Saturday, June 30, 2018

Pilhov Peppered with Potatoes

An aesthetic argument for more brutalism in how the web looks and feels.  
↩︎ Imaginary Cloud


 A Rapper Wins The Orwell Prize For Political Books

“Scottish rapper Darren McGarvey, who performs under the name Loki, has won the Orwell prize for political books for his searing examination of poverty in Britain, Poverty Safari.”

Donald Hall was 
staggeringly prolific writer who knew Pilhov life better than most observers. in his 1977 poem“Ox Cart Man,” an ode to persistence and practicality, Mr. Hall describes how a farmer loads his potatoes into a cart and walks beside his ox to market, where he sells the potatoes.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.

When the cart is sold he sells the ox,

harness and yoke, and walks

home, his pockets heavy

with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire’s light in November cold

stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.

Pilhov Imrich Bloomberg – Walmart, Samsung, Koch Industries and Hermes have built some of the biggest fortunes to ever be handed down between generations. “From Mars bars to Hermes scarves, supermarkets to hotels and data firms to drug makers, the source of this wealth is varied and its scale is startling: more than the market cap of Apple Inc., all the deposits held by Citigroup Inc. or the entire GDP of Indonesia

Overall, data from the shows that the majority of financial penalties imposed on deliberate tax evaders are never paid. In our Working Paper 6/2018, Chris Leech proposes two new tax penalties.

Jail for lawyer who 'did not know' tax fraud was illegal
A barrister who claimed he did not know non-payment of tax was against the law has been jailed for 18 months, following an HMRC investigation

Cover of 1968 Quadrangle Books edition of 'The Third Reich of Dreams'
Robert Ley, head of the German Labour Front under Hitler, once said, “The only person in Germany who still leads a private life is the person who sleeps.” In The Third Reich of Dreams, Charlotte Beradt proves that Ley underestimated the power of his own regime over the people’s unconscious.

Working quietly and covertly, through an understandably informal network of acquaintances, journalist Charlotte Beradt began collecting accounts of dreams involving the Nazis soon after Hitler assumed power as Reich Chancellor in January 1933. Unable to work due to her association with the Communist Party, Beradt took numerous precautions to prevent the disclosure of her project, smuggling out bits and pieces of her notes in letters to friends and hiding them in her apartment. By the time she and her second husband, the lawyer and novelist Martin Beradt, fled Germany in 1939, she had recorded over 300 such accounts.
She collected and analyzed roughly fifty of these in the short book, Das Dritte Reich des Traums over twenty-five years later, in 1966. Translated into English, it was published, with an afterword by psychologist and concentration camp survivor Bruno Bettelheim, as The Third Reich of Dreams by Quadrangle Books in 1968. As Bettelheim writes, “This is not just a volume of dreams but one of cautionary tales. They warn us about how strong are the tendencies of the unconscious, when we are torn by anxieties, to believe in the omnipotent external power. It is this, our anxiety, on which the success of all totalitarian systems is built.”
Beradt was, of course, familiar with the works of Franz Kafka, and more than a few of the dreams she recounts are Kafka-esque nightmares:
In place of the street signs which had been abolished, posters had been set up on every corner, proclaiming in white letters on a black background the twenty words people were not allowed to say. The first was “Lord”–to be on the safe side I must have dreamt it in English. I don’t recall the following words and possibly didn’t even dream them, but the last one was “I.”
As in many of Kafka’s stories, Nazi power was perceived by Beradt’s dreamers as blind, irrational, omnipotent, and omnipresent. One doctor told her that he dreamed he was reading in his apartment when the walls around him suddenly disappeared. Suddenly, from the street outside, a loudspeaker boomed, “According to the decree of the 17th of this month on the Abolition of Walls….”
Other dreams evoke memories of Orwell’s 1984. Beradt tells of the dream of a man who had spoken with his brother on the telephone earlier that day. Having taken the precaution to praise Hitler in his conversation, he later let slip the remark that “Nothing gives me pleasure anymore.” Later, he told Beradt, he dreamt:
In the middle of the night the telephone rang. A dull voice said merely, “This is the Monitoring Office.” I knew immediately that my crime lay in what I had said about not finding pleasure in anything, and I found myself arguing my case, begging and pleading that this one time I be forgiven–please just don’t report anything this one time, don’t pass it on, please just forget it. The voice remained absolutely silent and then hung up without a word, leaving me in agonizing uncertainty.
The man recalled inventing numerous bureaucratic entities in his dreams, including the “Training Center for the Wall-Installation of Listening Devices,” and regulations such one “Prohibiting Residual Bourgeois Tendencies Among Municipal Employees.” As with the citizens of Orwell’s Airstrip One, Beradt’s dreamers lived “from habit that became instinct–in the assumption that every sound you made was overhead, and, except in darkness, every move scrutinized.”
In one dream Beradt collected, a woman saw Hitler being pulled from the Reichstag by airplane with a lasso, taken out over the North Sea, and dropped into the water. But among Beradt’s dreams, acts of resistance in dreams were exceptionally rare. Instead, the power of the regime to erase the sense of self was pervasive. One young woman recalled seeing banners with the slogan, “Public Interest Comes Before Self-Interest” fluttering in endless repetition along a street.
As Bettelheim writes, “Under a system of terror we must purge even our unconscious mind of any desire to fight back, or any belief that such rebellion can succeed, because therein alone lies safety.” In its most extreme form, the power of the Nazi regime over the unconscious prohibited any form of realism. One man told Beradt, “I dreamt that I no longer dream about anything but rectangles, triangles, and octagons….”
By far, the dreams themselves are the most interesting parts of The Third Reich of Dreams. I found much of Beradt’s commentary awkwardly written, and it would have been fascinating to learn more about her process of collecting the accounts and getting them out of Nazi Germany successfully. However, though long out of print, it remains an eloquent testimony to the psychological power of a totalitarian state. As theologian Paul Tillich wrote, reflecting on how slowly he came to realize the impact of Hitler’s control over the German people, “In my conscious time I felt that we could escape the worst, but my subconscious knew better.”

