Morning Headlines - Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

U.S. and World Headlines

Looming Leadership Void At IRS Raises Concerns Over $80 Billion Overhaul

 A group of former Internal Revenue Service commissioners is raising concerns over the fact that the White House has yet to nominate a replacement for Charles P. Rettig, whose term as IRS commissioner is scheduled to expire next month, warning that the looming vacancy could stall the Biden administration’s planned $80 billion overhaul of the agency.

The additional funds are expected to help the beleaguered IRS crack down on tax cheats, improve customer service and update antiquated technology. The funds, which were included in a bill that Democrats passed, are a central part of the Biden administration’s plans to raise more than $120 billion in additional tax revenue over the next decade.

Overseeing that transition will be a significant undertaking, and several former IRS leaders are warning that the lack of a new leader could hamper the transformation of the agency.

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What Putin’s Martial Law Order Means For The Russia-Ukraine War

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the latest escalation of his war in Ukraine on Wednesday, declaring martial law in occupied areas of Ukraine and wartime measures throughout much of Russia.

Ukrainian officials said the order would not deter their efforts to retake occupied territory, but warned it could mean mass deportations of Ukrainians out of the occupied regions, and harsher treatment for those that remain.

Experts said the order could also be a “back door” to pull more of Russian society into the war effort, strengthening Putin’s footing for future offensives but weakening his claim that the “special military operation” in Ukraine is not a full-fledged war.

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Judge Says Trump Knew His Voter Fraud Numbers Were False, Orders Ex-Lawyer To Give More Emails To Jan. 6 Committee

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered lawyer John Eastman, a key figure in former President Donald Trump's challenges to the 2020 election results, to turn over 33 new documents to the House Jan. 6 committee, including a number that the judge found are exempt from attorney-client privilege because they relate to a crime or an attempted crime.

In his order, U.S. District Judge David Carter of Central California found Eastman should hand over eight documents under the "crime-fraud exception" to attorney-client and attorney work privileges.

According to the judge, Eastman said in one of the email exchanges that Trump was aware that the number of voter fraud cases his team was alleging in a federal lawsuit challenging the election results in Georgia was "inaccurate." But, the judge said, Trump signed off on the suit, "swearing under oath" that the numbers were correct, anyway.

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Miss Universe Suspends Miss USA Organizers Amid Claims 'Woke' Pageant Crowned This Year's Winner Unfairly

  • Miss Brand Corp. has been suspended by Miss Universe after Miss USA contestants accused organizers of rigging the competition for a 'woke winner' to be crowned
  • In an email, obtained by DailyMail.com, Miss Universe CEO Amy Emmerich announced that 'Miss Universe Organization decided to suspend Miss Brand immediately'
  • Miss USA President Crystle Stewart is the director of Miss Brand, but it is unclear if she has also been suspended. Miss Universe did announce she was cooperating with the investigation
  • Miss Missouri, Mikala McGhee, 28, of St. Louis, said she thought winner R'Bonney Gabriel, 28, of Houston, was a 'woke winner' as she's the first Filipina American to win and that she would help boost viewership
  • She said the Filipino community has always been known to 'love' the glitz and glam of the pageantry world and could help revitalize it
  • Gabriel has denied any allegations against her, saying there was 'no unfair advantage' and that she 'would never enter any pageant or any competition that I would know I would win'
  • In addition, Stewart's husband Max Sebrects was forced to step down from the board after the Class of 2021 accused him of sexual misconduct
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Tiktok To Raise Age Requirement For Hosting Livestreams And Add Adult-Only Streams

TikTok will increase the minimum age requirement for livestreaming from 16 to 18 beginning on Nov. 23, and it will soon allow users to target adult audiences with stream content. The changes are part of the social media giant's efforts to improve community safety.

"The foundation of TikTok is built on community trust and safety," TikTok said on Monday. "To protect our users and creators and support their well-being, we constantly work to evolve the safeguards we put in place."

Currently, any user over the age of 16 with at least 1,000 followers is able to host a TikTok livestream, or LIVE. Users who are 18 years old or older are also able to send and receive tips, allowing users to earn gratuities for their content.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Tax Burden Falls To Lowest Level In Decades

Wisconsin's tax burden hit its lowest level in two decades in 2020, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The report looked at new federal data, showing Wisconsin's state and local tax collections rose just 1.7 percent in 2020 — the smallest increase since 2015.

