Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Collected Misbehaviour: What worries you, masters you

INK BOTTLE“No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.”
~ Leonard Schapiro, The Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Antipodean Westie with Mittleuropean Opinion piece by George Rozvany Michael West on Apple and the Peoples Tax (velvet) Revolution

Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan says tax fraud won't just result in the outstanding tax and penalties to be repaid, but may result in criminal charges Australians with links to Panama Papers could be charged following raids this week 

Middle Eastern Amerikan, Saint and Sinner, Steve Jobs: Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
[T]he question our society should ask is, “Why do we still have a world where we need ( taxing Velvet Revolutions)  or Mother Teresa is needed?” In answer to this, an Indian prayer floats through my mind. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, into that heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake.” These are not Mother Teresa’s words but those of India’s most illustrious poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Saint Teresa imagined that such a world was possible  The  Simple Story of Sainthood

He is one of those orators of whom it was well said: Before they get up, they do not know what they are going to say; when they are speaking, they do not know what they are saying; and when they have sat down, they do not know what they have said.

Drugs and Privilege: Big Business, Congress and the EpiPen Truthout


The Formula for a Richer World? Equality, Liberty, Justice Deirdre McCloskey NYT. Because US workers were rich by world standards, it’s OK that they bore the costs of bringing up global averages, while the 1% cashed in. Will Doctor Pangloss please pick up the white courtesy phone?
China regulation of the day: “TV stations must play down shows’ casts and limit celebrities’ appearances on reality shows.”

Anne Johnson and Lynette I. Millett, Rapporteurs; Forum on Cyber Resilience Workshop Series; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “In January 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted the Workshop on Data 
Breach Aftermath and Recovery for Individuals and Institutions. Participants examined existing technical and policy remediations, and they discussed possible new mechanisms for better protecting and helping consumers in the wake of a breach. Speakers were asked to focus on data breach aftermath and recovery and to discuss ways to remediate harms from breaches. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.” 

The Chronicle spoke with people who run cheating companies and those who do the cheating. The demand has been around for decades. But the industry is in rapid transition.

"In Quoting Profanity, Some Judges Give a F#%&. Others Don't": Zoe Tillman of The National Law Journal has this report

Help us fight bicycle theft—register your bike: “The Bike Index makes stolen bikes harder to sell and easier to recover by making sure important information about your bike is there when you need it the most. The process is simple, secure, and free. Learn more orregister your bike now. So far we’ve registered 89,737 bikes and recovered 3,268stolen bikes.”
NBN raids senate refers seized material privileges committee
“The word one encounters most often in the classics of Russian literature is `cabbage,’ followed by `cucumber.’ `Cabbage-eater’ is what the Russian is called in America, as the Frenchman is called `frog,’ short for `frog-eater’ [And let’s not forget the Krauts], frogs being something that Anglo-Saxons refuse to eat.”

Think of Tchalikov in Chekhov’s long story from 1894, “A Woman’s Kingdom”: “With a moan he ran to her, grunting inarticulately as though he were paralyzed—there was cabbage on his beard and he smelt of vodka—pressed his forehead to her muff, and seemed as though he were in a swoon.” And this, from “Sleepy” (1888): “It is stuffy. There is a smell of cabbage soup, and of the inside of a boot-shop.” Buzzi explains: Cabbage is eternal ...
bird_animal_plumage copy
The Greek Attalids purchased an entire island just to steal its art.  J. Paul Getty spent lavishly on art he would never see. What motivates collectors?... Displaying  Art  

Why Behavioral Economics Is Really Marketing Science: Philip Kotler is the S.C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Originally published at Evonomics

Economists rarely mention marketing. Occasionally an article appears in the American Economic Review on advertising or promotion or warranties. But to most economists, marketing is a sideshow in the economy. It is filled with too many particulars and virtually no theory. A cynical economist would even hold that marketing activity hurts the efficiency of the economy. Promotions distort the true price and lead consumers to buy on brand name, not real value. 

Misbehaving Smarter Data: Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’ New York Times. “Insightful observations  and reporting; Butt the question is what took NYT so long to notice…”

* It’s official: non-profit Truth in Advertising has filed a complaint with the FTC about the Kardashian/Jenner family’s sponsored posts. [The Fashion Law]

the roossians have landed

Corporate tax cuts: why the old analyses don’t stack up any more (did they ever?)

