70 hectares was granted to develop housing in the municipality of Los Cabos, where 9,000 homes will be built as part of a sustainable project.

Finally, and for all the above, said: “under no circumstances will invasions be tolerated and the law will be applied in this matter, because the most important thing is to protect the integrity of our people.”

…Read more @ BCS Noticias – Google Translation