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Bits 'n pieces from east, west and beyond

by LORRAINE H. MARIE
| May 7, 2021 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

The Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 was recently introduced to Congress with bipartisan support. According The Washington Post, it would end draft registration and abolish the Selective Service System. Congressional critics of the system describe it as “an unnecessary, wasteful bureaucracy.” Another new bill would require women to register with the agency. If enacted, the repeal act would represent a dodge for the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been asked to determine if the system is constitutional.

The nation’s wealthiest 1 percent do not report more than 20 percent of their income to the IRS, according to a new analysis by economists and by government researchers. The decrease in the IRS budget has contributed to the problem. It’s estimated that investing $100 billion in the IRS over the next decade would generate up to $1.4 trillion in more revenue.

Estimates made this year indicate that unreported income cost more than $600 billion in revenue, The New York Times reported. Legislation introduced to Congress calls for a $70 billion boost in IRS funding, allowing for the auditing of 95 percent of large corporations, along with 50 percent of those earning more than $10 million per year and 20 percent of those earning more than $1 million.

In 2020, poor taxpayers — those making less than $25,000 annually — were audited at a rate of 0.69 percent, which is higher than most other tax groups, according to USA Today.

The Seattle Times reported that of those 65 and older in Washington state, those not vaccinated are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at 9.7 times the rate of those who have been vaccinated.

The largest live in-person concert since the pandemic began was held in New Zealand recently. There were 50,000 fans, no social distancing requirements and very few masks. Less than 3 percent of the nation’s population has been vaccinated, according to a New York Times database. The island nation has had success in holding back the virus due to following strict rules, and has had just 2,600 cases and 26 deaths since the pandemic began. In the U.S., deaths from COVID-19 exceed all the U.S. deaths incurred during World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War.

A supporter of former President Donald Trump, who advised in a post-Capitol insurrection online video to “Kill your senators: Slaughter them all,” was found guilty of making a death threat against elected officials. He faces up to 10 years in prison, The Washington Post reported. Prosecutors told jurors that Brendan Hunt’s talk was not protected speech: He offered detailed descriptions for killing people he said had stolen the election from Trump and offered to do the killings himself.

Three men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan’s governor now face additional charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, according to CNN.com. The three men are alleged to have ordered $4,000 worth of explosives with IED shrapnel — from an FBI agent.

Proponents of the newly introduced Judiciary Act of 2021, which would add four new seats to the Supreme Court note that of the nine current justices, five were appointed by presidents who had fewer votes than their opponents. The number of justices on the Supreme Court has fluctuated over the years.

More than 400 people now face charges stemming from the Jan. 6 insurrection. Another 100 are expected to be charged, Reuters said.

West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds to people ages 16 to 35 when they get vaccinated against COVID-19. BBC.com said the payments will come out of the coronavirus relief package.

On its website, Newsmax has apologized for their false claims that Dominion Voting Systems was engaged in actions to alter 2020 election results.

Blast from the past: “The mind cannot absorb what the backside cannot endure,” Prince Philip, recently deceased, remarked regarding long sermons.

And another blast: The FDA approved use of the birth control pill, as long as it was to be used for “severe menstrual distress,” in 1957. In 1960 it was approved for contraception, but was not legal in every state. It could only be prescribed to married women. Opponents of the pill warned that it was immoral to use, would promote prostitution and was on par with abortion. In 1972, it became legal for any woman, married or not. Proponents of the pill argued that it let a woman have control over her own life, such as being able to finish her education and work. The Department of Health and Human Services says every dollar of publicly funded family planning saves close to $4 in Medicaid expenses.