Thursday, February 15, 2018

'Sympathy For The Criminal' and Lobbyist

Hire the best and fire the worst’: Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years

BREAK UP THE BIG FOUR, MICHAEL WALSH WRITES: “Needless to say, a lot of readers begged to differ, citing the big, big savings and ease of shopping Amazon provides. At the same time, however, Amazon is keeping tabs on you, monitoring your purchases, pushing other products on you and, in the form of the hideous Alexa, listening in on you while you sleep. Throw in the electronic snooping of Facebook, Google and your iPhone, and we’re heading for an Orwellian nightmare the shape of which is just now becoming apparent, even on the Left.”

Read the whole thing. It’s fascinating to watch Silicon Valley squander the bipartisan goodwill they had accumulated during the 1980s and ‘90s. As Glenn wrote last month, “It’s not just Google: All of Silicon Valley has a trust problem now.

PoliticsNow: Turnbull announces ban on sex between ministers and staff

He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He’s Worried About An Information Apocalypse

BuzzFeedNews- What happens when anyone can make it appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did?” technologist Aviv Ovadya warns: “For Ovadya — now the chief technologist for the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility and a Knight News innovation fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia — the shock and ongoing anxiety over Russian Facebook ads and Twitter bots pales in comparison to the greater threat: Technologies that can be used to enhance and distort what is real are evolving faster than our ability to understand and control or mitigate it. The stakes are high and the possible consequences more disastrous than foreign meddling in an election — an undermining or upending of core civilizational institutions, an “infocalypse.” And Ovadya says that this one is just as plausible as the last one — and worse. Worse because of our ever-expanding computational prowess; worse because of ongoing advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning that can blur the lines between fact and fiction; worse because those things could usher in a future where, as Ovadya observes, anyone could make it “appear as if anything has happened, regardless of whether or not it did.”

Bank (2016)Steven Bank (UCLA) presents When Did Tax Avoidance Become Respectable?, 70 Tax L. Rev. ___ (2018), at UC-Irvine today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Omri Marian:

No matter how many tax scandals are revealed in the media — and there have been many in the past year, involving a diverse set of taxpayers ranging from Donald Trump to Apple — what is most remarkable is that, by and large, the public has considered them relatively non-scandalous. This was not always the case. During the 1930s, even the most innocuous tax avoidance maneuvers, such as buying tax-exempt bonds, were attacked as morally suspect. When did that change and why? This Article offers a novel attempt to gauge the respectability of tax avoidance — using a unique, hand-collected dataset of newspaper advertisements for tax planning services in prominent national papers between 1930 and 1970 — and concludes that a shift occurred after World War II. The Article then explains the reason for this shift, suggesting that a combination of extremely high rates, a broadened base of taxpayers subject to that rate, and a deterioration of the wartime consensus for the rate structure laid the foundation for the respectability of tax avoidance in the 1950s and 1960s.
Limor Riza (Ono Academic College), Should We Tax the 'Clintons' and Other Former Senior Civil Servants More? Yes, We Should, 18  U.C. Davis Bus. L.J. ___ (2018):
This paper debates whether former civil servants should be taxed differentially. It argues that whenever public officials’ post-retirement income in the private sector is derived from their previous office, an additional tax should be levied on them, since in such situations the ability-to-pay principle is an insufficient horizontal equity criterion. This idea is grounded in equity propositions and may be justified by various liberal theories of equal opportunities and utilitarianism.

The Washington Times published my piece on the left’s misguided sympathy for criminals.

My wife and I visited our daughter and her Air Force pilot husband in California recently, and we spent a day at the famous former federal prison on Alcatraz Island.

Located in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz once held some of the most notorious criminals in American history. The Justice Department took over Alcatraz in 1934 as it wanted a prison that would house criminals too dangerous and disruptive to be kept at other prisons.

Foremost among the notorious prisoners was mobster Al Capone, who was transferred here when it was discovered that he was running his Chicago criminal organization from the penitentiary in Atlanta. His mob leadership role ended abruptly when Capone entered his Alcatraz cell.

According to John Kobler, author of “Capone,” Al Capone, the country’s most famous gangster at the time said, “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked.”

Other notorious criminals held at Alcatraz were gangsters, Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz, whom the FBI in the 1930s called “Public Enemy No. 1,” and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Robert Stroud, a convicted murderer known as the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” was also a prisoner on “the Rock.”

The prison closed in 1963 and since then millions of tourists have visited the island.

Two of these tourists, a middle-age white couple, stood in front of me at one point and stated loudly for all to hear that the conditions at Alcatraz were inhumane. They also said that today’s prisons were still terrible and bemoaned the “mass incarceration” of black people. They went on to praise President Obama for his attempt at prison reform.

Tempted to refute their assertions, as there is no “mass” in American incarceration — criminals commit crimes individually, they are arrested and convicted individually, and they are sentenced individually — it was prudent to just let it pass. And a thought occurred: Why does the left seem to sympathize more with criminals than with crime victims?

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Misguided ...

Woman went on Tinder date with killer night before he murdered ex

The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s management of the Australian Government’s Register of Lobbyists.

Management of the Australian Government’s Register of Lobbyists