Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Peter Dombrovskis via Dr Cope

Peter Dombrovskis was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1945 of Latvian parents. He emigrated to Australia in 1950 with his mother Adele and started taking photographs in the 1960's.

He was strongly influenced by Lithuanian-Australian pioneer, conservationist and photographer Olegas Truchanas, who became a father figure to him. He was equally influenced by landscape photographers of mid-century America such as Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and Eliot Porter.

Peter Dombrovskis - Pool of Siloam
In February 2003, Peter Dombrovskis was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, now in St Lious Murori, United States of America. Peter is the first Australian to be accorded this honour, and one of only 58 people to be inducted over the 200 or so years of the history of photography. Peter's work is also represented in the collections of the National Library, National Gallery of Australia, Australian Heritage Commission, National Gallery of Victoria, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, the Wilderness Gallery and many private collections.
Some of Peter's photographs have been instrumental in the conservation of various Tasmanian wild places including the prevention of the damming of the Franklin River. Peter's works have been published over 35 years in the form of books, calendars. cards and posters, and his wife Liz continued publishing until July 2009.

Peter Dombrovskis - Giant Kelp
Peter's photography has now moved to a new phase of public access. The National Library of Australia has acquired the archive of Peter's transparencies so that future generations may view and enjoy his photography.
On 28th March 1996, Peter died while photographing in the Western Arthur Range in southwest Tasmania. He is survived by his second wife, five children and two step-children.
All Peter's photographs were taken with a large format Linhof Master Technika 5 x 4 inch flatbed field camera. He used three lenses; a 90mm Nikkor F4.5, a 150mm Schneider Symar-S (standard lens), and a 300mm Nikkor MF9. He sometimes used a polarizing filter.

Two Very Different Perspectives On Attorney General Barr's Notre Dame Speech

NYT Opinion – The Chinese Threat to American Speech 

American companies have an obligation to defend the freedom of expression, even at the risk of angering China. “China’s assertive campaign to police discourse about its policies, even outside of its borders, and the acquiescence of American companies eager to make money in China, pose a dangerous and growing threat to one of this nation’s core values: the freedom of expression. The Communist state is becoming more and more aggressive in pressuring foreign companies to choose between self-censorship and the loss of access to what will soon be the world’s largest market. An old list of taboo topics, sometimes described as the “three Ts” — Tibet, Tiananmen and Taiwan — has been joined by newer subjects that must not be mentioned, including protests in Hong Kong and China’s mistreatment of its Muslim minority…”

Following up on last Sunday's post, In Advance Of Law School Speech By Attorney General William Barr, Notre Dame Dean Marcus Cole Issued A Ringing Defense Of Free Speech:

For Notre Dame fans, this football weekend was a twofer. Not only did the Irish beat a longtime rival, the University of Southern California, on Saturday, the campus was treated to a sight it had never before seen: the attorney general of the United States, at a pregame tailgater, serenading faculty, students and fans with his bagpipes.

Turns out that was William Barr’s second performance on campus. The first came at the law school Friday, when he delivered a bracing speech on the role of religion in the American story of freedom.

The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused Mr. Barr of “religious bigotry” and described his words as a “pogrom type speech.” ...

Portrait of an Inessential Government Worker: Bloomberg Opinion – Glory isn’t part of the deal when you go to work for the federal government. “The following is adapted from a new chapter for the paperback edition of “The Fifth Risk,” which will be published by Norton in November. “I found Art Allen standing on the lawn just outside his front door, a few miles inland from some uninviting Connecticut beach. He was in his mid-60s, and a scientist — but a scientist with a man-of-action feel to him. He wore a Coast Guard Search and Rescue polo and a massive Fenix 3 GPS watch, and he had this snow-white Hemingway beard. Six canoes hung from hooks inside his garage, a scrum of mountain bikes leaned against the wall, and all looked as if they had a lot of miles on them. So did he. For nearly 40 years, Art Allen had been the lone oceanographer inside the U.S. Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue division. Among other subjects, he had mastered the art of finding things and people lost at sea. At any given moment, all sorts of objects are drifting in the ocean, a surprising number of them Americans. The Coast Guard plucks 10 people a day out of the ocean, on average. Another three die before they’re found. Which is to say that 13 Americans, every day, need to be hauled out of the water or off some crippled sailboat or sea kayak or paddleboard. “I’ve only thought about one problem in my life,” said Art, with an odd little laugh, which sounded half like a chuckle and half like an apology for speaking up. “Which is how to improve Coast Guard search and rescue.”.. 
During the shutdown I’d stumbled upon a very long list of federal workers who had been nominated for an obscure public-service award called the Sammies. Virtually all the people on the list had been laid off without pay and more or less told by their society that their work was not all that important. I wondered what it felt like to be at once up for an award for one’s work, and required by law not to do it. The list was in alphabetical order. At the top was Arthur A. Allen…”
Corruption inquiries have hit a record high at the nation's law enforcement agencies in a telling sign of misconduct at the same time federal ...

