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from disinformation http://bit.ly/1oOe7Dr
The unwinding of the massive American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan means that there’s a lot of surplus military equipment that the armed forces are offering to US police departments, many of whom are now equipped better than some armies to fight a war reports the New York Times. Who they are fighting against is an open question for the comments…
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.
The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.
The post American Police Departments Adding Military Weapons and Materielappeared first on disinformation.June 9, 2014The Stranger
from disinformation http://bit.ly/TBtW6R
PIC: totally unrelated picture of pond scum. (NARA-PD)
Does this sound familiar? You might be thinking of this totally different child molesting corporate heir escaping the consequences of his actions.
A Wisconsin billionaire pled guilty to sexual assault of his stepdaughter, but was only sentenced to four months in jail on Friday. Samuel Curtis Johnson III, heir to the SC Johnson cleaning supplies empire, will have to serve at least 60 days of his sentence and pay a fine up to $6,000.
Originally, Johnson was charged with felony sexual assault of a child for repeatedly targeting his stepdaughter for three years. His stepdaughter initially told police Johnson was “a sex addict” and touched her inappropriately 15 to 20 times starting when she was 12 years old. She told her mother about the abuse in order to protect her younger sister, and Johnson confessed when the mother confronted him.
The felony charge carries up to 40 years in prison.
The post Billionaire S.C. Johnson Heir Gets Four Months In Jail For Sexually Assaulting Stepdaughter appeared first on disinformation.June 9, 2014The Stranger
from Alternet http://bit.ly/1oOe1M9
Earlier this year, in an exposé in The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv detailed the story of Syngenta, an agribusiness firm that was sued by the community water systems of six states in a class-action lawsuit over the firm’s herbicide atrazine.
Atrazine is the second most commonly used herbicide in the US and is used on more than 50% of all corn crops. It is one of Syngenta’s most profitable chemicals with sales at over $300 million a year. Banned in the EU, atrazine remains on the market in the US despite scores of scientific publications demonstrating its role in abnormal sexual development. Almost insoluble in water, atrazine contaminates drinking water supplies at 30 times the concentration demonstrated to cause severe sexual abnormalities in animal models.
Recently unsealed court documents from the lawsuit have disclosed how Syngenta launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to disrepute and suppress scientific research, and influence the US Environmental Protection Agency to prevent a ban on atrazine.
Tyrone Hayes, a professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley has demonstrated in his research that atrazine leads to health problems, reproductive issues and birth defects. Hayes is a vocal proponent of legislative action to ban the dissemination of atrazine in water supplies. The court documents showed that Syngenta specifically attacked Hayes’ work with its smear campaign.
In addition to smear campaigns, Syngenta hired a private detective agency to look into the personal backgrounds of scientists on an advisory panel at the EPA, the judge presiding over the lawsuit, and Hayes. The documents also reveal a host of third-party organizations and independent "experts" who were on Syngenta’s payroll and supplied with Syngenta’s data in order to make public statements or write op-ed pieces in support of atrazine. Often, these experts were supplied directly with material that company employees edited or wrote.
It all started in 1997 when Hayes was employed by Syngenta to study atrazine, which was under review by the EPA. Hayes’ experimental research on the developmental growth of frogs began to reveal that even at levels of atrazine as low as 0.1 parts per billion (ppb), the chemical was capable of causing males to develop as hermaphrodites. Some males developed female organs and were even capable of mating with normal males and producing eggs. As reported in top peer-reviewed journals such as PNAS and Nature, at exposure to 0.1 ppb atrazine the frogs showed extremely reduced levels of testosterone and feminized voice boxes.
As Hayes amassed data, Syngenta downplayed his results, citing problems with statistics or asking him to repeat studies, often nitpicking or questioning his credibility or scientific skills.
In 2000, Hayes resigned from the panel. He continued to speak at conferences, publicizing his ongoing research in the lab. Meanwhile, Syngenta employees began to show up at conferences to publicly besmirch his data. Sporadically, the campaign turned into threats of violence. In a Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman, Hayes said:
“Tim Pastoor, for example, before I would give a talk, would literally threaten, whisper in my ear that he could have me lynched, or he said he would send some of his ‘good ol’ boys to show me what it’s like to be gay,’ or at one point he threatened my wife and my daughter with sexual violence.”