Large businesses say tax staff churn damaging HMRC relationships

CCH Daily, 19/8/16. HMRC plans to use the introduction of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) online strategy to move to a points-based penalty regime for failure to submit tax information on time, using a graduated model similar to the ‘speeding points’ system used for drivers who break the law, and is also potentially seeking wider investigative powers

Career Corner. “Rise of the Robots” – Cognitive Technology Threatens Us All. (Jim Peterson, Going Concern). No, just you young whippersnappers who won’t hit the retirement beaches first. 

MediaFile, a D.C.-based media reporting site, is launching Monday

Every Friday until the elections, the Washington Post will flood social media with fact checks 

Greed Report: Tax hack—how to protect yourself from a crime that won’t go away via cnbc.com  Law enforcement officials knew him only as "The Hacker" — a mysterious person (or was it more than one?) who was stealing millions of dollars in IRS tax refunds, then vanishing like the wind — along with the money — after threatening death to anyone who crossed him. Greed Report: Tax Hack 

Guttentag, Michael D., Selective Disclosure and Insider Trading: Tipper Wrongdoing in the 21st Century (August 26, 2016). Florida Law Review, Vol. 69, 2016, Forthcoming; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016-20. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2830735

“The Supreme Court in deciding Salman v. United States should update a confused and increasingly obsolete aspect of insider trading doctrine: the rule that the selective disclosure of material nonpublic information can only trigger insider trading liability if “the insider personally will benefit, directly or indirectly, from his disclosure.”

Medicare Part B: Data on Coupon Discounts Needed to Evaluate Methodology for Setting Drug Payment Rates, GAO-16-643 

J. Brandon Rigoni and Bailey Nelson, Gallup: “Six in 10 millennials say they’re open to different job opportunities, and only 50% plan to be with their company one year from now. For most companies, millennials are a “flight risk.” Given this, organizations need to recognize how millennials search for and select employers — and then develop and promote their brands accordingly to attract them... They also possess the hyperconnectedness through a continuous flow of digital information to hunt down the companies that provide the job attributes they want…”

Via FAS – Heroin Trafficking in the United States. Kristin Finklea, Specialist in Domestic Security. August 23, 2016
“Over the past several years, the nation has seen an uptick in the use and abuse of opioids—both prescription substances and non- prescription substances such as heroin. The estimated number of individuals who had used heroin was 914,000 .....

House Staffer is a Tax Protester? David Herz
By: David J. Herzig
Politico reported yesterday that “Isaac Lanier Avant, chief of staff to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Democratic staff director for the Homeland Security Committee, allegedly did not file returns for the 2009 to 2013 tax years.”
According to the Department of Justice Press Release, Mr. Avant has been a staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002.  In 2005, he filed a form with “his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes.  Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.”
This seemingly innocent story might get more torrid.  For starters, missing from the press release by Justice is that, as Richard Rubin pointed out to me, Mr. Avant’s employer was Congress.  Do you hear the can of worms opening?  I mean, who at payroll in Congress is green-lighting the stopping of withholding?  What did his form look like? Did he make up an official and name it – W-NONE?  How many other staffer’s did this?  How did he never get audited?  According the the press release and the story, Mr. Avant did not file tax returns for 5 years; I guess a matching program would not catch anything since he had no withholding.  But, one would think Congress would at least ensure that every employee has filed a tax return.
Not sure which awesome tax protester argument he is going with.  Personally, I hope it is that he is a sovereign citizen.  It would be great if the Democratic staff director of Homeland Security thought the U.S. laws did not apply to him.  I guess we will have to wait for the actual complaint.  For those interested, the IRS has outlined numerous frivolous tax arguments.
 [UPDATE 8/24/16 at 8:41 pm: It appears that a claim of Sovereign Citizen might really be in play.  According to the Panolian, a local Batesville, Mississippi newspaper, Mr. Avant is the son of Vernice Black Avant and the late Robert Allen Avant Sr.  In 2011, according to the Panolian, Mr. Avant’s mother, who is also a court clerk, filed an “11-page ‘Affidavit of Truth'”  “declaring that she is a “freeborn Sovereign” are meant to distinguish her as an individual, distinct from a corporation.”  “The affidavit cites participation in the use of bank accounts, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, vehicle license plates and tax returns as ‘under duress.'”]