25 corruption scandals that shook the world - Transparency ...


The Sir James Martin Oration, 24 September 2019   (PDF)
Illegitimately Re-Writing the Music?, The Jack Richardson Oration, 9 September 2019   (PDF)
Reform of the Law Governing Jury Directions and the Determination of Criminal Appeals, NSW Supreme Court Judges' Conference, 24 August 2019   (PDF)
Cultural Change - The Shift from Party Autonomy to Court-Managed Litigation, Asia-Pacific Judicial Colloquium 2019, 28 May 2019            (PDF)

Dust My Blog: I post Therefore I am

 My philosophy is: It's none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.
Anthony Hopkins  via Yammerings

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic: Part 1 of 4: Structure and Background

Drawing lessons from three books on the Roman Republic.

Bruce Springsteen jukebox Blinded by the Light is a saccharine tale inspired by a real-life superfan - ABC News

Planning an in Person Professional Gathering Just Got Easier With LinkedIn Events - News release: “One of the most important aspects of building professional relationships for our members is being able to meet face to face. Whether at a local networking meet-up, a workshop or an alumni gathering, in-person interactions can help you create and foster deeper professional relationships. In fact, our data says that the chances of people accepting connection requests on LinkedIn increase 2X if they have attended a face-to-face meeting. To help you plan your next face-to-face professional gathering, we’re launching LinkedIn Events for members across the globe. With LinkedIn Events, you’ll be able to seamlessly create and join professional events, invite your connections, manage your event, have conversations with other attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends…”

UCLA hosts its 35th Annual Tax Controversy Conference today in Beverly Hills.:

UCLA LogoThe Annual Tax Controversy Conference is the preeminent conference exclusively dedicated to tax controversy and tax litigation. The conference provides an open forum for distinguished presenters and panelists to discuss, and often debate, sensitive tax practice issues with an engaged audience. ...

We are privileged to have as our keynote luncheon speaker Charles P. Rettig, the 49th Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Chuck just recently completed his first year in the job and by all accounts had received very high marks. Tax administration is in very good hands.

This year we are again honored to have as our opening keynote speaker, Eric Hylton, recently appointed Commissioner of SBSE and former Deputy Chief, Criminal Investigation Division. Eric hit it out of the park last year and set the tone for a lively and informative conference.
Michael Desmond, the newly appointed Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service will be giving our afternoon keynote.

Women At Ernst & Young Instructed On How To Dress, Act Nicely Around Men HuffPo. “Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak up syrup so it’s hard for them to focus, the attendees were told. Men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.”

JUDITH IRELAND. Backstage in Canberra: who is lobbying our MPs? (SMH 12.10.2019)

Lobbying is big business and a part of life in Canberra, especially when Parliament is sitting.  How does it work?  Continue reading

Starting a fight club with dementia patients and filming it.

Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan

What the Amazon founder and CEO wants for his empire and himself, and what that means for the rest of us.

Extinction Rebellion protesters dragged from Tube train roof BBC (Kevin W). This is not a way to win hearts and minds: “Many commuters were left scratching their heads this morning, bewildered by an environmental protest that targeted one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel.” And in NYC, it’s not hard to imagine the MTA running the trains anyhow and seeing if nature would take its course (there have been Darwin Award candidates who joyride on the top of subway trains).

Human Parts

Beautiful names celebrated in song.
George Harrison and friends, Absolutely Sweet Marie.  By the way, this self-certified Dylanologist can attest that in the first line it is 'railroad GAUGE,' not 'railroad gate.'  'Gauge' is a measure of the width of the track; that's what our boy can't jump.  This one goes out to Marie Benson, from the summer of '65. Where are you tonight, sweet Marie?  
Bachelors, Marie
R. B. Greaves, Take a Letter, Maria
Placido Domingo, Ave Maria (Schubert)
Jimi Hendrix, The Wind Cries 'Mary'
Association, Along Comes Mary.  Back in '66 I didn't appreciate how good the lyrics are. 
And finally Mary takes Marty Robbins back after his tryst with the Devil Woman.

