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Archive → June 7th, 2017

Hillary emerges from the woods in search of donations and political chits

Hillary emerges from the woods in search of donations and political chits

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Hillary Clinton

After a few months of walking around in the woods reflecting on and casting blame for  her humiliating electoral loss to a reality television showman, Hillary Clinton returned to public life to do the only thing the Clintons know how to do: grub for money and collect political chits.

She announced she was now part of the “resistance” and was going to fight for “a kinder, big-hearted, inclusive America” through a new political action committee named Onward Together. Sort of like the one that exists within her reclusive, disdainful, condescending, privileged and closed circle, I’d imagine.

On its website, the PAC explains its purpose, and doesn’t omit the big “Donate” button:

Onward Together is dedicated to advancing the vision that earned nearly 66 million votes in the last election. By encouraging people to organize, get involved, and run for office, Onward Together will advance progressive values and work to build a brighter future for generations to come.

Citizen engagement at every level is central to a strong and vibrant democracy. In recent months, we’ve seen what’s possible when people come together to resist bullying, hate, falsehoods, and divisiveness, and stand up for a fairer, more inclusive America.

From the Women’s March to airports where communities are welcoming immigrants and refugees to town hall meetings in every community, Americans are speaking up and speaking out like never before.

The challenges we face as a country are real. But there’s no telling what we can achieve if we approach the fights ahead with the passion and determination we feel today, and bring that energy into 2017, 2018, 2020, and beyond.

Onward!

Now the Witch from Chappaqua has thrown her Onward PAC in with the Run For Something PAC, which has tasked itself with recruiting young progressives to run for offices in state legislatures and city governments in order to build “a progressive bench.”

Given the Clintons’ history it’s likely that most of the money raised by SHillary’s Onward PAC will find its way into the Clintons’ pockets or their Clinton Foundation money-laundering operation, with a little shelled out to select chosen candidates in order to collect enough political chits for another presidential run by the witch or, heaven forfend, Chelsea.

Source: Will County News

IRS wrongfully seized millions of dollars from innocent Americans

IRS wrongfully seized millions of dollars from innocent Americans

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irs

“The rights of some individuals and businesses were compromised,” the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGA) said of a bungled Internal Revenue Service effort to “dismantle criminal enterprises.”

Citing regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires reporting of bank transactions in excess of $10,000, IRS agents seized $17.1 million from Americans they believed were involved in criminal activity.

Just one problem…

According to a recent report from TIGA, agents were wrong 91 percent of the time based on investigations of 278 of the seizures conducted by the watchdog.

“Most people impacted by the program did not appear to be criminal enterprises engaged in other alleged illegal activity,” TIGTA said in a statement. “The report also concludes that the rights of some individuals and businesses were compromised in these investigations.”

Agents, it turns out, were simply seizing the funds of individuals they suspected of “structuring” deposits in amounts less than $10,000 without bothering to conduct proper investigations.

“In most instances, interviews with the property owners were conducted after the seizure to determine the reason for the pattern of banking transactions and if the property owner had knowledge of the banking law and had intent to structure,” the report said.

Individuals and businesses affected by the overreach often faced major financial difficulty as a result of the government ineptitude.

On top of that, they were forced to work with often unhelpful IRS officials in efforts to retrieve the wrongfully seized money.

“When property owners were interviewed after the seizure, agents did not always identify themselves properly, did not explain the purpose of the interviews, did not advise property owners of any rights they might have, and told property owners they had committed a crime at the conclusion of the interviews,” TIGA reported.

The Institute for Justice, in a 2015 report, provided a prime example of how the IRS abuses negatively affected the agency’s targets:

Lyndon McLellan runs a convenience store in Fairmont, N.C., and has done so without incident for more than a decade. All that changed in 2014, when the Internal Revenue Service used civil forfeiture to seize McLellan’s entire $107,000 bank account. He did not stand accused of selling drugs or even of cheating on his taxes; in fact, he was not charged with any crime at all. Rather, the IRS claimed that he had been “structuring” his deposits — that is, breaking them into amounts of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements for large transactions. McLellan, like most people, did not even know what “structuring” was, let alone that it was illegal. His niece, who handles the deposits, had been advised by a bank teller that smaller deposits meant less paperwork for the bank, so she kept deposits small.

