In 2011, the IRS investigated 2.4 million “nonfilers” – people who just didn’t bother filing or paying taxes at all. Last year? Only 362,000. That doesn’t mean people have become more conscientious about paying taxes. The dramatic drop-off in investigations, like the 42 percent drop in audits over the same time period, shows just how badly the IRS has been gutted over that time period.Continue reading
On April 16, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced an investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation will focus on patterns and practices of policing, not on an individual case.
This is the first “pattern and practice” investigation ordered by the Biden administration. Garland also revoked the Trump administration’s near-ban of these investigations.
This article was originally published by the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. My phone buzzes with a text. “What are your thoughts on Walz ordering the National Guard to Brooklyn Center?”
Governor Walz did not just call out the National Guard. He called out the whole armada of police and military forces assembled under the banner of Operation Safety Net. Operation Safety Net (OSN) was set up to protect property and police from any protests or violence happening after the Derek Chauvin trial. Over the past week, OSN proved unsafe in the highest degree for human beings.
I hoped the National Guard would not be like the police. I hoped that the “citizen” part of their citizen-soldier identity would keep them from the violent, fearful, and racist police mentality that killed Daunte Wright. Instead, they proved indistinguishable from the other branches of the rotten tree that is policing in the United States. Continue reading
Fed-Ex, Nike, Xcel Energy, and dozens of other huge and hugely profitable companies paid not one red cent in taxes last year. While some 55 large corporations avoided taxes entirely, even more companies paid historically low levels because of the 2017 Trump tax cuts. This is just plain wrong.Continue reading
Two days ago, a 21-year-old white man went on a shooting rampage that targeted Asian women. He killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.
Police said they do not know whether this was a hate crime.
Instead of my usual analysis of events or issues, this blog post is mainly other people’s words.
Rest In Peace:
– Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, mother of a 14 year old & 8mo old
– Xiaojie Tan, 49, massage therapist & owner of 1 spa
– Daoyou Feng, 44
– Julie Park, in her 70s
– Hyeon Jeong Park, 50s
– Paul Andre Michels
(2 more not yet named)
CENTER THE VICTIMS. #StopAsianHate
Twitter says: She was old enough to be my grandma,
I am kind of not okay about the fact that this 21 year old killed women my mother’s age and so many people are like “well, shrug, that’s what happens when you have irresistible objects of lust.”Continue reading
As the 2020-21 flu season comes to an end, good news and lessons for the future come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year’s flu season was far less serious than any previous year, and far less deadly as well.
Last year—2019-2020—the CDC estimated that estimated 38 million influenza-type illnesses in the United States, with 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths.
This year, the CDC preliminary data through March 6 reported only 1,561 cases of influenza for the 2020-21 flu season.Continue reading
Right now, the Chinese government is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minority. A report from the nonpartisan Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (formerly the Center for Global Policy) details the past six years of this genocide:
“In 2014, China’s Head of State, President Xi Jinping, launched the ‘People’s War on Terror’ in XUAR [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region], making the areas where Uyghurs constitute nearly 90 percent of the population the front line. High-level officials followed up with orders to ’round up everyone who should be rounded up,’ ‘wipe them out completely … destroy them root and branch,’ and ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.’ Officials described Uyghurs with dehumanizing terms and repeatedly likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to ‘eradicating tumors.’”
The U.S. government names this persecution as genocide. The Chinese government denies it, of course. That denial lacks all plausibility.Continue reading
Two years ago, Stockton, California began a “basic income” experiment. The privately funded Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) gave 125 randomly selected residents of poor neighborhoods $500 per month—no strings attached—for two years. A just-completed study of SEED’s first year showed dramatic results:
• “Guaranteed income reduced income volatility, or the month-to-month income fluctuations that households face.
• “Unconditional cash enabled recipients to find full-time employment.
• “Recipients of guaranteed income were healthier, showing less depression and anxiety and enhanced wellbeing.
• “The guaranteed income alleviated financial scarcity creating new opportunities for self-determination, choice, goal-setting, and risk-taking.”
Some of the benefits were intangible: “I can breathe,” said one participant who, like others, said she could now spend more, and calmer, less anxious time with her children. For program participants overall, more than one-third of the monthly $500 was spent on food.Continue reading
I remember an old and possibly apocryphal story about Benjamin Franklin and the framing of the Constitution. Supposedly, someone accosted him after the 1787 Constitutional Convention and shouted, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Today, the republic is threatened by Republicans attacking voting rights a cross the country. They propose state voting legislation targeting people of color and poor people. Some proposals also aim to disenfranchise any other population that might be more Democratic-leaning than Republican, such as college students.Continue reading