Elmore James, Dust My Broom
Doors, Crystal Ship
Clancy Bros., When the Ship Comes In.
Elvis Presley, Spanish Eyes
Bob Dylan, It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Take a Train to Cry, Cutting Edge take. 
Albert King, Crosscut Saw
Ray Charles, Busted.  Made the #4 slot on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1963.
Byrds, Chimes of Freedom.  One of Dylan's greatest anthems.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Cod'ine
An equally powerful version by Janis Joplin
Hoyt Axton, The Pusher

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free ProPublica – Using lobbying, the revolving door and “dark pattern” customer tricks, Intuit fended off the government’s attempts to make tax filing free and easy, and created its multi-billion-dollar franchise.
“…Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting product remains a steady moneymaker, but in the past two decades TurboTax, its tax preparation product, has driven the company’s steadily growing profits and made it a Wall Street phenom. When Smith took over in 2008, TurboTax was a market leader, but only a small portion of Americans filed their taxes online. By 2019, nearly 40% of U.S. taxpayers filed online and some 40 million of them did so with TurboTax, far more than with any other product. But the success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens…

Manhattan Institute, Issues 2020: Taxing the “Rich” Won’t Pay for Politicians’ Promises

The carousel of VAT abuse: Dozens arrested in connection with multi-million tax evasion schemes

This month, authorities from Europe and beyond have intensified their efforts to crack down on tax evasion.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) strongly disagrees with the allegation by the ‘Your Right to Know’ coalition of media outlets saying, “The Tax Office can take money directly out of people’s accounts but you’re not allowed to know”.

Mr Kent Nguyen was found to have unlawfully created, operated and benefited from a fraudulent self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) named Tot Form Super Fund. The fund did not comply with the relevant protocol, procedures and requirements of superannuation legislation to make it a legal SMSF.

Between 2007 and 2009, Mr Nguyen used the fund to arrange the unlawful early release of superannuation funds for a number of people in the community. Many of the people were in financial trouble and were approached by friends who told them ‘they knew someone’ who could help.

In each of the 25 cases, the individual’s super balance that was held within a retail superannuation fund was rolled over to Tot Form Super Fund, with the total amount of funds unlawfully withdrawn exceeding $700,000. Mr Nguyen retained a significant portion of this amount telling his clients that the money had been paid to the ATO as tax.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said the sentence handed down today demonstrates that promoters who encourage illegal early access to superannuation will be held accountable.

UK government pays millions to firms that use tax havens

UK - Almost three-quarters of companies who have been given major government contracts have operations based in tax havens, according to a new report. Value Added, published on Sunday by the thinktank Demos, reveals that 25 of the government’s 34 strategic suppliers – organisations that receive £100m or more in revenue from the government – operate in offshore centres.

Daniel Hemel (Chicago) & David A. Weisbach (Chicago), The Behavioral Elasticity of Tax Revenue:

This article presents a new measure of the efficiency consequences of tax policies and explains how this new measure can shed light on a wide range of tax law debates. We build upon the “elasticity of taxable income” approach pioneered by public finance scholars over the last quarter century and extend that approach to address complex tax systems with multiple rates, multiple bases, and administrative and compliance costs. The resulting measure — the behavioral elasticity of taxable income, or BETR — captures the change in real resources available to society caused by any marginal change in tax rates, the tax base, or tax enforcement. We argue that the BETR can serve as a guide to a wide range of tax policy issues, and we illustrate the BETR’s utility by applying it to questions such as the proper treatment of mixed personal/business expenses, the appropriate aggressiveness of efforts to address tax shelters, and the optimal mix of audits, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and penalties.

paul lynch from

Just returned to office again, Paul Lynch reflects on life as an MP.

10 Free Internet TV Channels You Can Watch Online - “We all know about the various streaming services that let you watch live TV. But what about standalone TV channels? Is it possible to watch free internet TV channels from around the world? In this article we’ll help you find the best free TV channels on the web. Every channel on the list has a legal source, which means you’re not going to get in trouble with your ISP or the law

Comey 2Former FBI Director James Comey’s visit to UNLV last month for a moderated discussion with former Gov. Brian Sandoval, book signing and dinner with up to two dozen “VIPs” cost the university’s law school $54,000, according to records obtained by The Nevada Independent.

According to a contract between the university and a booking agency representing Comey, the former FBI director’s September 24 visit to UNLV and speech to the university, “The Ethical Leader,” cost the university’s law school a pretty penny, but a spokeswoman for the university said that all costs were paid by a donor and that Comey reduced his normal speaking fee for the event.