What does Putin want? Is he trying to restore the Soviet empire? Is it all about the oil and maximizing Russia’s position as a petro-power? Maybe corruption and cronyism are his ultimate objectives as he enriches himself and the tight circle of friends from his native St. Petersburg. Perhaps he’s never stopped being a K.G.B. man, paranoid about “foreign agents” and with a Cold War wariness about the power of the United States? Is the answer megalomania, the self-regard of a man who likes being photographed bare-chested on horseback? Or do the moralistic pronouncements about Russia as a Third Rome, saving a fallen Western world, provide the key?There’s truth to each of these, but what Steven Lee Myers gets so right in “The New Tsar,” his comprehensive new biography — the most informative and extensive so far in English — is that at bottom Putin simply feels that he’s the last one standing between order and chaos. Rather than a unified theory of Putin, what Myers offers is the portrait of a man swinging from crisis to crisis with one goal: projecting strength. That seems about as close as we can get to him.
When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.
It may not have the palm trees of the Cayman Islands but picturesque Crickhowell, nestled on the edge of the Welsh Black Mountains, has acquired a new status as “the town that went offshore” over an experiment that taps into public anger over tax havens ... The residents in Crickhowell are copying complicated offshore arrangements utilized by large global brands which pay virtually no corporation tax on their income.Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.Advised by experts and followed by a BBC crew, family-run shops in the Brecon Beacons town have submitted their own DIY tax plan to HMRC, copying the offshore arrangements used by global brands which pay little or no corporation tax.The Powys tax rebellion, led by traders including the town’s salmon smokery, local coffee shop, book shop, optician and bakery, could spread nationwide. Taking Stock: Welsh town offshores to make tax avoidance point
Driftwood (offering his pen to sign the contract): Now just, uh, just you put your name right down there and then the deal is, uh, legal.
Fiorello: I forgot to tell you. I can’t write.
Driftwood: Well, that’s all right, there’s no ink in the pen anyhow. But listen, it’s a contract, isn’t it?
Fiorello: Oh sure.
Driftwood: We got a contract…
Fiorello: Hey, wait, wait. What does this say here? This thing here.
Driftwood: Oh, that? Oh, that’s the usual clause. That’s in every contract. That just says uh, it says uh, “If any of the parties participating in this contract is shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.”
Fiorello: Well, I don’t know…
Driftwood: It’s all right, that’s, that’s in every contract. That’s, that’s what they call a ‘sanity clause’.
Fiorello: Ha ha ha ha ha! You can’t fool me! There ain’t no Sanity Clause!
|The Beauty on Kurrajong Tree|
Richard McGregor, The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers. As Chris Blattman wrote, a very good book. In China, never underestimate the role of The Party.
WordPress Now Powers 25% of the Web Slashdot
Exposing the Hidden Web: An Analysis of Third-Party – HTTP Requests on One Million Websites. International Journal of Communication, October 2015. Timothy Libert
|Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege Intercept|
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