Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Fake Comments: How U.S. Companies & Partisans Hack Democracy to Undermine Your Voice

 Uber used 50 Dutch shell companies to dodge taxes on nearly $6 billion in revenue, report saysBusiness Insider 

Into the Mystical and Inexplicable World of Dowsing Outside

We live in a lawless, fraudulent country managed by a government intent on providing opportunity for corruption

Posted on May 13 2021

Data recently published by the UK wide Companies House shows that more than 800,000 companies were created in the year to 31 March 2021. That
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Swiss Insurance Company and DOJ Enter DPA Requiring $77 Million+ Payment and Cooperation

Defendant Sentenced to 2 Years for FBAR and Tax Evasion Conviction After Guilty Plea 

DOJ Tax issued this press release:  Florida Man Sentenced for Evading Taxes on Millions in Secret Offshore Bank Accounts (2/14/21), here.  Key excerpts are:

A resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for not reporting his foreign financial accounts from 2006 through 2015 and for willfully evading the assessment of millions in taxes from 2007 through 2014.

Secret Service seizes $2 billion in fraudulent Covid unemployment payments, returns funds to states CNBC 

Fake Comments: How U.S. Companies & Partisans Hack Democracy to Undermine Your Voice

New York State Office of the Attorney General Latitia James released the report on May 10, 2021.  “On June 19, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received a comment from Kenneth Langsam of Nassau, New York. Mr. Langsam had written to express support for the proposed repeal of regulations that require internet service providers to treat all internet communications equally. Mr. Langsam “urge[d]” the agency to eliminate these anti-discrimination protections, often referred to as net neutrality rules.However, there was one problem: Mr. Langsam had died seven years earlier. The comment was fabricated and his identity stolen.Mr. Langsam’s story is not unique; as detailed below, the Office of the New York Attorney General (OAG) found that fake comments accounted for nearly 18 million of the more than 22million comments the FCC received during its 2017 rulemaking. This type of fraud has significant consequences for our democracy. Federal and state agencies rely on public comments to set standards that govern many aspects of our lives, from public health to consumer protection to the environment, and, in this case, the rules that govern how we share and consume content over the internet. Public comments can also influence legislators and the laws they enact. This report is the product of an extensive investigation by the OAG of the parties that sought to influence the FCC’s 2017 proceeding to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules. In the course of that investigation, the OAG obtained and analyzed tens of thousands of internal emails, planning documents, bank records, invoices, and data comprising hundreds of millions of records. Our investigation confirmed many contemporaneous reports of fraud that dogged that rulemaking process. The OAG found that millions of fake comments were submitted through a secret campaign, funded by the country’s largest broadband companies, to manufacture support for the repeal of existing net neutrality rules using lead generators. And millions more were submitted by a 19-year old college student using made-up identities. The OAG also found that the FCC’s rulemaking proceeding was not unique. Some of the same parties and tactics have infected other rulemakings and processes for public engagement…”

CRS In Focus – Updated May 7, 2021 Deep Fakesand National Security – “Deep fakes”—a term that first emerged in 2017 to describe realistic photo, audio, video, and other forgeries generated with artificial intelligence (AI) technologies—could present a variety of national security challenges in the years to come. As these technologies continue to mature, they could hold significant implications for congressional oversight, U.S. defense authorizations and appropriations, and the regulation of social media platforms…”

China’s Soaring Factory Costs Send Inflation Signal to the World Bloomberg

China Global Luxury Index Reaches Its Highest Level Ever Jing Daily

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi shares rally over 6% after U.S. agrees to remove it from blacklist CNBC

China’s Debt-Laden Developers Get Over Repayment Hump Caixin

China’s Credit Rebound May Spell Trouble for Huarong Investors Bloomberg.

Talk of labor shortages is everywhere. What is really going on? Economic Policy Institute. Key point:

The footprint of a labor shortage is very fast wage growth. Does that mean wage levels in leisure and hospitality are now too high? No. These wages plummeted in the recession and have just regained their pre-COVID trend—i.e., they are now roughly where they would be if COVID had never happened. In fact, the current average weekly wage for nonsupervisory workers in leisure and hospitality translates into annual earnings of $20,628. Yes, you read that right. $20,628.