Cartoon: holiday shopping in Trumpistan

Thanks, gocomics,org

Voter impersonation fraud – 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast

❝ Voter ID laws are back in the news once again, with two new opinions from the Wisconsin Supreme Court late last week dealing with the state’s ID requirement, which would allow people to vote only if they provide certain forms of government-issued ID. The Court made some minor changes to the law but otherwise upheld it. However, the ID requirement is still on hold pending a federal lawsuit.

Part of this litigation — and any rational debate about the issue generally — hinges on two things: costs and benefits. The costs of these sorts of laws vary, because the laws themselves differ from state to state (some are far more burdensome than others). The ostensible benefits, though, are all the same. And in addressing these purported benefits, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blew it. Twice.

❝ First, the court cited the idea that ID laws could enhance public confidence–that is, in theory, the laws might make us feel better about elections in that they might provide some security theater. It turns out, though, that this effect is hard to spot…

Second, the court said that ID laws can help stop fraud. It then cited an example of recent fraud … that ID laws aren’t designed to stop…

❝ Instead, requirements to show ID at the polls are designed for pretty much one thing: people showing up at the polls pretending to be somebody else in order to each cast one incremental fake ballot. This is a slow, clunky way to steal an election. Which is why it rarely happens.

❝ I’ve been tracking allegations of fraud for years now, including the fraud ID laws are designed to stop. In 2008, when the Supreme Court weighed in on voter ID, I looked at every single allegation put before the Court. And since then, I’ve been following reports wherever they crop up.

To be clear, I’m not just talking about prosecutions. I track any specific, credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.

So far, I’ve found about 31 different incidents (some of which involve multiple ballots) since 2000, anywhere in the country. If you want to check my work, you can read a comprehensive list of the incidents below.

To put this in perspective, the 31 incidents below come in the context of general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. In general and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.

So much for the happy horseshit shoveled atop public understanding of electoral fraud. The Republican Party in general – and lately, Donald Trump, el Supremo – have been parroting this crap at the expense of state budgets and constitutional rights.

Time to lose this latest Big Lie before it becomes any more acceptable by gullibilus voter americanus.

Ireland jails three senior bankers for their role in the 2008 economic crash


Denis Casey on his way to the JoyClodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Three senior Irish bankers were jailed on Friday for up to three-and-a-half years for conspiring to defraud investors in the most prominent prosecution arising from the 2008 banking crisis that crippled the country’s economy.

The trio will be among the first senior bankers globally to be jailed for their role in the collapse of a bank during the crisis.

The lack of convictions until now has angered Irish taxpayers, who had to stump up 64 billion euros – almost 40 percent of annual economic output – after a property collapse forced the biggest state bank rescue in the euro zone.

The crash thrust Ireland into a three-year sovereign bailout in 2010 and the finance ministry said last month that it could take another 15 years to recover the funds pumped into the banks still operating.

Former Irish Life and Permanent Chief Executive Denis Casey was sentenced to two years and nine months following the 74-day criminal trial, Ireland’s longest ever.

Willie McAteer, former finance director at the failed Anglo Irish Bank, and John Bowe, its ex-head of capital markets, were given sentences of 42 months and 24 months respectively.

All three were convicted of conspiring together and with others to mislead investors, depositors and lenders…

None of the defendants reacted visibly to the sentencing before being led away by officers to Mountjoy Prison, the country’s largest…

Overdue. Throw away the key.

Banks in the United States and Britain have paid billions of dollars in fines and settlements connected to wrongdoing over their handling of subprime loans that helped cause the crisis. But no senior industry executives in those countries have been sent to jail.

We’re number 2, we’re number 2


Jesse Philips

New Mexico is the second-most federally dependent state in the nation behind only Mississippi, according to a new report from the financial website Wallethub.

That’s actually down one spot from last year, when the site ranked it No. 1 in the nation.

WalletHub compared the 50 states based on state residents’ dependency and state government dependency, looking specifically at each state’s return on taxes paid to the federal government (calculated by dividing federal funding by IRS collections); its share of federal jobs and federal funding as a percentage of state revenue.

New Mexico ranked highest in the nation in terms of federal contracts received and second-highest in federal grants received. It was fourth in return on taxes paid to the federal government, eighth in federal funding as a percentage of state revenue and fifth in its share of federal jobs.

Federal spending in New Mexico has long made up a huge share of the state’s economy. The state is home to two national laboratories, and federal land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management also have a large presence. The state’s persistently high poverty rate and aging population mean it also draws a large share of federal social spending, including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

This is one of the so-called improvements that are bleated by hacks who praise our moderate Republican governor. Susana Martinez gets the moderate title because she hasn’t succeeded in being as corrupt an idjit as Sam Brownback of Kansas or Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. In addition, they have wholly tame conservative state legislatures that let them experiment with curing economic problems with direct additions of poverty, handing tax dollars back to corporate treasuries, slicing-and-dicing education.

