Monday, September 26, 2016

Corruption is Worst form of Criminality

INK BOTTLE“It is no good to think that other people are out to serve our interests.”
~ Ivy Compton-Burnett, Elders and Betters

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot ...~  John Hatton paraphrasing Czeslaw Milosz  Biography of John Hatton AO - The Little Bloke That Could ...

Epidemics of political insanity are unique: Islamists are distinct from Maoists. But they're united by an iconography and an attraction to dogmatism and violence...  Extreme Scarcity 

People don’t mind inequality due to “brute luck”…but is one man’s brute luck another man’s rigged corrupt system? Popular acceptance of inequality due to brute luck 🍀

Mocking of Democracy

Meriton - Tribugoff : Two workers dangle from collapsed crane in North Sydney 

New Zealand: 35% of offshore speculators paying no tax

The more the press digs into the the sordid details of the Wells Fargo fake account scandal, the more rancid the stench. Wells Fargo’s Management by Magical Thinking Comes Up Short in the Cover-Up Category

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that Wells Fargo will pay a $185 million fine to the CFPB, the city of Los Angeles and the OCC.  Apparently, the commissions that the bank paid to employees for setting up new checking, savings and 
credit card accounts incentivized those employees to set up fake accounts using customer information without the customers' permission.  These secret, unauthorized accounts sometimes resulted in customers paying fees but always resulted in the employees 
receiving bonuses.  (Disclaimer:  I am a WF customer, and yes, even the very awesome and helpful employees at the BYU branch try to cross-sell new products pretty regularly.  Maybe all banks do as well.)  Since 2011, over 5000 employees have been fired vL

Czech out Christine Hunt suspects Wells Fargo: A Successful Caremark Claim?

Turns out, it is Donals Trump, not Hillary Clinton, who has used his charitable foundation for illegal gain.  Let’s all give the Washington Post a round of applause. Faced with a Presidential candidate who is hiding his own tax returns, the Post did the next best thing, and looked at the publicly available documents from the Trump Foundation, Trump’s “charity.”  The Post reports Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle personal legal disputes. For those playing along at home: if the allegations are true, that’s illegal...The Media Did Its Job Exposing Trump’s Alleged Tax Fraud: But It Can’t Make You Care

Is Chinese anti-corruption drive genuine? Or just a way to get rid of political opponents?  The news on this front is by no means entirely bad.  Xi Lu and Peter L. Lorentzen report ...

"Transfer Pricing: Chevron and profit shifting .. Deloitte by Fabijancic at al ... Transfer Pricing: Why Australia's landmark tax ruling against Chevron is a first battle in a global war on profit shifting ... 

In Max's context, this is an interesting bill - not sure if it passes to legislation, in US probably still early but that is how changes might happen

US Legislators introduce bill to shed more light on US multinationals
US Legislators introduce bill to shed more light on MNEs profit shifting 

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
~Winston Churchill
And then there’s what is the same: The institutional setting[2] that produced the forgeries and improper fees: A toxic sales culture[3], whether for liar’s loans or NINJA mortgages. The blowback from that culture — whether by uncorrupt employees, or harmed customers — produced, in the larger political and judicial setting, good guys: Both whistleblowers and activists who in self-defense networked to became subject matter experts, lawyers to bring cases on their behalf, and even disinterested judges and regulators willing to uphold the law. And the odd crusading journalist. People playing those roles, and in some cases the same individuals — I’m amazed to see Max 
Gardner, a foreclosure lawyer, cited in both Morgenson’s article and at Naked Capitalism in 2011 — are still in there punching today The end of the beginning at Wells Fargo

 All the forces that are fighting against financialized, oligarchic capitalism failed evolution

Stumpf Is Lucky’: Comments of the Week American Banker

In December of 2009, Harper’s Magazine published “The General Electric Superfraud,” a cover story investigating GE’s efforts to clean up the toxic chemicals, known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that the company’s plants dumped into the Hudson River between 1947 and 1977 Murky waters

The Whistleblowers of Oz   

Against happiness The Economist. True fact: Zappos has a chief happiness
What’s it like to discover your colleagues may have been involved in corruption? Senior public servants speak about Victoria’s “wake up call” proving it’s not superior to NSW after all. Departments act to tackle bad behaviour... The Operation Ord inquiry found senior officials siphoned off millions in public funds intended for school education for their own personal benefit. The Operation Dunham inquiry, which centred around the department’s failed Ultranet software system, will be finalised by the end of the year. Public servants voice corruption shock: ‘someone we liked’

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s days are numbered, as they should be based on his inability even to fake contrition in Senate hearings Wells Fargo CEO's Teflon Don act backfires at Senate hearing I take full responsibility means anything but ...

Corporate Welfare: Trump Received $885 Million in Tax Breaks for His New York Empire

Nick Xenophon seeks crackdown after $850m laundering spree

 'Shoeless Joe' author W.P. Kinsella dies at 81 | Fox News

Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, following negative coverage including a story on his use of tax breaks in real estate development [The Hill]:

Vague lawsuit threats are usually the bumptious kind: there is no cause of action for “irresponsible intent.”

Nick Xenophon seeks crackdown after $850m laundering spree

Senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a crackdown on money laundering in gambling venues after a Chinese-Australian businessman allegedly washed $850 million through Melbourne's Crown Casino.   Senator Nick Xenophon told The Australian Financial Review while this case involved a large sum of money there were other instances of money laundering that flew under the regulator's radar because they involved smaller amounts. He highlighted the need for anti-money laundering reform, including by lowering the reporting threshold to $1000 from the current $10,000 and monitoring poker machines for large turnovers, not just winnings.
"Around Australia today money laundering is taking place using pokie machines. If you've just done a crystal meth deal, you could launder proceeds of that through the pokies, because the reporting requirements are so anaemic," he said. Nick Xenophon seeks crackdown after $850m laundering spree
Margaret Hodge calls for new parliamentary committee to end HMRC's tax "secrecy"

In mid-2005 the then Public Service Commissioner, Lynelle Briggs, gave a speech that packed a punch. Titled "A Passion for Policy", it ruffled more than a few grey-suited feathers - not because public servants weren't passionate about policy, but because many felt they must hide it lest anyone, particularly their ministers, judge them driven by emotion and ideology rather than by cool, impartial and balanced reason. But Briggs marshalled some strong arguments  Working in the public service is about having a passion for policy

Senior public servants know well the executive assistant plays a vital role, as an unofficial communication channel and guide to the bureaucratic labyrinth. But gauging the mood on office politics is no excuse for gossip.  What makes a good EA? Canberra SES officers spill the beans

Russ Fox, A New Scam: Mailed “IRS” Notices:
Something else to be wary of: Imitation IRS notices. Today I saw an “IRS” notice that looked almost real. The notice had the normal headers, and the terminology was just about right. The notice was supposedly from the Austin Service Center, but instead of responding to the Service Center the address for responding was a post office box in Austin. The real key was the request for money. All IRS notices (when a payment is due) ask for the check to be made payable to “United States Treasury.” The phony notice asked for the check to be made payable to “I.R.S.”
 Robert WoodWells Fargo Exec Pay Clawbacks Could Hurt Like Fake Accounts. “Wells Fargo executives probably can’t command too much sympathy these days.”

Lew Taishoff, METHOD, NO MADNESS. “While piously disclaiming any intention to rewrite the regulations that Congress especially reserved to Treasury, Judge Holmes opens the hosepipe of substantial compliance on the smoky fire of IRS’s objections.”

Surprise! Readers may actually pay attention to fact-checking

Canadian Mint employee pulls off heist by sticking $180,000 in gold “up his bum.” Slate