Jason Stein, Wisconsin Policy Forum research director and author of the report, said the economy was relatively stable in the early months of the pandemic compared to other states.

"The takeaway here is that we did seem to, in the early days of the pandemic in Wisconsin, weather that a little bit better than other states," he said.

Despite the low tax burden, Wisconsin's national tax ranking rose from 24th-highest in the country in 2019 to 18th in 2020.

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Panelists Say GOP Has Good Shot At Supermajority In Senate, Tougher Path In Assembly

GOP and Dem insiders agree Republicans pining for a supermajority have a mostly clear path in the Senate, but winning 66 Assembly seats is a much bigger lift.

Panelists at a WisPolitics.com luncheon at the Madison Club Tuesday said picking up the five Assembly seats to reach a two-thirds majority — even with new maps that improve the GOP’s chances — will be a much harder task than netting one seat in the Senate.

Republicans began the session with a 61-38 advantage. The new maps that GOP lawmakers drew and the state Supreme Court approved reworked the district of freshman Dem Rep. Sara Rodriguez to a strongly GOP seat. She decided to run for lieutenant governor, and Republicans are expected to pick up her seat. That would require Republicans to hold every seat they now have and win four now held by Dems to reach a veto-proof majority.

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Wisconsin Bonfire Explosion Investigators: Underage Drinkers Won't Be Ticketed

Authorities in Wisconsin continue to investigate after 17 people were injured when a bonfire exploded early Saturday morning in the Town of Maple Grove.

In a news release, the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office said about 30 to 40 people were at the gathering just outside Green Bay when it exploded.

TMJ4 reported people came together to celebrate after the Pulaski High School homecoming football game.

According to the Associated Press, investigators believe the explosion may have occurred after someone rolled a drum filled with diesel fuel into the flames.

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State Falls Short Of Resting In Day 13, Brooks To Begin Defense On Thursday

Proceedings resumed Wednesday in the case of Darrell Brooks, the man accused of driving through the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing six and injuring dozens.

The state quickly ran through a handful of witnesses in the morning who were called to verify surveillance video they provided to investigators.

The state next called Waukesha Police Officer Kyle Becker, who canvassed a neighborhood for evidence after the SUV drove through the parade. His search began from the house where the car had been abandoned. He testified he recovered a navy blue sandal, and not long after, a grey sweatshirt.

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U.s. Attorneys Announce District Election Officers For Eastern & Western Districts Of Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s United States Attorneys, Gregory J. Haanstad and Timothy M. O’Shea, announced today that four Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSAs) will lead their offices’ efforts in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 8, 2022, general election. AUSAs Christopher Ladwig and Philip Kovoor have been appointed to serve as the District Election Officers (DEOs) for the Eastern District, and AUSAs Daniel Graber and Meredith Duchemin have been appointed to serve as the District Election Officers (DEOs) for the Western District. In that capacity, these AUSAs are responsible for overseeing their Districts’ handling of election day complaints of voting rights concerns, threats of violence to election officials or staff, and election fraud, in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

U.S. Attorney Haanstad said, “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted in a fair and free election. Similarly, election officials and staff must be able to serve without being subject to unlawful threats of violence. The Department of Justice will always work tirelessly to protect the integrity of the election process.”

The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring and combatting discrimination and intimidation at the polls, threats of violence directed at election officials and poll workers, and election fraud. The Department will address these violations wherever they occur. The Department’s longstanding Election Day Program furthers these goals and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the electoral process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible federal election law violations.

Federal law protects against such crimes as threatening violence against election officials or staff, intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for voters against their wishes or without their input. It also contains special protections for the rights of voters, and provides that they can vote free from interference, including intimidation, and other acts designed to prevent or discourage people from voting or voting for the candidate of their choice. The Voting Rights Act protects the right of voters to mark their own ballot or to be assisted by a person of their choice (where voters need assistance because of disability or inability to read or write in English).

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Last Update: Oct 20, 2022 5:20 am CDT

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