Shockingly, even though Syngenta settled the lawsuit for $105 million in late 2012 after eight years of litigation, it still maintains that amount of atrazine present in the water is much lower than would be required to cause damage. In an article in Forbes published a week after the New Yorker story, Jon Entine criticized Hayes and claimed that “after numerous follow up studies by the EPA and a score of scientists… evidence of endocrine related problems Hayes claimed to have identified… are nowhere to be found.”
This is a patently false assertion. A mere scientific literature search shows dozens of peer-reviewed articles showing atrazine-induced defects in animal models. A number of papers on salmon and fish find similar results to those in frog: fish exposed to atrazine showed major reproductive abnormalities in both males and females, low sperm counts and low testosterone levels in males. Similar defects have been observed in reptiles. Research in rats has demonstrated decreased fertility, effects on sperm count, increased prostrate disease in males and poor mammary development. A collaborative effort of an international team of scientists confirmed these studies by demonstrating feminization of male gonads across vertebrate species.
All signs point toward the same being true for humans. Said Hayes:
“A number of epidemiological studies in humans have associated atrazine with impaired reproduction and a decline in sperm count and fertility. Another study looking at increased prostrate disease in workers who are exposed to atrazine in the production plant in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. A number of studies now show birth defects in humans exposed to atrazine: gastroschisis where the intestines are on the outside of the baby when it’s born, choanal atresia, an effect where the oral cavity and the nasal cavity close up. Most recently, there’s been work showing atrazine associating with three different types of genital abnormalities in males.”
Corruption Within the EPA
Interestingly, the scientific advisory panel to the EPA recognizes this wealth of scientific data. In a memo from the 2012 review the advisory panel repeatedly calls attention to the biased methodology employed by the EPA. In fact, the advisory panel disagreed with almost every conclusion the EPA made.
Hayes explained: “The panel was only making recommendations, they don’t make decisions and so the EPA doesn’t need to listen to them. This really undermines the role of the scientific advisory panel.”
Syngenta was closely involved with the EPA’s decision. The EPA mainly considered just one study that found inconclusive effects of atrazine. This was the sole premise for the EPA’s decision. It was based on the research of a group led by Kloas Werner. Said Hayes:
“Kloas Werner was originally on the EPA scientific advisory panel that I presented my data to. He at that time was hired by Syngenta and subsequent to being on the panel he conducted a study in collaboration with the EPA and Syngenta and reported back to the panel that he was on. The panel’s conclusion was that more work needed to be done, and then he presented back to that panel. Essentially, his previous decision helped him get the money for his study. Furthermore, they selected a strain of frogs that don’t respond even to estrogen, which was acknowledged by the advisory panel which reviewed their work.”
But Syngenta wasn’t satisfied with bad science and corruption within the EPA. As Syngenta was hiring Werner, a scientific advisory panel member who could sway the EPA review process, it also held scores of closed-door meetings with panel members. As the documents reveal, Syngenta also hired a communications consultancy, the White House Writers’ Group, to set up meetings with members of Congress and Washington bigwigs to discuss upcoming EPA reviews.
The information about Syngenta’s misdeeds has had little to no effect. The fiction that Hayes is a scientific hack continues to pervade the work of pro-Syngenta writers like Entine. These columnists, who write from corporation-apologist perspectives, bolster the fiction by glossing over critiques of the EPA and pretending like its conclusions represent uncontroversial scientific consensus.
Time and time again, these "third-party allies" of Syngenta hyperbolically talk about the "scientific method," and suggest that science is science, regardless of the angle of the investigator (none have much to say about Werner’s estrogen-insensitive frogs). For them, it seems, there is no conceivable way Syngenta employed techniques that would furnish them with results to protect its multimillion-dollar profits.
In other words, for them, "conflict of interest" means nothing. Scientific publishing is uncompromising about this: journals require the disclosure of conflicts of interest in publications. Obviously, political and financial incentives are sufficient criteria to change scientific results because they deeply influence the way experimenters do science.
Unsurprisingly, the Kloas paper failed to declare any conflict of interest.