Governor Susana tried all of those – and didn’t succeed. She put some healthcare providers out of business with phony claims of fraud. The Republican tradition of lying about voter registration wasted $200K – and came up with about a dozen improperly-registered immigrants, most of whom didn’t vote anyway.

She has succeeded in increasing unemployment. She gets bonus points from the Republican National Committee for that one. Meanwhile, maintaining the highest-paid scientists dedicated to death and destruction in the world remains a higher priority than dealing with climate change. Los Alamos coneheads love her.

Hopefully, she’ll be Donald Trump’s choice for vice-president.

Feds investigate organic farming fraud in Idaho

Federal investigators believe a routine inspection by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture last year turned up a case of organic-farming fraud in Southern Idaho.

❝ Prosecutors are seeking to seize vehicles, farming equipment, cash and other property belonging to Saul Farms and its owners, Bernard and Roza Saul, of Bliss, under suspicion the property was purchased with fraudulent proceeds. They say the Sauls repeatedly bought nonorganic seed and resold it as organic, which commands higher prices.

Prosecutors also want a federal judge to grant them access to a $1 million property that includes a residence and 438 acres in Buhl purchased by the Sauls, though they are not seeking to seize that property.

No charges have been filedyet.

The owners of businesses in other states that bought what they thought was organic alfalfa seed told the Statesman they now are scrambling to find new suppliers. Farmers and seed-handlers that bought from Saul Farms or its sister company, Bliss Seed, supply dairy and beef operations across the Midwest, the East Coast and the Southeast.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Feb. 11 filed a legal complaint in U.S. District Court in Twin Falls County to seize the property, based on events Boise-based FBI agent Drew McCandless recounted in an affidavit.

Oops! RTFA for beaucoup information about regulatory oversight of organic producers in Idaho.

What will be the repercussions for the organic dairies, etc., growing alfalfa from this seed to sell organic food products?

Singapore jails megachurch founder and five other officials for fraud


Reuters

❝Six senior officials of Singapore’s City Harvest megachurch have been jailed over a $35 million fraud case.

❝The evangelical church’s pastor and founder, Kong Hee, was jailed for eight years – others received between 21 months and six years.

❝The court ruled last month the group had misused church finances to fund the music career of Kong’s wife, Sun Ho…❞

❝State prosecutors said before sentencing it was “the largest amount of charity funds ever misappropriated in Singapore’s legal history”.❞

❝Known for its slick image and wealth-focused brand of Christianity, City Harvest Church (CHC) has some 17,500 members in Singapore and branches around the world.

❝In 2002, its launched what it called the Crossover Project – a scheme to evangelise through Ms Ho’s music career.❞

Hey, she’s still on the outside. Let’s see what she can do on her own. Try reality TV in the GOUSA. 🙂

Call for investigation of NRA fraud, political misuse of donations

sensible-gun-laws

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requested the Internal Revenue Service open an examination into the finances of the National Rifle Association after the group failed to disclose more than $33.5 million it spent on political activity over six years. CREW also called on the Federal Election Commission to audit the NRA’s campaign arm, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), and its lobbying arm, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), after the group apparently violated federal election law by soliciting donations for the NRA-ILA that went instead to the NRA-PVF.

Between 2008 and 2013, the NRA-ILA, an internal division of the NRA, reported to the FEC and in annual financial statements that it spent more than $33.5 million on political activity. However, for each of those years, the NRA stated on its Form 990 tax return that it did not engage in any political activity at all, and the group did not once file a Schedule C disclosing its political expenditures. This failure to disclose political activity appears to violate federal law and, if it was intentional, could violate several criminal statutes. The NRA blamed the failure to disclose its political activity on a “clerical error” but did not express any intention to amend its Form 990 returns or file Schedule Cs…

The NRA-ILA reported to the FEC nearly $11 million in independent expenditures and member communications expressly advocating election or defeat of candidates for federal office between 2008 and 2013, and disclosed on annual financial statements prepared by an independent auditor spending more than $22.5 million on fundraising and administrative expenses for its political action committee, NRA-PVF, during the same period. All of these expenditures were for political activities that needed to be reported on the organization’s tax filings but were not.

CREW also called on the FEC to audit the NRA-PVF and NRA-ILA because it appears these groups may have solicited donations in violation of federal election law by failing to disclose to donors that their money would be used for political purposes. The NRA also appears to have violated federal election law by soliciting donations from the general public, which it is prohibited from doing as a member organization, and by failing to disclose the employer and/or occupation of its contributors.

It’s always heartwarming to witness rightwing nutball organizations like the NRA ignoring essential transparency requirements while they blather about conspiracies against their pet demento issues. Perish the thought they actually live up to anything approaching ethical standards -0 like any normal business entity.

They set the standard for corruption even higher than Congressional Republicans.