The government finally returned McLellan’s funds after a legal battle and public outcry, but the small-business owner was still forced to wait nearly two years before the government compensated the thousands he spent battling the wrongful seizure in court.

Source: Will County News

Space Tourism Is Preparing For Liftoff

Space Tourism Is Preparing For Liftoff

Jeff Bezos, founder, and CEO of Amazon, recently became the second richest person in the world after a rise in Amazon’s stock. Bezos leapfrogged Warren Buffett to sit below Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates with a personal fortune of $75.6 billion.

The news was a good excuse for a celebration and maybe even treat himself to something extravagant. But, how does the man who has everything to begin to think and dream bigger? The Amazon founder decided to put his money where his mouth is and announced he would be parting with $1 billion worth of the Internet retailer’s stock annually to fund his Blue Origin rocket company.

The masterplan is for Blue Origin to become a profitable, self-sustaining enterprise. Bezos also announced a long-term vision to dramatically to cut the cost of spaceflight so that millions of people can live and work off Earth. The concept of launching paying passengers on 11-minute space rides starting as soon as 2018 is incredibly exciting. But this excitement usually turns to disappointment upon the realization that it won’t be affordable in your lifetime.

However, Bezos sees the future very differently and is determined to make space travel as common as airline flights by bringing down the cost by 90 to 99 percent through using a reusable rocket.

I want to see an entrepreneurial explosion in space – Jeff Bezos

This latest announcement is yet another sign that we are about to embark on a new space race next year. Virgin Galatic’s Richard Branson is expecting to launch test flights in 2018 and is hoping to follow up a few months later with his own space tourism program.

500 potential customers with more money than sense have already reserved a spot on one of Branson’s trips for a hefty $250,000 per person. Meanwhile, tech experts are busy warning anyone that is willing to listen that paying a king’s ransom to put your life on the line to use first generation technology is probably not the wisest move.

Elsewhere, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is also busy preparing for a crewed mission beyond the moon for two private paying customers next year too. Musk has bigger plans than an 11-minute taster flight into space and will be sending his passengers on a week-long mission that will ‘skim the surface of the moon’ before heading into deep space.

However, Bezos was quick to play down any suggestions of a space race and advised “We are not racing, this vehicle is going to carry humans. We’re going to make it as safe as we can make it, we’re not going to take any shortcuts.”

It is often said that people change very little throughout their lives and it is nothing short of fascinating to see three of the richest, most powerful men in the world and self-confessed “space geeks” are still chasing their childhood dreams of space colonization.

There is an argument that investing obscene amounts of money into exploring space is insensitive at best considering the level of problems on our planet. With 95% of our ocean floors, unexplored many will also question why we understand more about the surface of the Moon or Mars than what occurs on the seafloor of our own planet.

However, when Stephen Hawking says the colonization of outer space is key to the survival of humankind, maybe we should listen. Hawking famously once offered a wake-up call when he reminded even the harshest critics of space exploration that our use of the finite resources of planet Earth is growing exponentially.

Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain lurking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space – Stephen Hawking

Jeff Bezos may well be the 2nd richest man in the world, but a vision of making space travel affordable for everyone, not just the elite few must be commended. I believe that anyone that is fortunate enough to see our planet from space will be changed forever and see both their world and indeed universe in a different way.

Entrepreneurs will be unleashed, you will see creativity, you will see dynamism, you will see the same thing in space that I’ve witnessed on the internet for the past 20 years – Jeff Bezos

Sure it’s easy to criticize this latest move by Bezos and co, but I think I agree with Steve Jobs when he said, here’s to the crazy ones. Now more than ever we need the big thinkers of the world to show us how the impossible is actually possible in our lifetime.

Six months before the obligatory tech trends of 2018 appear, we already have a heavy hint that space travel will dominate next year. Although it sounds implausible at the moment, these recent announcements all suggest space tourism will be a reality in 2018.

Many will be incredibly excited at the prospect of their dream being achievable in their lifetime, Meanwhile, others will scoff that it will never happen and it’s just a ruse to stop you thinking about what is happening on our own planet, so we can expect polarized opinions, whatever happens in the next 12 months.

If millions of people from around the world get to see planet Earth from the outside, imagine the seeds of inspiration it could plant and the changes it will bring. However, for the same reasons that I avoid the first generation of any technology, I will probably sit out the first year’s flights, but will you?

Source: Will County News