Friday, October 14, 2022

Is This the End of ‘Socialism for the Rich’?

How Palantir will steal the NHS Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic

U.S. Tax Court's Diversity & Inclusion Series, Tax Trailblazers: Mentoring the Next Generation

665 FBI employees left agency after misconduct investigations: whistleblower disclosure The HIll


Inmate in Georgia’s maximum security prison accused of impersonating billionaires to steal millions Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The seized devices, including phones, computers and hard drives, contained more than 1500 passwords for social media and bank accounts, police allege.

"After taking over victim's accounts, it will be alleged that online purchases for products, paid for from the victims' accounts, were made, as well as fraudulently lodging tax returns in the names of 12 victims and connecting mobile phone accounts in the names of 46 people," Anderson said.

The alleged victims lived across Australia.

Croatia: Mark Klesnik accused of stealing hundreds of identities


Researchers Uncover Custom Backdoors and Spying Tools Used by Polonium Hackers

ALL OF A SUDDEN, BLOGGERS SEEM INFLUENTIAL AGAIN:  Russian rockets kill 17 in Zaporizhzhia as bloggers rip Putin after Crimea bridge blast. They seem to be the only ones openly and publicly criticizing Putin’s conduct of the war, which is a big switch from their earlier treatment.

Is This the End of ‘Socialism for the Rich’?Atlantic

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION:  NYC Mayor, buddy, put girlfriends in high-paying jobs.

Czechs troll Russia with mock annexation of Kaliningrad.“A petition is now circulating to pry Kaliningrad from Russia’s hands, with one Russian news site reportedly taking the suggestion seriously.

The great game in Ukraine is spinning out of control Jeffrey Sachs, Pearls and Irritations 

You weren’t supposed to see that The Reformed Broker

Whistleblowers accuse EY of whitewashing suspicious trades at longstanding client FT

Opec oil production cuts bad for global economy, says Janet Yellen FT. Yves: “Oh, the US is fine with killing demand when the Fed and ECB do it, but not OPEC.”

Why Governments Go Off the Rails Foreign Policy. Case studies.

Detectives from Taskforce Uniform Knot have arrested 10 people across Brisbane following a protracted investigation into Goods and Services Tax (GST) fraud offences.

In May this year, detectives from the Crime and Intelligence Command’s Organised Crime Gangs Group, Taskforce Uniform Knot commenced Operation Uniform Doublet, an investigation into the alleged fraud scheme committed by people linked to criminal street gangs.

Following extensive investigations, multiple search warrants have been executed over the last three weeks at properties across Brisbane and Toowoomba, with the assistance of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group. Items including a BMW coupe, cash, drugs, electronic equipment, crypto hardware wallets, identification and designer clothing have been seized.

Your Router Is Collecting Data. Here’s What to Know, and How to Protect Your Privacy

CNET, Ry Crist: “Your home’s Wi-Fi router is the central hub of your home network, which means that all of the traffic from all of the Wi-Fi devices under your roof passes through it on its way to the cloud. That’s a lot of data — enough so to make privacy a reasonable point of concern when you’re picking one out. The problem is that it’s next to impossible for the average consumer to glean very much about the privacy practices of the companies that make and sell routers. Data-collection practices are complicated to begin with, and most privacy policies do a poor job of shedding light on them. 

Working up the will to read through the lengthy legal-speak that fills them is no small task for a single manufacturer, let alone several of them. Even if you make it that far, you’re likely to end up with more questions than answers. Fortunately, I have a strong stomach for fine print, and after spending the last few years testing and reviewing routers here on CNET, most manufacturers tend to respond to my emails when I have questions. So, I set out to dig into the details of what these routers are doing with your data — here’s what I found…”

HMM:  Ketamine and depression: A mechanism of the antidepressant revealed.

FASTER, PLEASE:  Novel technique reveals surprising way to suppress tumor cells.

*Conversations with Goethe* By Johann Peter Eckermann, imagine transcripts of podcasts from the 1820s, albeit edited.  This book is described on the back jacket as “In 1823 he [Goethe] became friend and mentor to the young writer Johann Eckermann, who, for the last nine years of Goethe’s life, recorded their wide-ranging conversations on art, literature, science and philosophy.”

I find this book gripping throughout, though many parts are tough going if you are not up on the details of not only Friedrich Schiller, but also say Ludwig Tieck and Christoph Martin Wieland.  If nothing else, it helps you realize how funny virtually all of today’s podcasts will sound (and read) someday.

You can order it here.  Upon my reread, one striking feature of the dialogues is how much Goethe was obsessed with discussing and evaluating talent:

“Byron’s lofty status as an English peer was very damaging to him.  Every talent struggles with the outside world — and it is harder still for someone of high birth and great wealth.  A middling sort of condition is far more congenial to talent — which is why our great artists and poets come from the middle classes.  Byron’s fondness for excess would have been far less dangerous to him if he had been o lower birth and humbler means.  As it was, he had it in his power to fulfill his every whim, and that landed him in endless trouble.  And besides, how could he, coming from the upper class himself, be impressed or inhibited by social rank of any kind?  He said whatever was on his mind, and that brought him into ceaseless conflict with the world.

You will find talent discussions every few pages or more frequently yet.

The new translation is by Allan Blunden and is A+, noting that Goethe usually is impossible to meaningfully translate into English.  This is amazingly the first new English translation in 150 years and it is the best sense we have of Goethe as a human being.

The text also has been an influence on my own Conversations with Tyler.  The book is now quite oddly contemporary once again.

WSJ [paywall] – “Hidden records show thousands of senior executive branch employees owned shares of companies whose fates were directly affected by their employers’ actions, a Wall Street Journal investigation found…The review spans 2016 through 2021 and includes data on about 850,000 financial assets and more than 315,000 trades reported in stocks, bonds and funds by the officials, their spouses or dependent children…The review amounts to the most comprehensive analysis of investments held by executive-branch officials, who have wide but largely unseen influence over public policy…

Thousands of officials across the government’s executive branch reported owning or trading stocks that stood to rise or fall with decisions their agencies made, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found. More than 2,600 officials at agencies from the Commerce Department to the Treasury Department, during both Republican and Democratic administrations, disclosed stock investments in companies while those same companies were lobbying their agencies for favorable policies. That amounts to more than one in five senior federal employees across 50 federal agencies reviewed by the Journal. A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency reported purchases of oil and gas stocks. 

The Food and Drug Administration improperly let an official own dozens of food and drug stocks on its no-buy list. A Defense Department official bought stock in a defense company five times before it won new business from the Pentagon. The Journal obtained and analyzed more than 31,000 financial-disclosure forms for about 12,000 senior career employees, political staff and presidential appointees…”

Federal Officials Trade Stock in Companies Their Agencies Oversee WSJ