“How can you declare no conflict of interest when clearly the manufacturer benefits from the conclusions drawn by that paper as well as benefits from the decisions made by the EPA advisory panel?” Hayes said. “Especially when the member was both on the panel and was paid by Syngenta.”
Corporation v. Science
Syngenta frequently alleges that Hayes never made his data on atrazine publicly available, a damning indictment that makes it seem like his data could have been fabricated. Hayes said this is not the case.
“The work that I did for Syngenta, Syngenta owns all that raw data,” he said. “This includes the generated raw data, the transcribed typed data, and really everything. The EPA actually visited my lab. Members of the EPA actually were in my laboratory, they observed all of our processes and data collection. Mary Frankenberry, a statistician, actually analyzed the data herself.”
Syngenta and its supporters also rely heavily on the vitriol that Hayes hardly seems like a disinterested, objective scientist. Rich criticism from a company that hires people to obtain the scientific results it wants.
Hayes has spoken widely, set up a website AtrazineLovers.com and rapped about Syngenta’s powerful lobbying to keep atrazine on the market. There is, however, a fundamental distinction between a company lobbying to get its favored scientific result, and a scientist who vocally defends his scientific results. Hayes’ response isn’t surprising or unusual. Scientists often claim ownership over their results and will doggedly defend them at conferences.
The actions of big corporations like Syngenta, especially when dealing with highly profitable products, reveal a broader truth about the nature of corporate power. There is a dangerous trend in which corporate fiat is used to call scientific research into question and sway governmental policy. This trend puts millions of lives at risk as hazardous products avoid regulation and remain on the market.
One wonders why the burden isn’t on Syngenta for proving without a doubt that atrazine has no effects before plying the entire population with a highly dangerous chemical. Even if it wasn’t a near-certainty that atrazine causes birth defects, why wouldn’t we require regulatory bodies such as the EPA to err on the side of caution?
Today, atrazine remains legal and in the water supplies of millions of Americans, despite evidence from scores of labs outside Tyrone Hayes’ showing it to be hazardous.
“In the 15 plus years that I’ve had experience with the EPA, I don’t really have a lot of faith that we’re going to get an objective review that’s really going to focus on environmental health and public health with regards to atrazine, or any other chemical for that matter,” Hayes said.
Who can blame him?June 9, 2014
“Extremely Troubling” Documents Show How Obama Administration Embraced Foreign Detention of Terror SuspectsThe Stranger
from Politics | Mother Jones http://bit.ly/1oOe1vC
What happens when an FBI agent steps into a foreign prison to interrogate a US citizen? For several years, even as the FBI has cooperated with foreign governments to question Americans locked up in countries such as Kuwait,South Sudan, and Yemen, the Obama administration has been tight-lipped about the rules that govern such interrogations. FBI officials have told Congress that the same rules apply when FBI agents interview suspects at home and overseas. But an internal bureau interrogation manual suggests that the truth is more complicated—and new information from the FBI shows that key edits were made to the manual as the Obama administration shifted away from the Bush-era practice of questioning terrorism suspects at Pentagon- or CIA-run facilities, and toward outsourcing detentions to foreign regimes.
The FBI acknowledges that information it shares with foreign countries sometimes leads to the arrest of people the FBI is interested in, including Americans, and that its agents sometimes interview these suspects. This controversial practice, often called proxy detention, has been denounced by human rights advocates who say it circumvents suspects’ constitutional rights. But it took a lawsuit from the ACLU to force the Obama administration to disclose a manual that offers advice to FBI agents conducting these interviews.
When the manual, titled "Cross-Cultural, Rapport-Based Interrogation" was released in 2012, the sections that dealt with proxy detention were heavily redacted. The FBI’s page-and-a-half of "recommended practices" for conducting interviews of suspects in foreign custody was entirely redacted:
Another section, titled "Conducting Custodial Law Enforcement Interviews Overseas," was also heavily censored:
Then, in December, I broke the story of a bizarre FBI mistake: In 2010, a top agent at the bureau, thinking (incorrectly) that he could copyright the manual, deposited an unredacted version at the Library of Congress, where anyone could read it. But the tale gets even stranger.
