The curious business of process serving

In the US, if you file a civil lawsuit against someone, that person is not legally required to respond until notice of the suit has been personally given to the person, a process known as ‘process serving’. Usually this is just a formality. There are people whose job is to serve the papers and they come to your home or office or other place where you are known to hang out and give you the papers and that’s that. The rules for properly serving the papers vary by state but there are some common general ones.
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How the richest of the rich avoid paying taxes

The invaluable investigative news outfit ProPublica has come out with a blockbuster report on how little the really wealthy pay in taxes and ow they do it. It is based on secret IRS files that they received from an anonymous source.

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.
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Asian-Americans and the myth of the model minority

On his show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver said a lot of things that needed to be said about Asian-Americans and the model minority myth. He rightly points out how when in 1965 the US overhauled its racist immigration policies, it initially favored those from Asia who were highly educated and had skills the US needed. This has enabled some to use the relative economic success of this subset to claim that systemic discrimination does not exist and to shame all the other groups of color who had none of their advantages.

A recent survey found that 42% of Americans could not name even a single famous Asian American, even though Kamala Harris is vice president. The next highest number of 11% named Jackie Chan, who is not an Asian American.

Michael Cruz Kayne helps them out.

Peru’s leftist presidential candidate has highly reactionary views on social issues

The leftist Pedro Castillo, a teacher from the rural areas of Peru, is holding a very slim lead over the right wing Keiko Fujimori as the counting reaches its final stages after the voting on Sunday for president.

Socialist Pedro Castillo, who has roiled markets and miners with plans to shake up the copper-rich country’s politics, held a slim lead of some 50.2% ahead of right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori on 49.8%, with almost 96% of the votes tallied.

The leftist candidate, the son of peasant farmers, had surged late in the count, driven by an energized rural vote beyond capital Lima. Fujimori, the scion of a powerful political family, started to close the gap on Tuesday, however, as overseas votes came in that favor her.

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Facebook and Ethiopia

Facebook has rightly been charged with allowing its platform to be used to spread hate and even fomenting violent ethnic conflicts in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and other countries, most recently in Ethiopia. It has moderators who make decisions based on internal guidelines about whether offending posts should be removed and their posters penalized but the process has been criticized for being opaque and the results erratic. In response to criticisms that this was inadequate, the company has created an additional structure that would adjudicate more controversial cases involving hate speech or speech that foments violence.The company created a body that has been called a ‘Facebook Supreme Court’ (FSC) consisting of a wide array of people from around the world that would review difficult cases to see if the decisions of the company were justified.
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Whatever happened to Naomi Wolf?

I admit that I have not been following the career of Naomi Wolf closely, and had not read any of her stuff recently. I had read a few essays some time ago and had the vague impression that she was a feminist author who was somewhat involved in politics and had been a former advisor to Al Gore. So I was blindsided by the news that she has been permanently suspended by Twitter for spreading the wildest Q-worthy misinformation about vaccines. She seems to have gone completely bonkers.
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A careful look at the transgender sports

The number of people who comprise the trans community is small. The number of them who compete in competitive sports and athletics is even more minuscule. And the number of them who are competing at the highest levels has to be tiny. And yet, the last group has become the focus of intense attention by social conservatives who seem to see this issue as an indicator of the end of civilization as we know it.

Nathan J. Robinson takes a long and close look at why this might be so. He says that the effort to institute laws and rules to prevent trans women from taking part as women in sports ignores the vast harm done to all the other members of the trans community in every aspect of their lives. He examines the arguments put forward and says that their focus on only women’s sports is significant.
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A scathing critique of prominent New Atheists

Phil Torres has published a scathing essay that looks closely at the ugly trajectories that the careers of a group of prominent people identified with New Atheist movement has taken. The title of the piece Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right, along with the subtitle What once seemed like a bracing intellectual movement has degenerated into a pack of abusive, small-minded bigots pretty much captures the essence of the essay.
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