Democratic States Sue Trump Administration Over Tax Overhaul

“The curse of knowing more is that you see more.”


-Walker Evens

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), Tax Opinions & Probability Theory: Lessons from Donald Trump, 156 Tax Notes 61 (July 3, 2017):
This report uses tax opinions rendered to Donald Trump’s enterprises in the early 1990s as a case study for examining the relevance of probability theory in multi-issue opinions in which each tax position must be correct for the desired benefits to be achieved. This report also makes recommendations for incorporating probability theory into tax opinion practice.

New York state is investigating whether the Donald J. Trump Foundation violated tax laws, according to a senior Cuomo administration official, and legal experts say the bar for any resulting criminal charges is high.

Robin Fisher (Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department), Geof Gee (Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department) & Adam Looney (Brookings Institution), Same-Sex Married Tax Filers After Windsor and Obergefell, 55 Demography 1423 (2018):
This article provides new estimates of the number and characteristics of same-sex married couples after U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 2013 and 2015 established rights to same-sex marriage.

Wall Street Journal, Democratic States Sue Trump Administration Over Tax Overhaul:

A coalition of states led by New York sued the federal government Tuesday, alleging that last year’s tax overhaul was politically motivated and designed to interfere with the rights of states to manage their finances. New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland joined New York in the federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York. The lawsuit takes aim at a part of the new tax law limiting federal tax deductions for state and local taxes to $10,000.
The plaintiffs said the new law raises the federal tax liability of millions of taxpayers in those states, making it more difficult for the states to maintain their taxation policies. The tax law also seeks to force the states to slash public spending, the plaintiffs said.

Wall Street Journal editorial, Albany’s Millionaire Tax Revolt

In absolutely any moral sense these things are pure theft, but they’re all legal, because in America, despite all this society’s supposed hatred of “class warfare,” it’s legal for the rich to prey upon the rest of us. In America, a common person might go to jail for writing a bad check, but a billionaire vampire can destroy people’s careers and strip their healthcare from them and just straight-up hand that money over to one of his rich pals and nobody can even so much as write either of them a fucking ticket for it.

Neil H. Buchanan (George Washington), The Ability-To-Pay Principle and the Counterintuitive Distributive Justice Analysis of Alimony Payments (JOTWELL) (reviewing Alice Abreu, Tax 2018: Requiem for Ability to Pay, 52 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. ___ (2018)):
The tax bill that Republicans in Congress passed, and that Donald Trump signed in December 2017, might end up being one of the shortest-lived tax laws in U.S. history. Not only are large elements of it explicitly temporary, but the political moment that led to its passage seems already to be passing, quite likely to be followed by a time when progressive tax policy will once again be politically viable.

Sydney Ideas | Do We Have a Right to Psychological Privacy?
Speakers: Mia Garlick, Sophie Farthing and Peter Leonard

George Soros Bet Big on Liberal Democracy. Now He Fears He Is Losing. NYT

Bloomberg, Without Tax-Cut Boom, Banks Would Be Facing a Bust:
Here’s the latest sign of who’s benefiting in President Donald Trump’s economy: Without the tax cut, bank earnings growth in the second quarter would have been pretty close to zilch. Instead, the nation’s six biggest banks are set to report a 14 percent improvement in earnings in the April-to-June period. Nine of every 10 dollars of that increase is thanks to the tax cut. Just one dollar came from an actual improvement in operations.

GRATTAN: The loners who lead, and trash, ‘personality’ parties

Great writers and artists should take part in politics only as a defence against politics.


A Midwestern woman narrates how she came to politics—and the Left—during unemployment.
↩︎ Salon

Sometimes it feels as if everything in life is just something we haul to the grave...
~Douglas Coupland


Short stories are a luxury which only those writers who fall in love with them can afford to cultivate. To such a writer they yield the purest enjoyment; they become a privately elegant craft allowing, within very strict confines, a wealth of idiosyncrasies. Compared with the novel, that great public park so often complete with draughty spaces, noisy brass band and unsightly litter, the enclosed and quiet short story garden is of small importance, and never has been much more…. The short story gives the release of a day off, when something happened at The NSW Bear Pit which one remembers with a smile or a start of interest, with a pang or a pause of fear.

 Walking the City with Jane: An Illustrated Celebration of Jane Jacobs and Her Legacy of Livable Cities


The loners who lead, and trash, ‘personality’ parties
MICHELLE GRATTAN: We may be in a “celebrity” age but personality parties, based around a “name” implode, explode, or fizzle. In the last few years, we’ve seen them do all three.

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S. Washington Post  

People kicking these food delivery robots is an early insight into how cruel humans could be to robots SFGate

WAYNE SWAN. Foreign influence and foreign donations in Australia.

The debate over foreign influence in our domestic politics and policymaking is an important one for our country – too important for political point-scoring and manipulation by vested interests and political vendettas.   Continue reading