More MoJo reporting on proxy detention
Locked Up Abroadâfor the FBI
Obama Administration Interrogating Terror Suspects Locked Up Abroad (Again)
Document Shows US Government Knew About American Locked Up in Yemen
American Muslim Alleges FBI Had a Hand in His Torture (Updated with Video)
US Charges Yonas Fikre, American Who Claimed Torture, With Conspiracy
READ: Letter to Justice Department About Alleged Proxy Detainee Yonas Fikre
Obama Administration Sued Over "Proxy Detention"
The interrogation manual deposited at the Library of Congress was labeled "Version 3" and dated August 18, 2008, just a few months before President George W. Bush left office. A side-by-side comparison showed that the section dealing with proxy detentions had changed dramatically between this Bush-era version and the 2011 one released to the ACLU.
The Bush-era section focused on interviews in Defense Department facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan—not suspects held by foreign governments. It was titled "Conducting Custodial Law Enforcement Interviews in Combat Zones,"—minus the word "Overseas," with its broader meaning. And the page-and-a-half on "recommended practices" that was entirely redacted in the 2011 version wasn’t in this version of the manual at all.
So when were the changes made? Recently, an FBI spokesman got me an answer. He said the tweaks came "around late 2010,"—well into the Obama administration—and "were mainly based on additional experiences gained overseas along with additional research on the subject matter."
Michael German, a former FBI agent who is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Law and Justice at New York University, says it is "extremely troubling" that it took the ACLU to uncover the manual, and that "these rules seem to expand without notice or public discussion. [It is] clear evidence there are insufficient internal or external controls on the FBI."
In recent years, the Obama administration has continued to shift away from unilateral measures such as drone strikes, and toward working with foreign allies through means like proxy detention. Publicly disclosed funding to train and equip foreign militaries to fight terrorism has increased from $218.6 million in 2012 to a requested $290.2 million in 2014, and defense officials recently told The Hill that the government’s secret counterterrorism budget now has less money going to Afghanistan and more going to North Africa and the Middle East. Data collected by Long War Journal show that drone strikes in Pakistan peaked in 2010 and have declined every year since; similar data for Yemen show a peak in 2012 and a decline in the years since.
For more on what the FBI’s work with American citizens overseas can look like in practice, check out my recent investigation in the May/June issue of Mother Jones.June 9, 2014The Stranger
from Politics | Mother Jones http://bit.ly/1oOe1eR
The suspects in Sunday’s shooting spree in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of two police officers and a shopper were a young married couple who espoused extreme pro-gun and anti-government views on their Facebook pages and who had spent time at the ranch of Cliven Bundy, whose standoff with the federal government made him a cause celebre in the so-called "patriot" movement.
The suspects, who killed themselves at the scene of their shooting rampage, have been identified as Jerad and Amanda Miller.
In a chilling Facebook message published a day before the shootings, Jerad Miller declared, "The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it."
Jerad Miller was eager to support Bundy, who was confronted by federal officials after years of refusing to pay grazing fees. On April 9, he wrote on Facebook:
I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under seige right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something. I will be doing something.
During his time on Bundy’s ranch, he told a reporter: "I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around or anything like that. I really don’t want violence toward them, but if they’re gonna come bring violence to us, if that’s the language they want to speak, we’ll learn it." Not long after the couple made their pilgrimage to Bundy’s ranch, Miller noted on Facebook that he and his wife were asked to leave because of his criminal past:
I was out there but they told me and my wife to leave because I am a felon. They don’t seem to understand that they are all felons now for intimidating law enforcement with deadly weapons. So don’t tell you that they need people. We sold everything we had to buy supplies and quit our jobs to be there 24/7. How dare you ask for help and shun us dedicated patriots.
Jerad Miller’s Facebook "likes" include the NRA, American Patriot Media Network, Support the 2nd Amendment, The Patriot Party, Rand Paul 2016, Ron Paul, the Washington Examiner, Legalize Weed, Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, American Crossroads, and Allen West.
