Monday, November 30, 2015

Whistleblowers for Innovation: “Go For It. But Don’t Give Up the Day Job”

Where do we go nobody knows?
I’ve gotta say I’m on my way down
- Cold Play re Cold River

 The private paramedic company contracted to provide first aid services to the Stereosonic music festival has banned its staff from talking to NSW Police after the death of Sydney pharmacist Sylvia Choi. Sttereosonic. ...

Clear thinking needed The Economist. “Global warming cannot be dealt with using today’s tools and mindsets. So create some new one

It is a crime to report crime - the sea of silent treatments in Sydney ...
HSBC whistleblower given five years' jail over biggest leak in banking history 

Four top KPMG accountants arrested over alleged tax fraud 

Four KPMG partners in Belfast put on leave as HMRC begin investigation

Germany gives Greece names of 10000 citizens suspected of dodging taxes  

Luxury goods retailers are being used for money laundering

Here are the top 10 countries where British criminals launder their money

 AFP whistle blower’s explosive claims of mass murder, rape and corruption

We reward whistle blowers who help to prosecute people who are defrauding the government by giving them a share of the proceeds. Bradley Birkenfeld, for example, provided evidence to the US government that the Swiss bank UBS was illegally enabling US tax evaders. The case led to a $780 million dollar fine against UBS and Birkenfeld collected a sweet cut, $104 million.
Derek Khanna at the R Street Institute suggests a similar system to reward innovators

Hundreds rally in Paris to protest the banning of protests @Ruptly

As Young observes:
“Offshore jurisdictions are in the business of making life difficult for whistleblowers through formal legislation and through the informal forcement of social codes; the unwritten rules of conduct and the herd mentality that affect those who work in the financial sector. To borrow from hackers’ slang, hostility to whistleblowers is a feature, not a bug; it is an attractive part of the financial secrecy package which offshore jurisdictions peddle to clients.”

Tax Justice Focus – The Whistleblower edition  

Greg Ip presented his new book Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe at Mercatus/GMU, with an emphasis on financial crises and a bit on forest fires too.  I was the moderator, and the commentators were Alex J. Pollock and Jared Bernstein.

Harrison Daily editorial, Why Is No One Held Accountable?: Never ever does anything serious seem to happen to government officials who fail to do their jobs properly, waste massive amounts of taxpayers' money, harm the innocent unfairly or even engage in criminal activities.

Welfare cheats have ­defrauded taxpayers of almost $5 billion, with more than 1.1 million in Centrelink debts now owed to the Commonwealth. The scale of the fraud and abuse of the social security safety net has driven the federal government to create a special Australian Federal Police taskforce to recover some of the debt and pursue criminal charges, reports The Daily Telegraph. 

Gretchen Tegeler, Many Iowa public employees are better off in retirement than working (

Paris Attacks to Boost Money Laundering Enforcement 

UK Government Technical consultation on draft regulations for country-by-country reporting  

Laon Ghosts
"A team in Spain recently examined the daily diets of 58 people with celiac disease and found that, in general, they contained more fat and less fibre than those of people who do eat gluten."
The most googled diets by city

Cities as harems

Exploring the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer-Winning Medicare Investigation with SQLPublic Affairs Data Journalism at Stanford University (CL). Amazing. 

Policy wonks who opened Snapchat today were greeted by the silky drawl of Frank Underwood, the chief villain (and hero) of the Netflix political tragedy “House of Cards.”
“I’ve always said power is more important than money,” intones Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. “But when it comes to elections, money gives power — well, a run for its money.”
The clip, which appeared on’s newly launched Discover channel, serves as an entry point for the site’s rapid-fire tutorial on cash-infused political campaigns. Paired with sinister-sounding music and a spate of red, white and blue motion graphics, Underwood’s cameo marks’s first foray into Snapchat Discover., which launched on Snapchat Discover Monday, used its first daily edition to explore the influence of money on politics

Study 329: Big Risk Dr. David Healy 
Watch what you say about Saudi Arabia:
According to a report in pro-government newspaper Al Riyadh, the Saudi justice ministry is planning to sue a Twitter user who suggested that a death sentence recently handed out to a Palestinian artist for apostasy was “ISIS-like.”
…The ministry would not hesitate to sue “any media that slandered the religious judiciary of the Kingdom,” the source added.
The Washington Post adds that “the comparison to the Islamic State appears to be a particular bone of contention for the Saudi kingdom.” A Saudi spokesman explained to NBC News recently that the country’s beheadings and hand-choppings for religiously-based and other offenses differed from Islamic State’s because “the country’s Shariah-based legal system ensures fairness. ‘ISIS has no legitimate way to decide to decide to kill people’.” The target of the contemplated Twitter suit was not named, and it was not immediately apparent whether that person is a Saudi subject. [Washington Post,Reuters] The hashtag #ISISlike was spreading rapidly on Twitter last night.
Laon cobbled together
Exclusive: Three Goldman bankers leave for Uber as tech world raids Wall Street talent Reuters. Lambert: “I’m sure the new atmosphere is congenial.”

“People will not keep voting for politicians who continue to put the priorities of big polluters ahead of the needs of the community..."

One veteran senator said he had "never seen anything like it" before.
Never seen anything like it" before ...

Dr. Robert Taub, a mesothelioma specialist at Columbia University, got sucked into the Albany ethical abyss and in particular the moneymaking schemes of former New York Assembly Speaker and longtime Overlawyered favorite Sheldon Silver [Bill Hammond, Politico/Capital New York, quotes me] The defense proffered by Silver’s lawyers draws heavily on the idea that look, this is the way New York works [New York Post]:
“It’s impossible, absolutely impossible,” argued defense lawyer Steven Molo, “for a member of the Assembly to … do the job that a person in the Assembly does and not have some sort of conflict of interest.
“That may make you uncomfortable,” he added, “but that is the system New York has chosen, and it is not a crime.” 
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