In a June 2 Facebook post—something of a manifesto—Jerad Miller indicated that he supported the arguments of the anti-government patriot movement that claims freedom and liberty in the United States are currently threatened. He wrote:
We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war. We face an enemy that is not only well funded, but who believe they fight for freedom and justice. Those of us who know the truth and dare speak it, know that the enemy we face are indeed our brothers. Even though they share the same masters as we all do. They fail to recognize the chains that bind them. To stop this oppression, I fear, can only be accomplished with bloodshed. May the best men of our beloved nation stand and fight tyranny, without fear and without regret. May we stand proud as free men instead of kneeling as slaves. May we offer our children a free and just world with our blood, sweat and tears as payment. Let our wives and lovers take vengeance upon our enemies in our absence. We cannot fail in this endeavor of Liberty, if we do we risk leaving our orphaned children to the will of tyrants. We, cannot with good conscience leave this fight to our children, because the longer we wait, our enemies become better equipped and recruit more mercenaries of death, willing to do a tyrants bidding without question. I know you are fearful, as am I. We certainly stand before a great and powerful enemy. I, however would rather die fighting for freedom, than live on my knees as a slave. Let it be known to our children’s children that free men stood fast before a tyrants wrath and were found victorious because we stood together. That we all cast aside our petty differences and united under the banner of Liberty and Truth. May future generations look back upon this time in history with awe and gratitude, for our courage to face tyranny, so that they could live happy and free.
A few days later, Miller shared a photo that proclaimed, "The police have never attacked a pro gun rally."
On her YouTube page, Amanda Miller liked videos called, "Shooting Cops," "Citizens Can Shoot Police," and "When Is It Okay To Shoot a Cop." She posted a video of Jerad Miller interviewing people at the Bundy ranch. Her Facebook page contains photos of a woman posing with guns and she shared a picture of the "best coffee table ever"—it was a table with a drawer full of guns.
A sample of their posts is below:
Jerad’s posts from June:
Jerad’s post from May:
Jerad’s posts about attending the Bundy rally in April:
From Jerad and Amanda Miller’s wedding day:
YouTube Likes from Amanda
Here’s Jerad interviewing people at the Bundy Ranch standoff:June 9, 2014The Stranger
from News – AllGov http://bit.ly/TBtTbc
As if the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wasn’t in enough trouble already, federal lawyers are now investigating the agency over allegations of retaliating against whistleblowers.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced this week that it has received complaints from 37 VA workers claiming their superiors punished them for speaking out about problems at the embattled agency—including reports similar to the current controversy over improper scheduling of medical visits for veterans.
Lawyers with OSC say they stopped the VA recently from taking disciplinary actions against three VA whistleblowers. “OSC appreciates the VA’s cooperation in providing interim relief to these employees,” said OSC chief Carolyn Lerner. “Receiving candid information about harmful practices from employees will be critical to the VA’s efforts to identify problems and find solutions. However, employees will not come forward if they fear retaliation.”
One case involved an employee who hadn’t been disciplined during 20 years of service, but was now facing a 30-day suspension without pay for reporting on the use of patient restraints in violation of VA rules and procedures. His suspension was stayed.
Another worker faced a weeklong suspension and other actions after informing the inspector general about improper scheduling and coding procedures at the facility. That worker’s punishment was also put on hold.
OSC is looking into 49 reports of scheduling improprieties and potential threats to patient safety at VA facilities, with more than 80 pending claims on file by agency employees at facilities in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
To Learn More:
OSC Investigating 37 Claims of Whistleblower Reprisal at the VA (Office of Special Counsel)
Investigators Are Looking Into 37 Whistleblower Reprisal Complaints from VA Employees (by Charles Clark, Government Executive)
OSC Investigating Alleged Retaliation against 37 VA Whistleblowers (by Josh Hicks, Washington Post)
VA Internal Report Confirms False Reports by Phoenix Office (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)June 9, 2014The Stranger
from News – AllGov http://bit.ly/TBtR2W
The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a plan last week that would cut carbon emissions from electricity production by 30% over the next 15 years. The proposal drew howls of protest from those who said it would raise electric rates and kill jobs. However, 10 states have already cut their plant emissions by that much and there have been few economic consequences.
For example, Maine, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire all cut power-plant emissions by more than 40% between 2005 and 2012 while average electrical bills dropped by 7%, according to The New York Times. Maryland was close behind with a 39% cut. Washington state, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia have also cut their use at least 30% over that period.
“I predict this will be far easier and far faster and far cheaper than most people realize,” Hal Harvey, chief executive of Energy Innovation, a research group, told the Times.
Much of the reduction has been accomplished by switching from coal-fired plants to those that run on natural gas. But alternative electricity sources and conservation have also helped.
Massachusetts commissioner of environmental protection David W. Cash told the Times he sees a direct correlation between his state’s lower energy bills for consumers and businesses and its above-average economic performance. “Every dollar they’re not spending on coal that comes from Colombia or natural gas that comes from Pennsylvania is a dollar that stays here in Massachusetts,” Cash said.
Some say that the 30% goal isn’t aggressive enough. “I think it’s properly ambitious—for the first term of the Bill Clinton administration,” Bill McKibben, the president and co-founder of 350.org, a group pushing for climate action, told the Times. “Given the melting Antarctic, we obviously should be doing far, far more, but at least we’re finally started, and that’s to Obama’s credit.”
However some states that have already been cutting carbon emissions say much of the burden for fulfilling the Obama administration goal is falling on them. “Just because we’ve led in this effort doesn’t mean we should have to do as much or even more than states that haven’t even started,” said Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
One downside of the proposal is that since the proposed carbon cuts rely heavily on increased use of natural gas, there is likely to be an increase in fracking and the environmental dangers it can bring.
To Learn More:
In Some States, Emissions Cuts Defy Skeptics (By Justin Gillis and Michael Wines, New York Times)
EPA’s Carbon Emission Plan Goes Easy on States that Pollute the Most (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)
CO2 Emissions Level Drops to 18-Year Low (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)June 9, 2014The Stranger
from ProPublica: Articles and Investigations http://bit.ly/1pXo4ly
“Whistleblowing is not for the faint-hearted –- and especially not on Wall Street.” So begins William D. Cohan’s latest piece for the Financial Times magazine, which profiles three men who spoke out against their employers and paid for it.
A rare figure in journalism — the investigative reporter with nearly two decades’ experience on Wall Street — Cohan joins ProPublica’s Jake Bernstein this week to talk more about the price of speaking up against the big banks.
The article, through the personal stories of its protagonists, reveals big banks who muster their considerable power in the cause of self-protection – making the risk of finding and reporting wrongdoing so high.
It’s a strange dichotomy, Bernstein says, because “these banks all have systems in place where they’re supposed to catch all this.” And “it’s all supposed to be — at least within the bank — transparent, but all that seems to get subverted again and again.”
The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law was supposed to help prevent another financial meltdown partly by encouraging whisteblowers to come forward, but even that has shown mixed results, Cohan says.
Financial awards and protections of anonymity for whistleblowers — which detractors have labeled “hush money” — are a step forward, Cohan says, but the step back is that the public never knows what was uncovered or what bank was at fault: “Is this just, you know — again — a very clever tactic to keep these institutions from really getting the accountability that they need?”
June 9, 2014The Stranger
from News – AllGov http://bit.ly/1pb5PJw
Nothing’s inevitable except death and taxes, or so the saying goes. Well, about 33,000 well-off Americans have managed to beat the odds on half that adage.
According to a report from the Internal Revenue Service, 32,902 people whose “expanded income” exceeded $200,000 paid no income tax for 2011, the most recent year for which such figures are available. The total amounted to 0.691% of all filers. That’s actually down a bit from the peak of 35,061 such filers, or 0.882%, in the 2009 tax year, before the recession took full hold of the economy. A total of 4.7 million filers in 2011 had incomes of $200,000 or more.
The most common reasons filers escaped having to pay tax was having their income come from tax-exempt sources, such as municipal bonds, or having sufficient medical and dental expenses to offset their income.
Despite the slight drop in the number of high-earners not paying income tax, the number has remained relatively steady since a huge increase in the number in the 2008 tax year. The number of $200,000-plus earners jumped that year to 31,539 from 14,794 the year before.
The IRS began releasing this information in 1977 at the request of Congress.
To Learn More:
New IRS Report Demonstrates yet Another Reason Income Inequality Persists(Citizens for Tax Justice)
Number of High-Income Americans Who Paid No Income Tax Doubled in One Year (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)